A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Strange Brigade is a third-person shooting game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Players use guns, explosives, magic, and their feet and fists to kill such supernatural creatures as mummies, skeletons, and giant scorpions. But despite the violence inflicted on these monsters, the game's neither scary nor terribly bloody. Players are encouraged to play with friends or other people online, but when they do, voice communication between them isn't monitored or moderated, possibly exposing them to inappropriate content.
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What's it about?
STRANGE BRIGADE casts you as one of four gun-totin' adventurers that travel to Egypt to find a missing co-worker, who vanished while infiltrating an expedition in an attempt to prevent the location and opening of a cursed tomb. As a result, you spend this game using a variety of weapons and magical items fighting supernatural creatures while exploring vast areas and solving puzzles. As an homage to 1930s movie serials and pulp novels, the gameplay is all rather over-the-top and bombastic, and not as serious as some similar games that feature gun battles. Along with the campaign, there's a Horde mode that will toss large numbers of monsters at players, while Score Attack mode improves a player's score based on the number of enemies defeated in a short period of time.
Is it any good?
Inspired by 1930s adventure serials, pulp novels, Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, this co-op third-person shooter is simpler and sillier, but still as much fun as those films and games. In Strange Brigade, you play one of four gun-totin' adventurers who travel to Egypt to find a missing co-worker. Her mission was to stop someone from opening a tomb that may have been holding an ancient evil in check, but her sudden absence requires you and your teammates to investigate what's going on. As a result, you spend most of this game shooting mummies, giant scorpions, and other magical monsters, while also looking for treasure and solving puzzles that will open doors to areas where, well, you'll shoot more monsters and find more treasure.
But what makes this different from similar shooters is that there are times when you're trapped in a large area and have to clear it out before you can proceed, but you also have traps you can trigger that include swinging blades and spikes to destroy monsters. Coupled with solid controls, clever puzzles, and relentless enemies, you have a fun and frantic shooter that works as well as a co-op game as it does as a solo adventure. That said, it does have some minor issues. The Horde survival mode is a bit too simplistic and redundant to overshadow similar modes in other games. There are also no options to raise or lower the difficulty, and the menus and captions are really hard to read if you sit at a reasonable distance from your TV. But even with these minor issues, Strange Brigade remains one of the strongest and -- in terms of its setting and story -- most unique shooters of the year.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of violence in Strange Brigade affected by the fact that you're "killing" the undead as well as monsters? Does it bother you less than if you were killing regular people?
What does this game show us about the importance of working together toward a common goal?
This game imitates the style of 1930s adventure serials and pulp novels. Does this seem quaint to you or interesting? Can you see why people would've been captivated by such things back then (and fascinated by them now)?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Rebellion
- Release date: August 24, 2018
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Animated Blood, Violence
- Last updated: April 10, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.