The word average gets a bad rap, but that’s the word I’d use to describe Post Brutal. The combat is passable, the graphics are ordinary, and the characters don’t stand out. Despite all of that, Post Brutal still managed to capture just enough of my attention to keep me coming back, and that’s what matters the most.
You’re thrown into the role of a random survivor living life in zombie-infested City Zero. In a fun twist, you’re actually able to slap your own face onto your character. It’s rough around the edges, but it works well enough and it made me feel a bit more involved. A brief tutorial sets you up with a sweet position in the military-controlled city of Pristine, and the action ramps up from there. However, just how much it ramps up depends on whether you commit to premium Post Brutal, or stick to the free version.
In the free version, there isn’t enough content to hold the average player’s interest for long. You’ll only have access to patrol missions that typically take 10 minutes to complete and feature no real story content, and I don’t recommend playing the game that way. Instead, it’s worth committing to the campaign in-app purchase. It’s a lengthy story that significantly fleshes out the content, and although it’s not the most compelling narrative, it at least gives you a real reason to kill zombies.
Either way, you’ll do plenty of killing in Post Brutal. The combat system is simple but dynamic enough to keep you engaged. It’s easy to switch between melee and ranged weapons, and both types of combat feel smooth. There’s also plenty of weapon variation, and you’re free to choose weapons that best fit your style. You’ll wield combat knives, a taser, assault rifles, a desert eagle, and even a rocket launcher if you can afford it. The controls take time to get used to, though, and some — like the dodge roll — never feel ideal. I’d have much rather seen the roll replaced with a side-step, as it feels useless when you’re surrounded by a mob of enemies.
Most of my combat situations boiled down to pulling out my best gun, pelting enemies for as long as I could, kiting while reloading, and repeating the process. It started to become stale after a few hours, but it’s not the only way to play. Melee attacks are strong and it’s always fun to smash raiders and zombies into pulp, but you’re too fragile to last in close combat situations for long. The times I tried to go head to head against any serious threat, I ended up spamming health serums, and I didn’t enjoy having to play that way. Stealth is also an option, and the time I spent sneaking and backstabbing was satisfying enough, but you won’t always be able to rely on it.
There’s more than enough action in Post Brutal for it to live up to its action RPG label, but it’s missing a sizable chunk of the RPG. You’ll gain levels and skill points as you go, but the skill selection is frustratingly limited. It feels more like a shell than a system designed to make you feel like you’re actually getting stronger, and nearly all of the skills are passive. You do have access to an active skill called adrenaline rush that slows down time, but it would have been nice to have others to choose from.
So far, I feel like this review lives up to the first sentence describing Post Brutal as average, but there’s one aspect that stands out from the rest: the world. The environments may look dull and uninspired, but they’re full of secrets to find. Data logs are scattered throughout the world and give insight into the early days of the disaster, and you’ll also gain access to news stories each day you play. It’s not super deep, but it helps round out the rest of the content and feels more developed than anything else.
It might sound like I’m really not a fan of Post Brutal, but that’s not quite the case. I have some reservations, and there are several improvements I’d like to see made, but I enjoyed my time in this post-apocalyptic world. I think most of you will too — at least for a little bit — especially if you dive into the campaign and seek to learn more about what caused the world to become as it is.
Post Brutal (Reviewed on iOS)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Post Brutal is an acceptable action RPG experience in most aspects, but it's nothing special. However, if the free version pulls you in, it's probably worth purchasing the full campaign.