First I'd just like to say a huge thankyou to Rebellion for its commitment to fantastic WW2 games in an age where so many others have fallen into the pitfalls of modern military / space marine shooters. I'd like to also thank you for this forums, which give your fans a voice. Once a common practice, but nowadays few developers are interested in learning from constructive community feedback.
I'm a long-time Sniper Elite player, though I enjoy all kinds of shooters- FPS, TPS, large scale, arena deathmatches, Battle Royale, etc etc. I'm always on the lookout for games I can play with my friends, either competitively or co-op. I love historical settings in games (Mafia, from 2002, was a favourite of mine), and I love shooters that don't take themselves too seriously (like Timesplitters for instance). Strange Brigade ticks these boxes and offers a tantalising co-op experience to boot. And yet it just didn't hold the interest of anyone I know who follows Rebellion's output.
Why was this?
I mean, the setting was fantastic- a 1930s pulp adventure with larger than life characters, a fantastic tongue in cheek narrator, classic old-world technology and those nefarious traps everywhere -excellent! The cutscenes absolutely nailed it. I'd even go as far to say character movement feels better if SB than in the Sniper series.
Ultimately though, it's let down by the genre it chose. It's a fast paced fun filled co-operative pulp shooter wearing the clothes of... a tension filled slow-boiler horror picture from Universal or RKO in its heyday. Now I'm not against horror games, or 'reimagining' older stories (Like Brendan Frasier's excellent 'The Mummy', for example), but we've already got Left 4 Dead which expertly scratches the co-op action horror itch. You know what we don't have though? A straight-up co-op adventure yarn. The setting, characters, presentation... it was all great, but by veering into the undead and supernatural you left behind the research and attention to detail Rebellion has become known for. Perhaps you wanted a break from shooting Nazis, and I'd totally understand that- but honestly they would have been a far better adversary for fortune hunters than another wave of lumbering zombies. But it could have been anybody- local militias, a corrupt army, a government department trying to track you down... any of these would have been more interesting than a mishmash of monsters. Hell, if you opened up the multiplayer to allow multiple squads to vie for a treasure hidden somewhere in the level, you could have had treasure hunters fighting each other to get to the prize. I can already see it as an amazing, 1930s Battle Royale for instance... but don't worry, I know that wasn't the focus.