previewed on PC
Take a bit of Full Spectrum Warrior and add a pinch of Knights of the Old Republic and, voila, you have a very interesting game that creates its own genre.
Brigade E5 takes place in a tropical nation of Palinero that is threatened by a civil war you, the player, are an elite mercenary who has to hire a band of mercenaries and take control of the situation before the country is in complete ruin. As a mercenary your job is of course to dispatch the foes of your client(s) and make lots of money doing so. But first you need to start and lead a band of mercenaries.
Fortunately, other mercenaries seem to hang out everywhere in this country. This is very evident because in the first mission alone you bump into two mercenaries on the streets. But these guys won't just follow you into battle out of sheer good will, of course; you need to make it worth their while. You have to pay them a little bit to get them to join your crusade.
Controlling the characters is much the same as in Knights of the Old Republic. You give them orders in 3D view in both battle and peace and they move around and carry out those orders. But you aren't forced to make your characters stick together and can send them to different location and make use of their individual skills sets. Although thus far I'm not sure if a character is stuck with their skill set or if there is a way to level up or improve their skills.
Each character has his own HP but once you are wounded you can bleed to death unless you have something to stop the bleeding. Also realistically, a character whose legs have been shot will not be able to walk. There does seem to be a way to heal players who have been hurt as the local Gun shop sells medic kits but the tutorial is terrible and after a half an hour of trying to figure out how to use the medic kit I just gave up.
Also like in KOR you can set an auto pause feature to pause the game when any gameplay event occurs. So you can vary the game from being a slow turn based game where you micromanage every character, to a fast paced squad command game like Full Spectrum Warrior.
The controls are a bit awkward especially when it comes to rotating the map. The roller ball of your mouse will zoom the camera but if you hold it down it rotates the camera a bit. Also using the right mouse button will help you change the orientation of your camera. Much of the time is spent re-orienting the camera and this fact alone made the game be on pause much of the time.
As I stated before the tutorial is not very good and will only help you get up to speed on the basic idea of the whole game. On top of that, many of the more advanced movement works very awkwardly and such actions are often necessary, for example when you want to have your character peek around corners to check for enemies in a close combat environment.
Lock and load
After playing the tutorial I was ready for my first mission as a mercenary. Hitting the campaign on the demo I was ready to lock and load. But much to my surprise there was nothing to lock and load. Apparently my mercenary (A girl who's name appears to be "Player") only had $2,000 with which to make her way in the world. With this money, her job would be to defeat a large heavily armed force of guards to go in and kill some 3rd world general inside of a villa.
After hiring a mercenary who could be found standing 20 ft in front of me, named Coyote, for $1,000, I now had a guy with a small 8 round pistol and some ammo. He suggested taking a trip to the gun shop. Great idea, I thought, I could also use a gun. After walking around for a while I discovered a bank with a man standing in front of it. Apparently, his job was to tell me that the bank was closed. Later on I was able to find a gun shop with another mercenary standing outside named Hagen. This guy was obviously better armed than Coyote. While Coyote looked like a beggar with his .45 in his hands, Hegan looked like a cross between a Navy seal and a UN Peacekeeper.