Monday, 12 November 2018 07:08

Strange Brigade - The Thrice Damned 1: Isle of the Dead Review

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Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Strange Brigade is back with the first installment of content (rather than character) DLC, The Thrice Damned 1: Isle of the Dead. New puzzles, new maps, and the beginning of more adventures for the secret service agents are abound in this foray back into co-op puzzling, combat, and adventure. If you enjoyed the original Strange Brigade, then this DLC will definitely be worth checking out.

It hasn't been long since the Strange Brigade first swept onto our screens, with co-op adventures and puzzles left, right, and center. The band of plucky secret service agents faced off against evil and committed acts of daring do to overcome the forces of evil. This time they're back in what is pencilled to be the first of many DLC adventures.

This particular adventure is decidedly pirate themed, and the location has moved from the Egyptian ruins to the jungle and coast of a remote island where mysterious activities have been happening. True to form, the brigade are firmly on the case, facing peril and defeating all new bosses along the way. There are puzzles, and once again the characters must work together and utilize their abilities to overcome near-insurmountable obstacles.

A New Kind of Brainteaser

This time around the brigade have found themselves in even more peril, as they set sail for a cursed island. Undead skeletons, ghouls, and pirates roam the exciting new locations. While aspects like combat work in the same way, many of the familiar puzzle mechanics from the base title have been expanded upon, with some completely new ones added into the mix.

It’s changes like this that keep things feeling fresh and new. You’ll have to put your thinking caps on and scour the environment for clues as to how you’ll need to proceed. It would have been easy for Rebellion to recycle the same puzzles over and over again, so it’s refreshing to see thought going into these new brainteasers.

Standing Strong

As well as engaging new locations, a new set of wonderfully challenging puzzles to overcome, and more of the daring acts of bravery we're accustomed to, The Thrice Damned 1: Isle of the Dead also offers two new Horde maps so you can face off against wave after wave of ghoulish undead pirates if that is more your style.

The story is fairly linear and the environment tends to match that. Unlike the previous installment, there is less random exploration and more of a focus on following the story by being guided through a narrated experience. Thankfully, though, this doesn't make things feel rushed. Instead, it's well-paced and keeps things exciting, rather than getting you to spend hours just trying to find those last few hidden collectibles. Speaking of which, there are entire new sets to collect and those elusive cat statues are also still being, well, elusive, so if artifact hunting is your thing, you won’t be disappointed either — story or not.

The Finer Elements

As with the previous title, the environments and enemies are well thought out. There are little details all over the new map to see, and once again the textures and animations are superb. There isn't anything particularly new or groundbreaking, but this is definitely an enjoyable adventure that brings back some of the original title's best elements to be enjoyed again. Those looking for brand new combat experiences will unfortunately be left a little disappointed, but if you simply want to experience more of the base game with new scenery and characters, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Once again, co-op is the best way to enjoy your time, though you don't need a full band of agents to complete the content. In fact, you can go it completely alone and still finish everything; it's just not as fun that way. Wait times for groups can be a little high at the moment, as players are still picking up this latest addition, but that is likely to sort itself out in time and certainly shouldn’t be a reason for you to keep away.


The Verdict: Great

The brand new, action-packed adventure for Strange Brigade brings back many of the fantastic mechanics of the original. The new puzzles make a fantastic addition that blends well with the existing mechanics to give some new and interesting challenges for you to overcome. There aren’t any major new features, but with new locations, enemies, and unique bosses to tackle, things are definitely kept interesting. As the first of several planned content DLC packs, there is great value to be had, and The Thrice Damned 1: Isle of the Dead sets the tone nicely for future releases.

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Mel Hawthorne

Mel is a London-based copywriter that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs (which included working as a web developer, shopkeeper and translator) before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on games through various online publications. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s probably playing them... or walking her dog in a park. Since that depends largely on the English weather, Mel has plenty of time to indulge in her favourite games. These include but are not limited to Ark: Survival Evolved, Skyrim, GTA V, and oddly enough, Amnesia: Memories. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She thinks Star Trek is way better than Star Wars and isn’t afraid to admit it – Live long and prosper!