Strange Brigade Review

Four adventurers gear up in what promises to be a thrilling spelunking fest through ancient ruins and underground caverns, all while being mocked by a plucky British narrator. Is this another Lara Croft and the whatever of something or other? Nope, it’s the Strange Brigade!

While certainly possessing a sense of style, Strange Brigade does a good job of being entertaining. The narrator is easily the best part of the game, including the free achievement just for refusing to play the game while he scolds you. Unfortunately, the narrator is almost all of the personality you’ll find in Strange Brigade. All four of the main characters are different both in design and in look, with one resembling a generic African lady with war paint on, a horribly ripped off Rosie the Riveter, a quintessential archeologist nerd, and uh – some guy from one of the Sniper Elite games, I think.

In the end, it barely matters because there’s little difference in how the characters play. One girl is better at gun play and combat, one is great a melee, the nerd has stronger amulet magic, and the guy from Sniper Elite – in a surprise to absolutely no one – excels at head-shots. You can swap out the weapons from cache chests, but they all sort of feel the same. If you really want the fun weapons, you’re gonna have to save up your gold in order to unlock chests which contain fun weapons like the Scarab Launcher, the Blunderbuss, or the Crossbow. These are by far the most enjoyable weapons to use, but because they’re locked behind a limited amount of ammo and an in-game currency (which gets thinner with the more players you have in the game) the game often winds up more frustrating than fun.

Strange Brigade

Speaking of frustrating, Strange Brigade has very loose shooting mechanics that never quite seem precise enough, and that also goes for melee attacks. While the sound effects are totally satisfying, you’ll often punch again instead of stomping a downed enemy’s head. Not only is the melee sketchy at times, but there’s no option to shoot from the hip which makes run and gunning impossible, and that’s really disappointing for a game that has traps already placed in pre-determined locations. If they weren’t going to allow for better melee or shooting without aiming, being able to decide where your traps go should have been a key design factor.

With all that said, there is some fun to be had in Strange Brigade when exploring with a full group of adventurers. Solving puzzles is a nice touch, but they’re not all that challenging. Shooting tiles to arrange a light beam to pass across and complete two snakes is pretty fun, but lining up the crystal beams is more annoying than interesting, and looking through a big room for the code to unlock the door with three tiles on it is hardly challenging. With a little more focus on the puzzles, gameplay would feel like far less of a grind than just moving from area to area killing waves of enemies.

Screaming at people from the inside of a sarcophagus is always nice and annoying, which means people need to revive you just to shut you up. Horde mode delivers a fairly impressive amount of enemies on the screen at once, but I noticed a bit of lag that made it really enjoyable – mainly because I was constantly getting blindsided by champions that smash you with their horns and can kill you in a hit or two. That part wouldn’t be so bad until you chalk up the fact that health potions are fairly limited and there isn’t a single hero who has any sort of support in their kit, which makes the experience far less fun than it could have been with just a little more team-oriented design.

With just a few small changes in design, Strange Brigade could have been a sleeper hit that people were talking about for years to come. Unfortunately no matter how pretty the game looks, the flaws in gameplay keep it from being little more than passable and ultimately forgettable as the bigger games release across the holiday season.

Strange Brigade was reviewed on the PS4 Pro and was provided for review by Rebellion.


  • nice visuals
  • graphics are mostly smooth
  • the narrator is terrific
  • sound effects are good


  • playing the game in single player is a boring slog
  • no options for firing from the hip
  • controls are way too lose
  • puzzles could be harder


Gameplay - 5
Controls - 5.5
Music/Sound - 8
Graphics - 8
Replay Value - 4
IT guy by day, Games Journalist by free time. You’ll pretty much always catch him on his PS4. “Ladies you can’t be first, but you can be next.” — Ric Flair

Lost Password

Sign Up