Brute Force Review - The Next Level

Game Profile

System:
Xbox
Release date:
May 28, 2003
Publisher:
Microsoft Game Studios
Developer:
Digital Anvil
Players:
1 - 4
Genre:
Third-Person Shooter
ESRB:
M

Brute Force

Alone they're strong, together they're deadly.

Review by Chris Bahn (Email)
August 4th 2004

Unfortunately, the enemy AI leaves a lot to be desired. On the whole, the ambience is practically non-existent and their behaviors are downright cowardly (most of the enemies simply hide behind rocks and duck in and out to hide and return fire). This isn't the type of action that I signed up for and if Brute Force were a real unit, the opposition would be dispatched in seconds.

Moreover, the enemies also lack personality. Taking another look at Halo (yes, I know by now this seems unfair), the Grunts and the Elites, for example, have enough personality and sophistication to spare. The voice samples, of course, give them an added dimension, but their distinct attack styles and the relative degree of interaction they demonstrate is what I am getting at. You don't see any of that here and it's a major disappointment. I won't even get into the NPC marine characters which periodically aid you in the game. Let's just say they're your usual run-of-the mill types and leave it at that.


In all its splendor (or lack thereof)

Brute Force doesn't really demonstrate the Xbox's graphics potential - or rather, the developers must have looked the other way when they conceived the level design. Much of the levels look rehashed, with the exception of rock designs and flora thrown here and about. They're also very linear, though the gameplay gives the impression that you are able to move about as you please. But it's all an illusion and, more or less, each campaign feels like a routine exercise of search-and-destroy, recon and/or escort missions. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Brute Force's biggest draw lies in its multiplayer feature. Only it's not quite as you would expect it to be. Players can obtain new maps, expanding upon the default number of missions featured in the game (akin to Splinter Cell's Kola Cell level). There's nothing wrong with that, but where's the online multiplayer? Oddly enough, it's not here, so you're left with the system link option or playing on the same machine. I love co-op play, but it doesn't compare to online play, period. Many players would certainly have a bone to pick with Microsoft about this. This begs to be further discussed on our boards but - does every Xbox title (first-/third-person shooters in particular) need to have Xbox Live support? I'd be curious as to what you all have to say about that, especially since Microsoft has pledged to deliver more Xbox Live titles.

Despite a few minor gameplay issues, Brute Force still holds a relative degree of entertainment value which you and your friends can enjoy (as a rental). This marks the first exceptionally bland product ever to be put out by Digital Anvil, which recently produced Freelancer for the PC. The roots of the game present a lot of potential, but it was unfortunately killed by poor execution. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we see Brute Force set foot on the battlefield. Bad gameplay elements should be indiscriminately gunned down on sight.

Article originally published on The Next Level

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