Brute Force is a third-person shooter released in 2003 for the original Xbox. It is also an incredible experience from start to finish, full of inventive alien worlds and interesting gameplay. The basic premise involves a band of mercenaries hired to neutralize threats to galactic peace. The key gimmick of the game is the squad system. Four-player couch cooperative play is allowed, and in many ways encouraged; each member of the squad has greatly differing movement speeds, weapon capabilities, hitboxes and special abilities.
Tex, the first character unlocked, can use heavy weapons, deals the most damage and has the special ability to duel wield. Brutus, the reptilian alien can move quickly and can enter a “Feral mode,” where he regenerates health, moves quicker and can trample people to the death. Flint, an android, can automatically lock on to enemies, while Hawk, the scout, can turn invisible and assassinate enemies with her sword. Players can switch between each character at any time, prevented they have not died, and can restart over after the death of the entire squad.
The game takes place across six planets, including a world of swamps and massive tree dwellings, a volcanic planet, a world ofmassive alien pyramids and an old-west style shanty town. By playing the campaign, players can unlock up to twenty characters for multiplayer deathmatches, including every main enemy in the game. They can even play as enemy foot soldiers or as the alien canines several factions use, and every character has varied statistics and special abilities. Bots are included, and players can choose to play in squads based on the factions from the game.
Growing up, this was one of the only games I had that I could play the campaign mode with my three siblings, so the game had special meaning for me. Even from the day the game was announced in Xbox magazine, I knew I wanted to play as Brutus, and I always got to. The game seemed to fall by the wayside in gaming circles, but it had a lot of ideas that would later show up in games like Gears of War and still more that I haven’t seen pop up in another game since. I can’t recommend it enough for people interested in a unique multiplayer shooter experience.