Isle of the Dead serves as a beginning for Strange Brigade’s Season Pass but is perhaps not quite the content you might have expected or were hoping for.
The Thrice Damned is a three-part story arc where players must collect three parts of the Shield of Bes in order to claim the ultimate power. This requires you to visit different islands, use various weapons, and kill unique enemies.
Isle of the Dead is one level then, but split up into three parts of increasingly challenging difficulty and lots of hidden secrets. Naturally, this plays best as a co-op game – and that’s especially prevalent during the final section – but it’s absolutely beatable on your own. Which is just as well as finding allies proved to be quite difficult. If only there was split-screen.
Isle of the Dead sees your Brigadier parachute down onto an exotic beach full of abandoned relics and ruins. You have to fight your way through armies of the undead, while blasting your way through old, caved-in tunnels, secret sculptures and foresty thickets. The piratey theme works perfectly for Strange Brigade and it’s genuinely a lot of fun.
Isle of the Dead is the most stunning level in Strange Brigade yet. The effects of the water are genuinely mesmerizing as it gently ebs and flows, the distant mountainous scenery show off the impressive draw distance of the engine, and the variation of grass and plant life really paint a vivid picture of this stunning jungle paradise.
Even the gentle foot imprints that dig into the sand as you move across the beach really capture the feeling of being stranded on this deserted old island with its wrecked old ships and volatile volcanos.
It’s got the same old Strange Brigade charm as well, with plenty of quippy one-liners, over-egged production values, and lots of tongue in cheek action from beginning to end. Narratively speaking, Rebellion have really hit their stride with the game and that has also translated into the gameplay.
The puzzle solving is also a little more taxing, including one neat optional puzzle that sees you try to find a pirate’s buried treasure by moving along platforms at the right time before they disappear from underneath you. Finding the correct route, while dealing with enemy skeletons, throws up a nice challenge even experienced players will struggle with.
Tessie Caldwell has also been added as the new DLC character with a background as a thrill-seeking aviator and a penchant for precision shooting and powerful blast grenades with fast charge. She’s really effective in clutch situations and has a nice, versatile arsenal at her disposal making her more than a competent force to be reckoned with.
Isle of the Dead is a good DLC with plenty of reason to replay a few times in order to collect and claim everything, but it’s also relatively short – in a sense that it is just one level – and it doesn’t massively change or iterate on what’s already there. Basically, if you’ve been looking for a reason to dive back into Strange Brigade and get some slightly new experiences, this is perfect.
Just make sure you’ve got a group of you ready to go at the same time if you want co-op because if you’re looking for a random match, you could be waiting for a very long time. It’s a busy season with lots of big games, many of which offering multiplayer components, and it seems, at least for now, most have already moved on from Strange Brigade.
+ Lots of hidden extras to find
+ Fun, witty narrative
+ Stunning visuals
– Very difficult to find online matches
– Limited content for a pricey price tag
– Doesn’t really iterate or evolve the gameplay
Strange Brigade – Isle of the Dead DLC
6.5 out of 10
Tested on PS4
Code provided by the publisher