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Written by Russell Archey on 11/20/2015 for PC  
More On: Brigador

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, there’s a decent chance you might have been into things such as Transformers, Gundam, or Power Rangers.  Basically, anything that includes giant robots.  If you’ve ever wanted to experience the thrill of piloting a giant robot, there are quite a few games that have been released over the years that allow you to do just that, most notably the Mechwarrior series.  Then you have Steel Battalion which was played with a giant cockpit-style controller.  There is the occasional mech game in which you’re not looking out from a cockpit, but rather viewing the action from a third-person point of view.  Brigador is one of those games.

Before proceeding with this review it is worth noting that Brigador is currently in Early Access on Steam, meaning things can and will likely change between the time of this review and when the game leaves Early Access.  When you start up the game you have the ability to go through a tutorial which is recommended if you’ve never played a game like this.  The tutorial does a pretty good job at providing instructions on how the mechs control, what you’ll find in each district and mission, and what your primary objectives are.  This is definitely a good start.

After you’re familiar with how the game plays you can start up the main game where you’re given multiple options as to which machine to choose from and what weapons to outfit it with.  Each machine has its strengths and weaknesses.  Some might be faster to maneuver but at a cost of lower health and shields.  Basically it’s finding a mech that suits your playstyle.  As for weapons, you can choose a primary and secondary weapon, and then a special ability such as EMP grenades or a cloaking device.  Each weapon also has its strengths and weaknesses as some might fire faster and have more maximum ammunition, but might not deal as much damage.  Much like the mech selection it’s all in your playstyle. 

After choosing your mech and outfitting it with the latest in weaponry, you pick your mission and the district to start in.  This is something that I’m not sure will change in the final version, but after choosing a mission from a list of four, you’re then given a certain number of districts to choose from, but only one will be available while the others just say RESTRICTED.  In other words, you only have one district to choose from, but the weird thing is that if you start up the mission and then back out of it, if you choose the same mission you’ll still get the same list of districts for that mission, but now a different district is available to start with.  It’s kind of strange, but there is a way to open up the rest of them which I’ll explain in a minute.

The gameplay itself took me some time to get used to as I don’t normally play mech games, especially third-person mech games.  You use WASD controls to move and the mouse to aim and fire your weapons, not only the direction but how far out you want to aim them (think of it as you’re pointing to a certain spot on the ground where you want your weapons to fire at).  That means that W and S moves forward and backwards while A and D turn the mech, and that’s what took me some time to get used to.  If you’re not used to the controls you can easily back yourself into a corner in a heavy firefight as you try to rotate your weapons and move the mech at the same time.

Once you get into the mission itself you have a few goals to fulfill such as taking down a certain number of enemy soldiers or destroying certain crane-like structures, the latter of which are shown on-screen, or rather the general direction you have to go to find them.  Of the three goals you only have to complete one of them, then find your way to one of the exits, also shown on screen similar to the cranes.  While traversing the area you can pretty much take down any obstacle in your way with enough firepower and thankfully there are a couple of ways to restore ammunition.  You either have to find a refill station for the type of ammo you need or defeating certain enemies will yield ammo refills as well.  Enemies may also leave behind some orbs to refill your shield a bit.

Completing a district will allow you to go to another one, and now you get to choose from any of the available districts in that mission.  However, there’s a small catch; you begin the next district with the same mech and weapons as well as the health and ammo count you had at the end of the last district.  In other words, it’s not wise to just go into a district guns blazing.  It might get you through that part of the mission, but you’ll be at a severe disadvantage in the next.  However, it's also worth noting that if your mech is destroyed at any time, the mission ends entirely and you have to start over from scratch, meaning any districts you opened up from finishing the first one are no longer available and you're stuck with the random one to start with again.

As it’s still in Early Access at the time of this review, there’s not much else to go into.  I will admit that at first I couldn’t get very far in due to being unfamiliar with the controls, but after playing for a while it did start to become second nature in controlling the mech (though ironically I tend to do better with a tank).  I do still have the occasional issue with hitting some targets since your mouse cursor shows where your shots will hit and if you’re aiming for something small it’s very easy to accidentally fire over their heads and waste ammunition.  There’s a lot of strategy to take into account from which mech to use and which weapons to outfit it with.  If you’re into mech games, I’d say check this one out, even in Early Access.  If you’ve never played a mech game before or don’t have a lot of experience with them, this is a good place to start.

Though Brigador is still in Early Access, it seems to be coming along pretty nicely.  The controls may take some time to get used to if you’re not familiar with this style of gameplay, but it won’t take too long before it becomes second nature.  I’m interested to see what all will change between the time of this review’s publication and when the game leaves Early Access, but so far I’d say it’s looking pretty good.

Rating: 8.5 Very Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I began my lifelong love of gaming at an early age with my parent's Atari 2600.  Living in the small town that I did arcades were pretty much non-existent so I had to settle for the less than stellar ports on the Atari 2600, but for a young kid my age it was the perfect past time, giving me something to do before Boy Scout meetings, after school, whenever I had the time and my parents weren't watching anything on TV.  I recall seeing Super Mario Bros. played on the NES at that young age and it was something I really wanted.  Come Christmas of 1988 (if I recall) Santa brought the family an NES with Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt and I've been hooked ever since.

Over 25 years from the first time I picked up an Atari joystick and I'm more hooked on gaming than I ever have been.  If you name a system, classics to moderns, there's a good chance I've not only played it, but own it.  My collection of systems spans multiple decades, from the Odyssey 2, Atari 2600, and Colecovision, to the NES, Sega Genesis, and Panasonic 3DO, to more modern systems such as the Xbox and Wii, and multiple systems in between as well as multiple handhelds.  As much as I consider myself a gamer I'm also a game collector.  I love collecting the older systems not only to collect but to play (I even own and still play a Virtual Boy from time to time).  I hope to bring those multiple decades of gaming experience to my time here at Gaming Nexus in some fashion.

In my spare time I like to write computer programs using VB.NET (currently learning C# as well) as well as create review videos and other gaming projects over on YouTube.  I know it does seem like I have a lot on my plate now with the addition of Gaming Nexus to my gaming portfolio, but that's one more challenge I'm willing to overcome.
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