Brute Force has the hype. It was anticipated as the game to follow up Halo's success. To my shock, this game isn't anywhere near Halo standards. Brute Force is a half decent title that has had some cash put into it. Sadly it can't deliver the goods to meet the expectations of its hype.

The Game:
The gameplay of Brute Force is based around four cloned solders killing a bunch of evil dudes. That's a simplistic look, but basically that is it. Each character is introduced one by one which gives you a whole mission to get used to the new character before there all thrown together. You start as Tex, a human grunt type solder, with a 'Duke Nukem' attitude. Each character has a special ability and his is a double armed attack. They can use and fire both weapons in each hand to double the fire power to get you out of tough situations.

The next character is Brutus, a lizard man type creature who has to rescue Tex from his home planet where he is held as a prisoner. Brutus is diversity cool, and has a nice ability to double his punishment and detect enemies. Hawk and Flint are the last too characters and add a female touch to Brute Force. Hawk is has the ability to turn invisible. She is defiantly the weakest character in the game but she is quite resourceful to use in situations that call for surprise attacks or stealth. Flint is the sniper, the one you want to march ahead and take out the evil dudes at long range. That is it the team of four, are they fantastic? well, not really, but they will manage.

Now that the team is together and the characters are "cool", what is the game like? Well, Brute Force has you fighting out numbered against different kinds of forces throughout the each level. I found it best to switch between each member often just so they didn't get shot to shreds. The AI isn't that impressive, half the time my team mates would get killed if I wasn't switching between them. I usually took advantage of Hawks stealth and executed a few of those suckers with her blade or used skill to pass the troops and get them from behind, as I charged in from other sides. The bad guys are pretty cool, but are fairly useless and boring to fight. They shoot allot and attack, its mindless, it’s a shooter, why did I expect more?

The controls are a bit tricky to get used to and might become a little crazy when getting attacked by a horde of evilness while trying to keep you team alive. With the D-Pad you can switch and command your team mates, and the left and right shoulder buttons control you weapon fire. The other buttons are easy too, Reload, Jump and Switch Weapon. Not too bad, but tricky when you're on the end of a barrage.

The biggest problem with the game is that the missions are just the same basic garbage you are used to, plus the plot really doesn't make you feel attached to what you're fighting for. Maybe it’s the case of too much hype? If we didn't know anything about Brute Force and it landed on my lap, i would of been beside myself... but its been given the royal press overkill that made it rather bland compared to what the press built it up to be. Sure it sells, it’s a good game for what it is, but its not a system seller like Microsoft would have hoped.

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics are good in Brute, not overwhelming, but good. Each member of force has been given much love and looks darn good and highly detailed. The landscapes are done well too graphic wise, level design, well that's another story. The high level of polish is relevant in the graphic department and you notice and Brute Force deserves the logo "ONLY ON XBOX" because it could have only happened on this system.

The sound is good in Brute Force the voices are predictable, but welcomed. I actually dug the one liners from Tex. Maybe i am starting to miss ol' Duke. The music is average and did the job as most games do. The weapons sounded good, it might have lacked a bit capturing the atmosphere of some levels, but over all it was good job.

Innovation... Hmm, Brute Force certainly isn't innovative. It does let you switch between the four players which would be its highest innovate part. They managed to develop a good system to do so, and its fun to switch things up. If they didn't this game would be way too boring. Hawk and Brutus have cool character skills that are useful and look really good. Overall the level design, plot and gameplay is too standard to what is already out there to make a big dent in the way things are done.

I expected the mojo to be high, the result was low. I was pumped to get a hold of this title. I rented it over the Matrix. Damn. If i could only travel back in time. Brute Force is a good shooter, sure is perrdy. But i was really bored after the first hour, and the next hours to come didn't change my opinion. The different abilities and the characters are cool, but its nothing to rant about. Poor Microsoft hasn't really hit the mark since its launch titles in 2001. I hope they can rectify this soon, since Brute was isn’t going to do it for them.

It is hard to give a lowdown on Brute Force, because i want to like it... but i just can't. It is a good game with a quality polish, cool dudes with killer weapons and abilities. That is the good, the bad is the rest. Throw it in the trash. Maybe my perception has been jaded by the press, as i said earlier. Brute Force shouldn't of been hyped up as much as it was. Microsoft has the money, lets see them embrace more innovate titles. I would say rent it first, it would be worth a second hand price. I wouldn't jump right into the Force, until you get a taste of the Bruteness of the gameplay.

Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 4, Mojo: 5. Final: 6
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy - June 20th 2003

  • Co-op and death match multiplayer for up to four gamers: Battle it out with up to three friends through the entire mission campaign. Each player can select which member of the squad to control, and jump in or out of the game at any time.
  • Weapons and equipment galore: Gamers have their choice from a vast multitude of deadly weapons, equipment and gadgets. Equip teams with Mini guns, Sonic Cannons, Stealth Suits, Sniper Rifles, Psychic Blasts, and the like.
  • Amazing next generation visual effects: Witness dazzling effects, dynamic lighting and gorgeous graphics beautifully rendered in different environments. See detail at a level you just didn't think was possible.
  • Commandos grow in skill: Gamers can grow the skills and abilities of the commandos as they are used. Imagine developing a highly skilled sniper that can take out an enemy in a single precise shot, or the raw power of an assault trooper as he takes on an onslaught of enemies.
  • Six challenging worlds: Gamers explore six different exotic worlds, each with a unique environment, enemies and gameplay strategies. Gamers will learn how to best use the unique abilities of the commandos to survive in each world.

Brute Force
Digital Anvil
June 2003