Brutal Legend: A Review

Brutal Legend is a game of metal, plain and simple. Envisioned by Tim Schafer, the man behind the acclaimed game Psychonauts, the game really brings to life a world where metal music not only reigns supreme, but is the world itself. It was one of the most anticipated games of 2009, but did it live up to the hype?

Story:

You are Eddie Riggs, a roadie for the band Kabbage Boy, and you’re the best at what you do. But because of an unforeseen accident, you end up summoning the metal God Ormagoden, and get sent to the metal world. A bunch of dead druids later, you meet the three people of Bladehenge, and learn that the leader Lionwhyte has enslaved their men and imprisoned their women. You use your roadie skills to help build up an army, and take down whatever is in your way. Without getting too deep into the story, it does make you want to move forward in the game, and completes the world of metal that you have been thrown into.

With the characters, you do get a decent variety. While characters such as Lars and Lifa are serious, and somewhat inspiring in their ways, Eddie throws in a lot of comic relief for good measure. Villains, such as Lionwhyte not only can be a bit humorous themselves, but bring out some characteristics of the less loved days of metal (hair metal, anyone?). All the characters fit well, be it villain or ally.

That being said, the story does have some predictability, but the end result is still compelling enough to be a big positive when it comes to the game.

Score: 9/10

A hair metal leader... a change from Judas Priest.

Gameplay:

Well, this game is a mixed bag when it comes to gameplay. Literally. The main game is basically a hack and slash style game. And boy, is it executed beautifully. Throwing in combos, as well as guitar solos to harm your enemy, you’ll have enough tools to keep battle fresh. You also have a car, The Deuce. And boy, does it run well. The driving is most enjoyable of any in any non-racing game. Sure, it isn’t arcadey enough to do a turn on a dime at 150, but it’s great fun.

Then, we have the RTS elements of the game. When you set up stage, you are then put into a strategy war against your enemy, whoever that may be. You have to build “merch booths” to gain more “fans”, which you can use to create more units. Then your units attack the other stage and destroy it, simple enough. You can do other things that make the RTS section nearly a full-fledged RTS.

But here’s the problem: if you’re playing on any difficulty higher than easy, you’re expected to do both at the same time. And it gets annoying often. To actually create merch booths, I have to sink out of RTS flight, and go into a guitar solo to actually get it done. And to get the most carnage out of some units, you have to double team with them to get special attacks, which can only be done if you escape RTS flight. Yes, you can do RTS things while not in RTS flight, but then you’re vulnerable. You can get killed while  you’re trying to build a booth, or summoning units. And it’s too jumbled to be greatly enjoyable.

Score: 6.4/10

Presentation:

Do you have any heavy metal albums from the ‘80s? Go get them, look at their album covers, and imagine a world around them. That’s basically what you’ll see in Brutal Legend. Yet, it’s good fun, and an interesting change. The world itself is beautiful enough for you to want to give the goat horn salute. The characters themselves look good as well. Units, while in the same class look identical, are pretty well built up to the art style.

While the art style doesn’t allow for realistic graphics, it does look like it could be better. Nevertheless, what you get is done well.

Score: 8.6/10

Sound:

To put it bluntly, this is one of the best licensed soundtracks there is. 103 songs is enough to find something for every metal fan. Now, if you’re not a fan of metal, you may not like the music much, but despite the short sightedness of the soundtrack, it is nearly flawless for the game.

As for voice acting, you’ve got a great cast as well. Jack Black plays Eddie Riggs and does a good job. Throw in Rob Halford (of Judas Priest) as Lionwhyte and Ozzy Osbourne as the Guardian of Metal, and you have some metal credentials in the cast. The rest of the group are voiced well to boot.

Basically, here is where the game shines the brightest.

Music: 9.8/10
Voice Acting: 9.3/10

Replayability:

The most disappointing thing about the game is it’s length. The storyline goes a good 6-8 hours, and even the side missions only add two good hours to the game, and collection doesn’t help it at all. It does have online multiplayer though, but it’s based around the RTS elements, and while it allows you to play as the other units in the game, it still doesn’t save it.

Score: 5.5/10

Final Verdict:

You may not get much time out of the game. It’s enjoyable, but for only so long. So while Brutal Legend is brutally strong, it seems brutally lacking. You should probably rent this game.

Final Score: 7/10

It could do better to please the Metal Gods.

Pros:
– Great story
– Amazing soundtrack
– Brutally Metal

Cons:
-Confusing mash-up of RTS and hack & slash gameplay
– Brutally short

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~ by The Slurpee Man on October 28, 2009.

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