Brute Force is Digital Anvil’s 3rd person shooter released only on the Xbox. It has quickly become the fastest selling Xbox title in the brief history of the console. With that said, let’s break it down and see just WHY anyone should give this title a chance. For those who have been in their mother’s basement practicing for the next American Idol/Juniors, Brute Force is a 3rd person squad based shooter that finally made its way to homes after numerous delays. The story is set in the far future when dying isn’t so bad if you have a lot of money. Recloning is the name of the game as far as the story is concerned. You take control of an elite squad of soldiers, Tex, Brutus, Hawk and Flint, who have been cloned from previous renditions of themselves, with the exception of the lizard in the group, Brutus.
These super soldiers each have their own Berserker ability that makes them unique. When equipped, Tex can yield 2 guns simultaneously, Brutus uses his Spirit of Vengar to charge or regenerate health, Hawk goes into stealth/invisibility and Flint has an auto-target for easy enemy pickings. Your mission of course is to destroy the evil empire; in this case the Shadoon Empire. You travel across 6 different worlds and these worlds are the stage for several different chapters/missions in each so you’ll often get a sense of déjà vu. The opening sequence of the game introduces you to Tex, the 2 weapon wielding Arnold stunt double. As you progress through the game you’ll be introduced to the rest of your team. Introduced to the rest you ask??? Yes that’s right. You have to play far enough through the game to be able to play as Hawk, Brutus or Flint. It doesn’t take long though and the storyline is interesting enough. I felt like i was some 9th series clone as Tex is supposed to be…and when you select or unlock the other characters (Flint, Hawk, Brutus) it goes through a nice introduction flash where they’re locating them and you learn a bit about each’s history. The intro scenes are nicely done by Digital Anvil.
The trick of the game is to learn how to control your squad when you get them. Anyone can go guns-a-blazin’ with this game and be done with it in 10 hours but to enjoy it and get everything out of it you must use the squad. (kind of like use the force, but in this case the squad is your force).
Brute Force provides you with controls that are seemingly easy to just pick up and learn. They’re responsive and YES they are a bit like Halo thanks to Bungie’s help on the project. If you’ve played any first person shooter then it won’t be problem targeting or firing as the setup is the same. With that said, let’s move to the squad interface. I like to call it that. The D-pad is how you interact with your squad. By pressing and holding the D-pad in either direction you’ll bring up your squad interface. The interface gives you four commands to choose from; Fire At Will, Cover Me, Stand Your Ground and Move To. They’re all pretty self-explanatory. Each character is represented by a direction on the D-pad. Tex is up, Brutus is down, Hawk is right and Flint is left. Tap the D-pad in either of these directions and you’ll assume control of that character. For instance, if you initially start a game with Tex and you want to snipe a guy on the hills with Flint simply tap the D-pad left and shizzam, you’re Flint. The squad commands are really interesting.
It adds a Ghost Recon-esque feel to it…although not nearly as in depth as Ghost Recon. For instance, with the ‘Move To’ command you’re restricted to move them to places you can literally see. You can’t flip up a map screen to place your squad where you want them. Pressing the B button switches/enables things like Medkits, Grenades and other extras while the Y button cycles through weapons. Pressing the white button enables their Berserker ability and the black button is a quick use of a Medkit for those intense battles that you need a quick boost of health. The gameplay was near perfect to me. For those that like the inverted set up, you can switch that as well. And we all heard about someone picking up and just joining the game. Well it’s true. No matter how far you are into the game, any of your friends/family can insert a controller and join the fun via split screen. It was that easy. Just press ‘start’ and select your character and co-op it was. (again nicely done by Digital Anvil). You can even take to the battle field in Death Match, Squad Deathmatch or system link. Pay attention during each mission for DNA canisters that unlock characters to be used in Deathmatch/Squad Deathmatch. The AI in the game is pretty good on standard difficulty. Although it’s just like Halo in that the higher difficulty you play, the better the AI will be. I had fun though walking around with the squad that you’re assigned in the beginning (ol’ Sgt Gonzalez and staff). They ramble on as Marines will do and some of the conversations are funny. Even the enemies get in on the humor with their own one-liners throughout the game.