View Full Version : NEW Brute Force Hands On Impressions!

04-24-2003, 09:51 PM
Source: IGN Xbox

April 22, 2003 - What more could one possibly write about Microsoft's upcoming Brute Force? The game, ready to launch almost a year to the day of its E3 debut on May 27, has been previewed more times than just about any title in IGN history. And with good reason. Brute Force has had enough facelifts to make Joan Rivers blush. Now, just over a month away from release, I finally have a build of Brute Force in my hands.
Rather than get into the details, which IGNXbox has covered again and again in the past, what follows is merely the impressions of one editor, sitting down for a day of BF, playing some single player, co-op, and some squad deathmatch. There'll be more on Brute Force in the coming weeks, I promise, but for starters, let's get with some overall impressions of the near-final build.

When is a game just a demo?

I said it last year and say it again, Brute Force is gonna be the stuff of Xbox legend. Granted, I originally lost confidence in that statement after the promise of Brute Force had seemed to fizzle. But the long delay and an assist from the folks at Bungie have helped bring BF back from the land of the ho-hum and into the blessed light of possible Xbox immortality. In short -- once Brute Force was lost, but now it has been found.

My only disappointment after playing several hours of Brute Force is that this is not a full build. In fact, this is merely an extended demo featuring seven levels (about a third of the single-player game) and only Deathmatch and Squad Deathmatch multiplayer. But saddest of all, there's no System Link support in the demo. But, co-op still works with split-screen, it's just not quite as cool. That being the only letdown to speak of for Brute Force is quite impressive indeed. My complaint -- I want to play more, but right now, I just can't.

Play alone

It's never a bad thing to be compared to Halo, and Brute Force will certainly get its fair share of comparisons. From the menus (heck even the background music is Halo-esque) to the interface, to the pacing, Brute Force can best be described as a squad-based third-person Halo. That's not to say it will end up better than or necessarily as good as Halo, but it certainly does seem to be of that caliber. The textures are incredible, the framerate smooth, and the pre-rendered cut-scenes top-notch. Most importantly, the game is fast-paced and fun.

The single-player campaign is no different than playing with a buddy, except you're the only cat in control. At the start of the game you only control Tex. As you progress through the early levels you gain access to the other three members of your team Hawk, Brutus, and Flint.

The controls are, of course, reminiscent of Halo making for incredibly easy pick-up and play. As you gain new members (at first you have a pair of grunts to command), you use the D-Pad to call them up and then the face buttons to give simple commands. You can also hop back and forth to any player you want with ease. The squad elements add a bit of strategy to the game, and you'll need strategy and teamwork when playing on the hardest difficulty. Because, quite honestly, the game will kick you in the Good 'N Plenties on the ultimate difficulty.

Digital Anvil keeps things relatively streamlined. It's easy to identify your next objective and I never hit a moment where I spent time searching for what to do next. Brute Force is all about go, go, go! The fighting gets quite hectic in BF with multiple enemies taking different offensive and defensive positions. Enemies roll, hide, and try and snipe you from far away. Quite good.

As for possible replay value, I've already played through some of the levels a second time. Hopefully that replayability remains.

Overall, the single-player experience was better than I expected and the game looks gorgeous compared to its former state. But the best thing about Brute Force being delayed over half a year are the multiplayer additions.

Find a friend

First there's co-op, which can be handled with System Link or split-screen. Up to four people can play together at one time. The demo I have doesn't support Sys Link, but I did grab three other hopeful editors to run through two levels of BF in split-screen. And from that, I've determined System Link will likely be the way to go for co-op. This is mainly due to some of the graphical dumbing down needed to keep split-screen co-op running smoothly.

With four players on screen, the Xbox is essentially tasked to render the game four times, something that doesn't affect a System Link game. But split-screen, well, Brute Force loses its lovely graphical polish. Digital Anvil chose to keep the framerate smooth in split-screen at the cost of some pretty weak draw distance and a lot of pop-up, at least in this current build. Levels with fog become "extra" foggy and have a sort of Turok 64 effect where the low draw distance is hidden by San Francisco-worthy fog cover. Still, despite some of what's lost in graphics, playing with a friend or three is more fun than playing alone.

Until you've rescued/unlocked all four members of Brute Force, extra players will get to play as anonymous marines. If you have less than four players, you can still hop from one character to the other, but if you've got four people playing, you're stuck in whichever skin you select. Either way, I'm pretty sure you'll have a blast.

Battles remain just as frantic in co-op, and teamwork and communication is vital, because each character has been designed to play specific roles in the Force. So if you have the stealthy Hawk leading the group headlong into battle, she won't last more than a few seconds. She's there to do the sneaky thing. Leave the run and gun to Brutus and Tex.

Players can join and leave at any time. So if you're in the midst of a firefight, your roommate can wander in, stick his controller in the port, press start, and hop into the fight without missing a beat. Pretty damn sweet.

Kill your former mate

Several modes of play will be included with the final release of Brute Force. The demo, however, includes only Deathmatch and Squad Deathmatch. Saying screw it to the typical Deathmatch mode, I grabbed two office stragglers and played some Squad Deathmatch.

The idea here is the same as any standard Deathmatch mode. However, there are two four-character squads going at it. I was on my own team, giving commands to the three other characters in my squad, while Aaron and Justin played on the same squad. They could hop between characters and give commands to their AI compatriots just as in the Campaign mode.

It's a cool twist to the standard Deathmatch mode, but it really isn't anything new. Cool for sure, but I'm hopeful the other multiplayer modes offer a bit more of a unique Brute Force experience. The joy of wasting other fools I'd once called teammates made me wistful for Xbox Live support. Though, sadly, Brute Force won't be online, the multiplayer is looking pretty solid.


Squad-based combat and co-op games are the new trend and that's a good thing. Brute Force may well end up the best example of the blossoming genre. But playing System Link will be key. The split-screen is good, but I'm anxious to see if System Link play will allow Brute Force to maintain its single-player graphical integrity.

In 2001 gamers had Halo. Last year they had Splinter Cell. Brute Force is looking like it may be the "ooh" and "ahh" Xbox game of 2003. There's still a lot more time needed with the full build of Brute Force, but from what I've played, I have no doubt that, in the end, Brute Force will not suck. And with the Xbox line-up looking a bit slim for 2003, that's very good news for Microsoft and Xbox owners alike.

04-24-2003, 11:34 PM
I can't wait for this title to hit shelves along with a couple others.I just hope it lives up to its hype.Nice find brevity thnx for the inform.

P.S.I feel my trigger finger itching!

04-24-2003, 11:44 PM
i read that yesterday, its very exciting!!:cheers:

No Fear 23
04-25-2003, 12:55 AM
im gonna rent it first bc i made myself a promise not to buy anymore non-live games. i dont want to waste 50 bones while a non-live game is collecting 50 pounds of dust.

if its that good, like sc and halo, i may just get it.

04-25-2003, 01:04 AM
This game is going to be the bomb! I pre-ordered it already! Can't Wait!:cheers:

04-25-2003, 01:29 AM
Eh. I'm am not impressed. A little less disapointed but still disapointed nonetheless. I will most likely give the game a rent. Such a let down already.

04-25-2003, 04:02 AM
oh man its been AGES since i've been on here, ive been all around the xbox-scene forums but they "temporarily" closed them cuz they had modding info, how many ppl here hav a modded xbox?

04-25-2003, 04:31 AM
Wasnt that hyped at first, but the more I read on it, I think Im just gunna go preorder tomorrow...

04-25-2003, 02:37 PM
I DO! :p

04-25-2003, 02:48 PM
Pre-ordered it, should be a great game. Until then I'll have PSO to tide me over :D

l Maximus l
04-25-2003, 04:18 PM
I've been back and forth with Brute Force ever since I found out, a long time ago, that it's not going to be on XBox Live.

Now, from what I've seen on it most recently, it'll be a cold day in Hell if I DIDN'T get this game! Brute Force is going to seriously rock!

My brother preordered it from Gamestop a couple weeks ago and they gave him a two disk set of Halo, Halo 2, and Brute Force movies, other video, audio stuff, and tons of game demos and other content.

I almost hate to say it, but, the Brute Force feeds made the Halo 2 look sorry.

Though, I found it interesting that they had a movie of the original Halo when it was supposedly planned to be a 3rd person shooter. The game came so far along compared to it's original movie...I'm expecting the same with Halo 2.

But, not to get off track, if you haven't preordered the game yet, I think Gamestop is still giving out those free 2 disc sets. A must have for any Halo and anticipated Brute Force fan. In fact, that video confirmed to me that I'm getting Brute Force for damn sure.

04-25-2003, 04:24 PM
I don't need that article to tell me I'm getting it! Everyone knows how cool its gonna be anyway.

04-25-2003, 04:48 PM
Half of me wants to buy it, half of me is skeptical. Unfortunately, the skeptical side holds the wallet. I'll be renting this one first; I rented Halo first too, so its nothing new to me.

04-25-2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by Rusty_Clown
oh man its been AGES since i've been on here, ive been all around the xbox-scene forums but they "temporarily" closed them cuz they had modding info, how many ppl here hav a modded xbox?

Ya, I'm saving some space on my HDD for this sweet game. That is for game saves of course.

X2L 120 HDD

04-25-2003, 08:23 PM
yes this game will rule.

l Maximus l
04-26-2003, 04:25 AM
I predict that Brute Force will be the "Halo" of 2003...We'll see....