Have you ever wanted to Americanize every country you could get your gunpowder-scented hands on? Yeah, I know you do. Thankfully, developer Free Lives have just the cure for that urge that doesn’t involve you getting put into a gulag for mass murder and destruction of property. Broforce bro-forced its way onto the Steam (PC) platform on October 15th, 2015 before being ported to Playstation 4 on March 1st, 2016. With it came all of the run-and-gun action that made it a hit on the Steam Early Release platform.
In Broforce, you take on the role of a “Bro” (bet you didn’t see that coming), an elite commandbro tasked with murdering terrorists, freeing your captured bros (who are scattered about the various levels as prisoners of war) and leaving no stone un-american. Each bro has their own set of abilities (some of which are more useful than others) and are based off of the action heroes of our favorite movies. I choose to not spoil the bro-riffic roster for you, since the thrill of the next looming unlock was an extremely fun part of the game for me and kept me interested.
The game is presented in a retbro style, as many indie games are these days, bringing side brolling action, multiple characters and destructible environments. 95% of the level can be destroyed, and frequently does thanks to enemy fire and unplanned detbronations alone. There isn’t a lot of story to work with here, all you need to know is that there are terrorists, aliens (and not just in the foreign sense) and even demons out there and you need to murdify them. Honestly, I’m completely okay with not having a strong story. For what it is, Broforce is brilliant.
When you start a level, you are assigned a random bro from your unlocked list of hebroes and granted but one life to give for your country. You gain extra lives by rescuing one of the aforementioned prisbroners of war, which will then switch your character to either another random bro, or when a certain number of rescues have been performed, you may switch to a freshly unlocked bro. Sadly, there is no way to select your favbrorite bro, with the exception of intentionally fudging a level until a good one finally steps up to bat to save you from the dangers of a bro that is not fit for a particular situation. A notable example being a bro who specializes in shooting downwards only when all the action requires a horizontal attack. Each bro has their own special attack, in addition to their default primary weapon. The default character, Brommando throws hand grenades for example, while another throws a makeshift remotely detonated explosive that draws all enemies towards it before you manually detonate it.
Taking many many cues from action films of yesteryear, every character is based on an action movie hero, with a funny bro-pun added into their name (See: Brommando). Each new bro that was added to the fray was excitedly identified instantly with the exception of one from a movie I was not too familiar with. Bros are not restricted soley to male action hero stereotypes, including some of my favorite female lead badasses.
Save your bro before they notice y… Dammit, now they all have to die.
Each mission begins with you flying your chopper over a world map to select your mission (there are often 2 or more to select) with a brief synopsis of the country and the mission parameters, complete with a made up and absurd terror threat level indicator with such “levels” as Salmon and Ruby. Your missions are provided by clearly-not-a-philanthropist Nelson Brodella, your commandant and snappily dressed, cigar smoking beefcake of a general with nothing but choice words to say about the region you are about to Broccupy.
The music does the best job possible of setting you up for success in your quest from the moment you first hit the title screen. Every level’s background music is a high octane action movie soundtrack with heavy drum beats followed by the greatest end-level riff I have ever heard as you zoom off into the sunset in your freedom-copter, the entire level behind you exploding into a million freshly liberated pieces. Voice acting is minimal, saved mostly for the announcer who Death Metal-screams the announcement of each bro as they unlock, exclaiming the start of the missions and your mission failures.
Shoot, I just spoiled a character, didn’t I? Forget you saw this!
I’m the kind of person who uses Vita Remote Play whenever possible. Maybe it was a product of a bad internet connection or just a long long night, but at times this game can get really hairy. My remote play connection had a slight lag between button presses and jumps, which got me killed on more than one occasion. The inclusion of online co-op is appealing, however, if anyone ever joins your game, they are more likely to imbue the qualities of the bro they are playing as and become a loose canon that would make any irate police chief wipe the sweat from his brow and loosen his tie in frustration with how your bro-op partner is running the show. The chat system, while well thought out is also hella hard to work in remote play.
Having downloaded Broforce as a Playstation Plus title a month ago, I didn’t give it any attention until one bored night as I was waiting for a friend to become free so we could play a game together. In doing so, I found what may be one of my favorite games to date on the system. There is still so much more for me to see in the game. As of this review, I havent even touched on the alternate modes, focusing solely on Arcade mode. I look forward to the madness that still awaits me. Hopefully you were able to pick this up while it was still free. Even if you didn’t, in my opinion it would be worth it to shell out for a paid copy so you too can enjoy this sometimes frustrating, but always thrilling gem.