Brigador: Up-Armored Edition ‘relaunches’ the mech combat game

Brigador banner

Stellar Jockeys have released Brigador: Up-Armored Edition [official site], a “re-launch” of their excellent isometric mech combat game bringing a new campaign, a rebalancing, and graphical upgrades including better explosions. Don’t mind the name: the Up-Armored Edition comes as a free update, not a separate release.

Stellar Jockeys have also promised further updates throughout the month to add lots of new vehicles, which are explained in the following trailer:

The new campaign is an introductory story to help “better ease in players and introduce them to the world”, while the default controls have also been tweaked to make them more accessible.

As a reminder, Brigador is a tough-as-nails mech game that plays a bit like a twin-stick shooter. Crowd controlling enemies and managing your abilities, health, and ammo is key, and there’s lots of explosions and destructible environments. Here’s what Alec had to say in his review:

“Brigador is glorious to behold – sweeping, detailed cityscapes clad in neon-flecked night, ordered and peaceful when a level begins, shattered and smoking by the time it ends. On the one hand it looks lo-fi, but on other the tide of destruction and intricate units make me feel as though I’m playing a tabletop game come to explosive, carefully-lit life.

“A carefully-deployed explosive can create a chain reaction of tumbling buildings, and, of course a well-timed stomp can dispatch a horde of enemies simultaneously. It’s a very specific power fantasy, recreated with clear love, prizing scale and effect well above anything like simulation. Not what the die-hard Mechwarrior fan craves, no, but the broader category of mech-lovers will be in hog heaven.

Personally, I’ve never picked it up, but this update is tempting. There’s 30% off for the next five days, so it will set you back £9.79 on Steam, itch.io and GOG.

In addition, there’s a new curated music album to go alongside the game, called the Up-Armored EP, which will be free to anyone who already owns the Deluxe Edition of the game.

What do you reckon?

23 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    G-Lord says:

    I finally gave the game a chance and have no regrets. Already completed half of the missions and I am having a blast.

  2. haldolium says:

    I remember having some issues with controls back when the first version launched and this update sounds good to try it again.

  3. A Perfect Urkel says:

    I’m gonna gush like crazy here: I F’ing love Brigador. I recall early complaints being the Relative ‘tank’ controls and seemingly shallow gameplay (really, it had a poor introduction of some of the deeper gameplay concepts like noise, line of sight, mouse-holing, etc). But ‘Screen Absolute’ controls were added and made the default, making it feel much closer to a twin-stick game (though a BIT slower paced…it’s steering, not really instant-change-in-direction if that makes sense?), and the campaign expanded to include intro missions that actually show the skills to survive beyond pure face tanking in a heavy mech. Learning how to disengage, hide, ambush, etc. is just as important as learning which weapons work well together to survive beyond the first few hours.

    The Freelance “dungeon” mode, where you choose your outfitting and go on single-life runs through ‘Operations’ of between 2 and 20 individual districts/maps, is the meat of the game but the campaign of pre-set runs is fun and has a good difficulty curve – though the first 15 or so missions go very quickly and are meant as an intro to the real chaos that shows up later. I really can’t recommend it enough, it deserves to be played. I still prefer the KB+M with Relative controls, but I’ve been playing this time around with a Steam Controller and ‘Screen Absolute’ instead and have been loving it. Big ups to Brigador.

  4. KDR_11k says:

    It’s the tough-as-nails bit that’s keeping me away, I have enough difficulty with regular games.

    • A Perfect Urkel says:

      It’s maybe better to say it CAN be tough-as-nails; the difficulty can vary pretty wildly based on what you choose.

      Most of the Campaign missions each give you a choice of 3-4 vehicles with different weapon loadouts that functionally serve as “difficulty settings” for that mission. The battle tank with a cannon and machine gun is going to be more straightforward and easier to survive in than the fast treadbike with a vortex cannon strapped to it.

      For Freelance mode (where you set up “runs” through several districts at a time for payout at the end) your choice of pilot determines the starting difficulty (between 1 & 13), and if it scales up with each completed district in a run. One pilot may set the difficulty at 5 for the entire run, or another may START at 2 and go up 1 level for each district you complete to a max of 7. There are 56 vehicles and 44 possible weapons – different combinations are going to be easier or harder to win with, so there’s some experimentation to find what works best for you.

      The pace is smoother at the lower difficulties in Freelance (say, 1-4) and it’s easier to take things slowly, so I’d still suggest giving it a shot! If you do: try a Prowler tank with Stutter MG primary and Disco laser secondary, and Active Camo for the special. Its quick, can hide, and take a few punches; the weapons are straightforward and strong. :)

      ed: oh lord, these are long, sorry…I’m just eager to see the game get out there!

      • poliovaccine says:

        Dont apologize for the length! As a super recent nooooob to this game, this post was more informative to me than the last five tutorial-style levels. Especially knowing more about Freelancer mode – I had no idea that’s where the main game really is! I just glazed right over that, cus I’m used to “Campaign” being the meaty part, and I guess I just assumed “Freelance” mode was like your standard “Skirmish” or “Quick Match.” That alone probably just multiplied the value of the game for me, haha. I hadnt caught on to using loadouts as difficulty settings either. Good info here, helps me out anyway.

        • Premium User Badge

          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          The biggest mech/tank isn’t always going to be the easiest either. There are missions where using the big stompy robot is just going to get the entire level on you instantly, so it can take a few tries to find out each difficulty.

          It is also entirely possible to stealth missions. Try playing Knife Chase with the little robot and just get in and get out.

  5. ButteringSundays says:

    Got it with Humble Monthly – have only poked at the first couple of missions but I can already tell it’s something special.

  6. Tannhauser says:

    Really hope this gives Brigador the recognition it deserves. Sales have been tepid and I’m pretty sure it is purely because of low visibility. The general response is great when people actually know about the game, but unfortunately Brigador just seemed to get lost in a flood of indie titles last year.

  7. Kolbex says:

    It is a perfectly wonderful game, the kind of game I wish had been around when I was 15. I would have played it for ever and ever.

  8. Jakkar says:

    A difficult child. Hard to love.

    It took persistence, and several tries, before I clicked with Brigador.

    It was worth it. Whatever anyone says, it’s still a disappointingly simple game – while the combat has depth, it is held back by clunk. A pastiche of an era and art style that carries the flaws with it, it is unnecessarily hard to judge shots and know when you can hit a target or will clip part of the complex environments, even with the garish aim-lines.

    When you embrace the wicked and surprisingly deep lore and the atmosphere it promotes and let go of any hope you may have held for complex features like real customisation, an open world, faction interaction, physics or AI who do more than ‘follow noise’ and ‘shoot’, you will find a surprisingly satisfying, challenging, rewarding box of murdermachines here.

    This update makes it waaaaay easier to get into and appreciate, which was their intention, I believe.

  9. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Not much to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s a great game made better. Buy it and make some things explode.

    • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

      This is correct.
      You will buy Brigador because you deserve it.

      In all seriousness, I’m so glad to see people recommending this game. A year ago I felt like an insane street preacher!

  10. jfultz says:

    I put a lot of time into it a while back, and I just ran through all of the new campaign missions. Most of the new campaign missions are new tutorials…the rest are very easy. That having been said, I was surprised at how much I learned from the tutorials. It looks to me like they’re trying to make the game more approachable for newbies, but I found myself learning several things that I’m fairly certain just were *not* talked about anywhere in the older version.

    So, good on them for making it more comprehensible. A bit of a back-handed compliment, but there you go.

    And…finally…the icons for the ammo depots show up even when they’re not mission objectives. I’ve wasted a lot of time crossing the mission field in slow-moving vehicles trying to find ammo dumps.

  11. dethtoll says:

    Even if I never finish this game, the soundtrack is exactly the mix of synthwave and mid-90s FM synth/MIDI the world needed. If you’re at all a fan of the likes of Tyrian’s soundtrack or Zone 66’s, you will love the shit out of Makeup and Vanity Set’s work for Brigador.

  12. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    Really great game, more people should try it!

  13. Scott Constantine says:

    If you like this game, I would definitely recommend reading about the developers’ experiences over on imgur; they post quite a bit about their struggles in getting the game out there, after five years of actually making it:

    link to imgur.com

  14. unitled says:

    I’m joining the queue of people gushing about the game. Again, takes a little while for it to click, but when it does it gives back in spades. Was away over the weekend so haven’t had a chance to play this but you bet I’m going to be sitting down with it tonight.

    Really, absolutely worth every penny of the less-than-ten-quid they’re asking right now, and a game that deserved a lot more popular success for how it carved out its own niche.

  15. ropeladder says:

    Excellent game.

    Recommended build: Pompadour + Archie + Mae Dois/one of the lasers + AKP (at least on the pre-May 2017 version of the game) This gives you a significant amount of firepower at close range, and the pompadour is fast and heavily shielded enough to get in, unleash hell, and get out.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Easy mode: anything that can equip an Otomo laser.

    • Jakkar says:

      That Zollig with twin Banshees is rather delicious with the new visuals…

  16. second_hand_virgin says:

    Tried it yesterday (sadly, RPS reviews and discussions have this kind of power over me)and after first few tutorial missions I have more problems with this game, than fun. First, and most important – all tutorial prompts are writen for keyboard/mouse, so playing it with X360 controller is a game of mashing buttons and waiting for any effect. After tutorial I still don’t know how to use my special abilities like camo or EMP grenades, I have no idea why sometimes I press button and see light green grid around my mech, and rebinding keys on controller makes no effect at all. I’m rather quick in learning new games but here it’s a constant fight against not very good optimisation for game pad. But breaking things is still fun.