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‘BROFORCE’ Review

Platforms PlayStation 4, PC Genre Action, Platformer

Platform Played PlayStation 4

Developer Free Lives Publisher Devolver Digital

BROFORCE recaptures some of that classic platformer magic long lost by the current generation of software development. Where realistic graphics, massive installs and an internet connection are commonplace, BROFORCE hearkens back to a simpler time of campy 80’s action movies and 2D platforming.

At first glance, the art style is sure to cause hesitation for a lot of new PlayStation 4 owners. Some might think that buying a next gen console means the best graphic rendering possible, but they would be mistaken. The lack of HD realistic graphics are a big part of its charm and why it works so well.

Throughout my time playing BROFORCE I kept laughing at all of the fan service to action movies of the 80’s and 90’s. The concept is straight out of a Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger movie; America needs to assemble the finest fighting force the world has ever seen, to fight terrorism world wide!

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Easily, the greatest thing about BROFORCE is that the majority of action movies that have influenced the game are represented in characters you can unlock and play as once you save a Prisoner Of War.  The team over at Free Lives don’t skimp on the “Bro’s” you unlock throughout the game. Since the worlds are fully destructible, how you save that POW is totally up to you. You can kill everyone and unlock their cage directly. Or you can shoot your way through the wall without anyone knowing you were there. The second you touch the cage, you instantly turn into whomever the game decides and If you’re wanting to find for yourselves, skip the next paragraph and try to not look at the picture below so I don’t ruin any of the surprises for you.

*MILD IN-GAME CHARACTER SPOILER’S below*

While I was playing, and just going off of memory and in no particular order, I unlocked characters inspired by; Ash (from the Evil Dead) Blade, Indiana Jones, Judge Dredd, Robo Cop, the Terminator, Rambo, Neo (The Matrix), Agent J (Will Smith, MIB), Chuck Norris (Like…every movie), and those are just off the top of my head.

Brade

*RESUME READING SPOILER FREE*

The most interesting thing about the characters is that each one of them have different abilities and gravity adjustments. One of your characters may jump higher than another. Some may have a beneficial special move in certain situations. Some will have weapons and grenades while others have melee weapons and throwing knives. It is really a mixed bag because all POW’s look the same, so it isn’t until they’re set free that you find out who you’re playing as. The only issue with that mechanic is that you don’t have any control over keeping a character you want to play as. A few searches online landed me in multiple forums with a lot of the same complaints. Most people have been saying that small caveat is all that keeps this game from becoming perfect, and while I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment,  it was a frustrating aspect of the campaign that would benefit from readjustment.

I will definitely give the BROFORCE team a lot of respect for nailing many aspects of a game style I love. But, there are a handful of issues that keep this game from being as great as it could have been. Which, is not surprising for an indie game but important for us to address all the same.

The first issue I kept having repeatedly, is the failure to jump. I can’t count the times my character just ran off a cliff, or didn’t jump over a bomb or bullet like he (This is a bro game) was supposed too, and I died several times because of it. Initially, I thought I may be hitting the action key too late, so I tried to better time my presses when I began to notice a pattern. There are so many things going on screen at the same time during different parts of the game, where certain key actions would forbid my character from jumping, like the two coding elements clashed with one another. On the fourth or fifth mission for example, a truck backs up, lets a lot of characters out of the back, and a suicide bomber jumps at you, but falls into the pit. If you try to jump during that sequence, you can’t, and there’s a quick screen flash as if the game is even trying to handle all of it at once. Now this definitely didn’t happen all the time, but enough times where I took notice and was able to notice a pattern in it.

Online Probs

The second and main issue I kept having was the online component. I have yet to successfully join an online match without being riddled with rendering issues. There were moments where I could watch the three other characters play together, but no matter what button I pressed (Even trying the share button) it was like I wasn’t there. Other times the display was off centered, leaving me to stare at the bottom left corner of a screen where I can only assume the other two or three players were doing their normal thing, only I couldn’t see them, just their names represented. One of the most interesting issues I took a screenshot of, was joining a match with nothing but the background on it. No name, no character, no enemy, no option to press anything. I had to close and relaunch the application just to get back into the game because my options button didn’t let me bring up the pause menu to back out. BROFORCE is fun on its own, but spread out over the course of the weekend and again Monday evening, I still can’t find a successful online match to enjoy the full experience.

So while reading this review, take note that 98% of this is based on single player offline playtime. Not that I didn’t want to go online and destroy everything with my friends, I just wasn’t able to do so.

the-verdict

The totally destructible landscape, ridiculously gory deaths, campy 80’s fan service and old school feel make it easier to forgive some of the bigger issue you’ll most likely experience playing BROFORCE. Depending on your gaming historical knowledge, this is a game that will bring nostalgia to a lot of older gamer’s and movie buffs but hold enough fun for a newer audience.

The Good

  • So many Bro’s to kill with
  • Campy 80’s throwback references
  • Old school platformer feel
  • Destructible Landscapes

The Bad

  • No Bro Control (Brotrol?)
  • Coding issues preventing jump action
  • Online server issues

The Score: 8.0


Devon McCarty needs to stop writing articles so he can go downstairs to rock “Livin’ On a Prayer,” so hard the walls shake. You can chat to him on the Analog Addiction Facebook page, follow his daily life on Instagram and Twitter @DesignatedDevon drop some sweet love in the comment section below or checkout his YouTube Channel.

 

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