Brute Force Review

If you think the world is a dangerous place these days, you should see the galaxy of the future.  Subversive militants, greedy corporations, and religious fanatics... on second thought things won't change all that much in the future.  Guess that's why we'll still need teams of special forces troops in the future to put the hurt on the bad guys.  Brute Force is just such a team - four elite commandos, each with his or her own specialty, sent to the trouble spots of the future to make the galaxy safe for humanity and friends.  There's the squad's de facto leader, Tex, an assault trooper with a penchant for heavy weapons.  Next comes Brutus, a powerful alien warrior with a strong code of honor.  The team's master of stealth is Hawk, who can cloak herself from sight, sneak up on enemies, and can cut them down with her Powerblade.  Finally, the team is rounded out by Flint, an android with deadly sniper skills.

The team.

In Brute Force (the game, not the squad) you control Brute Force (the squad, not the game) through 18 missions against the forces of the aforementioned nasties.  If you haven't guessed by now, Brute Force is an action shooter, and is played from a third-person, chase cam perspective.  You can switch between the members of your squad at any time, and a major factor in your success will be your ability to use the right trooper at the right time.  When you're controlling one member of your squad, the other three are still in the fight.  The game's AI takes control of the rest of the squad, but you can direct their actions somewhat by issuing squad commands.  The D-pad can be used to select a squad member and issue a move, stand ground, cover, or fire at will command.  The AI works pretty well most of the time, but your squad will tend to take a lot of damage in the real heavy fights and for the more delicate parts of a mission you're better off leaving the squad behind with a stand ground command while you take care of the job.  For example, you can do a lot of damage in the more open maps by taking control of Flint, leaving the squad behind, and sniping off most of the enemies from a distance.

In addition to their specialties, each squad member also has a unique special ability.  Tex can wield two weapons at once, Brutus can regenerate health and detect hidden enemies, Flint can auto-target while sniping, and Hawk has her aforementioned stealth ability.  The special abilities are activated with a press of the white button, but the duration of their effect is limited by a turbo like stamina bar that drains as long as the ability is in use.  The stamina bar will slowly regain power as soon as you stop using the ability.  When it comes to these abilities, Flint and Hawk definitely receive a bigger benefit than the squad's assault warriors.  Flint's already very powerful sniper rifle is made even deadlier by the fact that you can line-up kill shots at the press of a button, and Hawk's cloak allows her to make quick work of enemies holed up in tight defensive positions. 

Those of you who have played squad-based games in the past know what a pain inventory management can be.  You spend an inordinate amount of time exchanging health packs or swapping grenades, when you'd rather be moving on to the next fight.  Brute Force eliminates this problem with a shared inventory system.  When one of your squad picks up a health pack, it is immediately available for use by anyone in the the squad.  It's not the same story with guns though.  Each squad member carries their own guns and is limited to only a couple at a time.  Their are plenty of weapons to find and capture in the game - over 30 in fact - but you'll have to select which ones to carry at any given time.