Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Broforce


   Have you ever wanted a good ol' fashioned Contra-like sidescroller with TOTALLY destructible environments? Have you ever wanted to play a game where you can be Rambo, The Terminator, RoboCop, John Matrix, B.A. Baracus, Indiana Jones, James Braddock, Ellen Ripley, Judge Dredd, The Rocketeer, Blade, Max Rockatansky, Luc Deveraux, Walker Texas Ranger, Conan The Barbarian, The Boondock Saints, Max Walker, John McClane, Machete, Snake Plisskin, Ash Williams, and more? Well, Bro, I've got some good news for you...

   Enter: Broforce. The arcade styled action packed throwback game, downloadable on the PS4 and on Steam. Now, I'm a sucker for 80's/90's macho retro nostalgia nonsense. When I unlocked the lever action shotgun in Far Cry: Blood Dragon, and it was called Galleria 1991... I cackled like a madman for a few seconds because I got the reference. When you get to apply the Aliens pulse rifle weapon skin to your assault rifle in Saints Row IV... I was over the moon. But what these games fail to really grasp is that wink-wink, nod-nod references and clever sight gags do not make a game good. They are merely sprinkles on top. If the ice cream is shit- they aren't going to help all that much...
The Galleria?
   Now, Blood Dragon was and is a lot of fun. Very good game, albeit more than a little repetitive. Saints Row IV is a good game for thirty minutes, and then it's just... not. There's a lot of modern games that go for a throwback style, but Broforce is on top of the heap- flexing its muscles and scowling in an Austrian drawl. I would've been laughing my ass off at the inclusion of all these fan-favorite characters regardless, BUT if the gameplay itself wasn't up to par, the game would've been a rather one-off gag, good for a laugh, and then I would've moved on. I can safely say that Broforce is more than the sum of it's retro pop culture references.

   As I'm terror-assing through the game, I continually discover new and neat little features. The Judge Dredd bro (Bro Dredd) fires a rocket you can manually guide, and his standard fire bullets are all homing bullets. Indiana Jones' whip isn't just for show, you can actually grapple around and swing to different areas with it. Each 'bro' has a totally unique play style, which lends itself to not only very fun gameplay, but gameplay that casually insists on a bit of strategy. You change bros every time you 'rescue' someone, and when you rescue enough bros, you unlock a new one. You might think I've spoiled a lot of familiar faces already, but there's still plenty more to discover, and that's definitely part of the fun.

   The game keeps you cycling through bros almost constantly, which isn't a bad thing the more I think about it. It's really a luck of the draw type of thing, but I enjoy playing as all of them. Sure, it's annoying when you unlock a new bro, and then you immediately step on a landmine, or jump headfirst into a giant careening buzz-saw of death- but keeping the pace going, and rescuing even more bros means you'll get back around to the new faces in no time at all. Once you hit your stride, you'll be able to handle whichever character gets thrown at you.

    The screen often erupts into gleeful fits of gore, explosions, rubble, and absolute chaos as you spam a grenade button, or get yours hands on a crazily overpowered character. And that is certainly a valid way to play, or you could actually blast tunnels under your enemies and take them out strategically with well placed traps and some lethal creativity. The game makes both play styles rewarding in their own way, which is quite a feat. I can't say enough good things about the game. It's a massive love letter to the over-the-top machismo of the 80's and 90's action heroes. Just when you think they couldn't surprise you with any more characters and little impeccable details, they frickin' do. I love Broforce.

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