Review by Megarex2002
"Brute Force Is Fun Despite its Weaknesses"
Introduction: When Brute Force was announced a few years back thousands of XBox owners could not wait to get their hands on this futuristic, third-person shooter, which the creators had claimed would revolutionize squad-based gameplay. After a few setbacks and promising trailers, gameplay videos and pictures, and lots of hype, Brute Force is finally here. Unfortunately it did not live up to the hype it was subjected to over the past year or so, but very few games do. Nevertheless, Brute Force is a game worthy of any XBox owners collection.
It is the year 2340. Cloning techniques have allowed soldiers to be brought back to life over and over. The four characters you control, Tex, Hawk, Brutus and Flint, clones of once living beings, comprise a team known as Brute Force. You are sent around the galaxy to deal with anything that might threaten the ConFed, a league of allied planets. Tex is the muscular, run-and-gun, human cowboy who is capable of carrying two heavy weapons and has the berserker ability. When the berserker is activated he can carry two weapons at once, making for a very deadly combination. Brutus is the feral warrior. He has the Spirit of Vengar ability, which is essentially a vicious rage that allows him to see living things and kill them in a ferocious charge. Hawk is the stealthy human female whose special ability is to become invisible allowing her to sneak up on enemies and kill them with a silent energy blade. Flint is a female cyborg sniper capable of hitting targets on the run with deadly accuracy. The thing that is interesting about the plot of Brute Force besides the fact that it is almost non-existent is that is realistic. Basically, your team is called on to fight wherever they are needed as is true in real life. The only real plot is you tracking down a tycoon who is involved in quite a few dirty businesses. Depending on how look at it, the plot is not good or it is very realistic.
The gameplay tends to be straight forward, a little too straight forward at sometimes. Basically, you have control of the four characters for the majority of the game and you tend to simply run into the action gun blazing, and that does the job. Don't get me wrong, this can be quite fun especially with Tex's berserker ability, but it does not involve the kind of strategy seen in other games. Although the standard run-and-gun approach works in most places, at the higher difficulty levels you will see that the best way to bypass certain areas is indeed to use stealth, with Hawk and Flint. Even so, the run-and-gun approach still worksn fairly well here. The only other problem with the gameplay is the enemy AI. They tend to simply stand in one place and shoot at you, and the only shred of intelligence that they will show is that when the first see you they run and hide behind something. The overall gameplay is fun, but it wouldn't have hurt to have to use strategy or to use certain characters in different situations.
Multiplayer could have used some work simply because, first of all, there are only two modes: deathmatch and squad deathmatch, and second, there is not XBox Live play which would have added immensely to the already good replayability. There are minor slowdowns in framerate during multiplayer but otherwise it is extremely fun with a supply of maps and tons of characters that can be unlocked in the single player campaign. While there is no XBox Live play, there is downloadable content which is always, because we should be seeing some new maps in the future.
There is not much to say about the sound really. When you are not fighting, the music is more mellow, and when the action is frantic the pace of the music picks up and is more tense. The music in Brute Force will not impress you, nor add much to the overall feel of the game, but it does get the job done.
The graphics are one of the areas where Brute Force shines. Even in the early levels you will notice amazing detail of the landscape especially when you can look across far distances and see everything as clearly as if it were in front of you. Characters models are also detailed very well. Special effects with weapons are one of the best parts. Shots from energy weapons and grenades are especially cool to watch. I was especially impressed by some blue crystals in one levels that exuded a pale blue aura, and when they were shot they shattered into hundreds of glimmering pieces. The only complaints in this department are minor clipping issues and the framerate drops ever so slightly in multiplayer mode, but neither of these things are major and don't really detract from the overall graphics.
RENT OR BUY: It depends on the kind of person you are. If you are not really into action and shooting this game is probably not for you. If you are a hardcore action fan then this is a definite buy. While Brute Force lacks in some places it is still a very good game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/03, Updated 05/31/03
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