Brutal Legend ReviewDustin Wright
What happens when you cross gameplay similar to God of War, the humor of the film This is Spinal Tap, and throw this hybrid into a world similar to that of the Heavy Metal films? You get the game Brutal Legend, quite possibly one of the most entertaining games of this year.
Brutal Legend tells the story of Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), a roadie whose mindset is still stuck in the 1970s-1980s era of heavy metal music. While working at a concert for a modern day rock band, Eddie is transported into a world where he deemed the savior of the humans who inhabit the world. As a result, Eddie leads a revolt against the supernatural beings that have been oppressing the humans, using a battle axe and his magic V-shaped electric guitar to get the job done. Along the way, Eddie and his band of freedom fighters run into characters that are obviously incarnations of famous rock legends. To give you an idea, Ozzie Osbourne voices and portrays a character by the name of the Guardian of Metal, a character who helps you upgrade your skills and lives in the underworld. Motorheads Lemmy Kilmister plays the Killmaster, a doctor who heals people by using a huge guitar with magic healing strings.
The humor in Brutal Legend is something extraordinary. Very seldom does a game ever make one laugh on purpose. It is extremely hard to create humor and comedic timing in a game and keep it consistently hilarious, something only a handful of games have ever successfully pulled off. With that being said, this game pulls it off to an almost unseen perfection. Going into the game, I had no expectations. I knew it starred Jack Black and I knew it was a mock at heavy metal culture that I felt was a tired formula. However, this game literally had me in stitches the entire time. The humor in the game is so tongue in cheek and completely ridiculous that one cannot help but smile and enjoy the ride throughout the course of the game
The story is also worthy of a nod. Although Brutal Legend is completely ridiculous as stated, the story grabs you in a way many games do not. Within the first hour, I was already wondering what was going to happen next. How did Eddie wind up in this world? What are the supernatural beings they are fighting? Why is a man modeled after David Bowie who sounds like Stewie Griffin always flying around using his long, wavy hair as wings, and why does he want me dead? It is an engrossing story, and you will come to care for the characters that inhabit the world, ridiculous as they may be.
The gameplay of Brutal Legend is another strong aspect of the game, though it does at times stutter a bit. The basic combat is excellent. Wielding the battle axe and attacking enemies feels fluid and clean. Basically, if you are supposed to hit something, you will. The magical electric guitar is also useful too, basically acting as a ranged weapon. It has the ability to bring lightning from the sky to stun and kill enemies, as well as shooting fire from above. It is a very flexible weapon, one that has proven to be useful time after time.
In addition to the battle axe and the guitar, Eddie also has a hot rod, known as The Deuce that he can drive around the world. This proves to be especially helpful when trying to get from one mission to the next, as well as just exploring what the world has to offer.
The Deuce can also act as a weapon via upgrading parts of the car. Add-ons such as mounted machine gun turrets, the ability to shoot flames from the sides of the hot rod, as well as the durability the car has plays a crucial role into how sustainable and useful the hot rod can be in the game, and really, this goes for everything in the game because in addition to upgrading The Deuce, Eddies battle axe, guitar, and Eddie himself can be upgraded. For example, Eddies axe can be upgraded to be on fire constantly and setting enemies on fire or it can constantly be bleeding, which makes his axe more powerful the more enemies he kills. Every upgrade in the game is useful in one way or another, making the player think about what upgrade they should purchase that would match their playing style the best.
While Brutal Legend is a solid game, parts of the game could have been fleshed out more. Certain missions in Brutal Legend changes the game from being a hack n slash, mission to mission based game to a real time strategy. Eddie will order troops from his army to battle another army to push forward through their defenses. For instance, you have to gain certain checkpoints which in turn will allow you to make more units faster and ordering said troops to push forward in hopes of destroying the base of the enemy. Its a nice change from the gameplay, but only for a few minutes, as these battles get very tedious. The player cannot waste any time gaining new checkpoints or defending them, as checkpoints can go back to the enemy in a matter of half a minute. These strategy missions start off easy enough, but gradually become harder. Once the player must defend roughly four to five checkpoints at once, while fighting off enemies and trying to destroy their base all at the same time the battles become incredibly long and hard. The way the battles can sway also seems to be off to, as the player can be winning one moment, and five minutes later can be near defeat. Its a nice try, but this part of the game could have been a lot better.
An addition in Brutal Legend that would have been beneficial to the player is including a mini map while traveling to a mission. I cannot count how many times I had to stop driving or walking to a mission, go to the map on an entirely different screen to see if I was heading in the right direction. Not having a mini map, especially with the world being somewhat big is inexcusable, and I have no clue why it was left out. It doesnt break the game in the least bit, but it is annoying not having it there.
Overall, I would definitely recommend buying Brutal Legend. There has yet to be a game funnier this console generation than Brutal Legend. It truly will have you laughing every other minute, and the story is engaging, well written, the voice acting is top notch, and most importantly it is fun to play. Do yourself a favor and go buy Brutal Legend right now; you will not be disappointed.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.