The rumours are true; I have been associated with the “No first and/or third person shooters on consoles” club. We used the abbreviation NFAOTPSOC because that sounds better.
We are keyboard and mouse fanatics and proud of it, imagine playing quake or any other fps on a game pad, come on! However, when Halo arrived I lost my touch with our club and started to believe it might be possible to enjoy a person shooter with a game pad. So either our believes were wrong or Halo was just that insanely enjoyable we didn’t even mind the controller. I’m guessing it was the second option.
Brute Force is a third person shooter where you control a team (I’ll get back to that later) and although Halo got away with it being played on a console, Brute Force does not. The controls and view of the game somehow never feel natural; the third person view isn’t easy to deal with and although you can see the enemy on the radar it takes some time before you discover from where they are shooting you, a lot of enemies have the tendency to disappear in the background.
Brute Force has very nice graphics, but it’s the only thing it excels at. The cut scenes are probably the best I’ve seen on Xbox.
To get to those scenes you need to finish the missions, and some of the missions are just ridiculously difficult, e.g. there is one mission where you need to accompany a spy to safety, it was so frustrating it almost made me cry. We tried to finish it like 5 times in co-op and I tried it 30 times on my own… nothing, nada, zilch.
“Did I forget the mention we need the spy alive? Mission aborted.”
It’s hard for me to write about this level because I can’t find the words to describe it, it’s a mixed feeling of disappointment and anger. In the end we did it in co-op and tried to block the spy as much as possible so he wouldn’t get in front like he loves to do, while shouting “Here I am! I’m the escaped spy! I will tell all your secrets to the enemy!”. Well, he didn’t really shout that stuff but the way he just ran in front with his flashy red outfit he just might have. That guy is a regular bullet magnet.
The previous game I reviewed was Raven Shield, if you need two games of the same “genre” that are each others opposites then you need exactly these two games. Where Raven Shield was very tactical, Brute Force is just arcade, your team mates function as extra lives in most of the cases. When you die you take control of another member of the team. Every member has some unique abilities though, so you might need to reload a mission if you lose a crucial member along the way. If you won’t miss him just play on and he’ll be cloned and ready for the next mission in the end.
The team mates listen to commands, but it’s limited. The most commands you give are “follow me” when you need them to cover your back and “shoot to kill” if you need them to walk in front and take the heat. Tex is the melee dude, heavy guns and bad ass attitude. The real works. Brutus is a reptile-like alien with a nice ultimate, he’s the only one who can spot enemies in a decent manner; with his spirit of vengeance he has a sort of night vision that clearly spots the bad guys. Hawk is mainly a support unit to snipe a bit and take out enemies while cloaked with her blade. And then there is Flint the cyborg, with its auto lock ability it has a built-in aimbot sort of speak.
All this doesn’t really matter, most of the time you just rush in killing the hordes of enemies with Tex and hope you have enough med kits to survive.
Brute Force got very boring very fast, I think it would have been better as a first person shooter and with missions where you just have one of the 4 characters where you really have to rely on their abilities. What could have been a great game turned out to be another dust collector on the shelf. What a pitty