Venerable British studio Rebellion have charted an usual course through the past decade of gaming. While hedging their bets on the Sniper Elite franchise, the low-budget (but high-charm) Nazi Zombie Army trilogy turned out to be a respectable hit for them, and now they’re doubling down with Strange Brigade, another supernatural-themed cooperative shooter. At EGX yesterday they were demoing the game at length, and you can see 25 minutes of gameplay and developer presentation in the video above.
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Getting away from the grindhouse grittiness of the Nazi Zombie Army games, Strange Brigade is styling itself more around classic 1930s adventure serials, golden age comics and perhaps modern interpretations such as Hellboy. A mismatched team of four heroes from all corners of the Great British Empire work together to shoot mummies, minotaurs and all manner of grumpy otherworldly ne’erdowells, most likely online, and ideally stay alive long enough to get back for a nice cup of tea.
It’s obvious from the footage that they’ve gone all-in on the vintage stiff-upper-lipped absurdity. The excitable narrator, the (now-ironic) jingoistic chestbeating, and the blatant plundering of mythology for all manner of creepy-crawlies to populate its levels with. The level demoed - a vaguely Egyptian-themed stage with mummies abounds - also featured the Minotaur-like Champion of Apis, an enemy that I would not be at all surprised to see reskinned in a later Greek stage.
Rather than solving every problem with your guns, there do seem to be a decent number of puzzles and secrets scattered around. In one part of the demo, one player relays the hieroglyphic code that the other needs to enter on an ancient egyptian keypad, rewarding them with currency to buy special weapons mid-mission. The shooting looks mechanically solid, though, with each character building up magical attack power as they land hits, keeping intertia high. At full charge, a special ability can be used, although it only drains a part of the gauge so as not to hurt pacing.
It all looks rather nice. While unlikely to dethrone Destiny 2, I can see this one becoming a fairly stable co-op pick on Steam and consoles for a good while, assuming the launch version has enough content and a tempting price point. Stay tuned, brave readers, for our thrilling review of the final game when it’s finally ready to be unearthed, although no firm release window has been given.