At Microsoft's X02 event, we took a crack at the latest build of Digital Anvil's highly anticipated shooter.
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Brute Force, the upcoming shooter from Microsoft and developer Digital Anvil, was being shown off at the X02 event in New York City today. We got a chance to sit down and play the game for a while and even had an opportunity to ask producers from Digital Anvil a few questions. So we've got plenty to share about this intriguing game.
Brute Force can succinctly be described as a third-person squad-based shooter that's reminiscent of Halo. You can control any one of the members in your squad at any moment either by selecting them using the D-pad or by cycling through the roster by pressing a button. When you're not in direct control of a particular party member, the game's AI takes over. You can issue general orders to AI-controlled characters such as "follow" or more-specific ones such as telling them to follow aggressively, in which case your teammates will be right there running and gunning next to you. You can even order teammates to move to any visible point in the environment just by looking in that direction and issuing the command. The interface for issuing orders and switching characters is extremely simple and doesn't appear to get in the way of the action.
From what we saw of Brute Force, the gameplay seems to be focused on fast-paced third-person shooting action. The twist is that you will need to know how and when to use your teammates' special abilities. Here's a brief rundown on the different characters and what they can do.
Tex is a big heavy-assault trooper who carriers a rather large minigun. Better yet, his special ability allows him to fire two large weapons at the same time, one in each hand, delivering severe doses of damage.
Brutus is an alien that has the ability to see through mist, an effect that kind of looks like the heat vision effect from Predator. He also runs on all fours and can ram enemies with his head, as well as regenerate his own health.
Hawk is the scout of the group and is fairly delicate, but her special ability allows her to turn invisible, which lets her sneak up on enemies undetected.
Flint is the cyborg sniper of the group, so she can't really engage enemies in a close-range battle, but she's invaluable when she can find a good sniping position. While she isn't favored for close-quarters combat, she does have the ability to go into a shooting spree mode that allows her to take out enemies at a very fast rate and with great accuracy.
Brute Force's storyline takes place about 300 years in the future. You control an elite force that is given the task of enforcing the regulations of the Confederation. Basically, your team is a futuristic squad of specialized tactical troops that are sent in whenever issues that require forceful response arise.
With four playable characters, Brute Force can optionally be played by up to four players simultaneously. One rather interesting aspect to the way Brute Force handles multiple players is that it doesn't have a specific mode for it, but rather allows other players to jump into the game's main campaign at any point. The game automatically switches to a horizontal splitscreen mode when a second player joins in or to a three-way or four-way split screen if you have three or four players, respectively. If you want to quit at any point, you can simply yank your controller out, and the split-screen portion for your character will disappear, while control over your character is given back to the AI. Despite the great cooperative features, Brute Force will not support online play.
We were told that when completed, Brute Force would offer around 30 hours of gameplay for a reasonably experienced gamer to go through. The game will feature six extremely large environments, including a forest world, a volcanic world, an ocean world, and a desert world. Each will have several different races that inhabit the planets that you can interact with. The levels we got a chance to see featured a variety of environments ranging from lush mountain landscapes filled with enemies to desolate underground caverns flowing with red-hot lava.
Brute Force was a welcome sight at today's event. We were very impressed with the game's visuals and squad-based action. We look forward to seeing more of the game in the future, especially as the developers continue to put even more polish on the game leading up to its November release.