Brutal Legend

by – Henry “Tiger” Oliver

(Playstation 3 & XBox 360 – Reviewed on XBox 360)

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful graphics with a killer soundtrack
Decent story, considering how bad it could have been
Surprising mesh of beat’em up/platforming and real-time strategy
How many people collaborated with the voice acting?!
Two words: Jack Black

Controls have a lot to be desired, especially while driving
To understand the story completely, you have to unlock 12 storytelling relics
The RTS, while oddly refreshing, is WAY too difficult for beginners, even on easy
Where’s the jump button?

Jack Black: Movie star, rock star, metal head.

Well, now you can add badass warrior to his repertoire, courtesy of Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend has had gamers anticipated for a full-on revolution of metal since news of its release was announced. When I first heard about it, I was instantly hooked as well. Tim Schafer, the mastermind behind Psychonauts, may have been working on this game since ’05, but his work has paid off – infinite times over.

I won’t bore you with the in-depth story; although, I admit full-heartedly, I skipped studying for my Japanese mid-term because the story made me want to keep on playing until my body gave in to sleep in mid-level. But, here’s a quick summary: Eddie Riggs is a roadie for a band that’s about as metal as the Jonas Brothers. While saving a band member, he gets hurt and has blood pour into his belt buckle. The belt buckle transforms the stage into a demon, which then obliterates everyone around.

Eddie wakes up and finds himself in a future in which demons have enslaved human kind and, subsequently, their metal. Eddie, along with Ophelia, escapes the emperor’s castle (where he woke up) and goes back to the base of human resistance. From there, Eddie helps lead revolution throughout the metal-deprived land.

But, enough beating around the bush. Here’s how the game tallies up, kiddies:

Gameplay – 4/5
If you played Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2, you’ll definitely know what I’m talking about when I say that this is the one of the most eclectic game in terms of gameplay. One moment, you’re blowing up demon-driven motorcycles, the next you’re slaying 80’s hair-metal demons, and the next you’re plotting out how to keep a legion of undead emo kids from destroying your set. This has just about anything for everyone.

The one thing I have to complain about, though, is the implementation of real-time strategy. Sure, in the beat’em up levels, commanding some cronies is good strategy, but in the “stage battle” levels, it’s just annoying. The very last level will probably what keeps most beginners and casual gamers from completing the game, while Warcraft and Age of Empires junkies will find it either fun or mind-numbingly boring.

Another complaint is the boss battles – they’re too easy! On the last level (before /the final bss), I died ten times. On the final boss (I’m playing on normal, mind you), I beat him in five minutes with only a couple melee power ups and no magic power ups.

And, like every other hyped-up game, the main single-player quest is too short. Granted, it’s not WAY too short, as in Fable. But, nevertheless, you can beat this in a weekend, one day if you want to commit to doing nothing all day. Also, unless you unlock certain relics (explained later), the story doesn’t make as much sense.

There are various side quests and unlockable relics that can be used to power up your character (trust me, you really don’t need them), but the side quests are just cut and paste from level to level, so they’re really more for if you want to unlock Every. Single. Item in the item shop.

Speaking of which, for each main or side mission you complete and each special relic you unlock, you receive credits that you can redeem in Metal Forge (which you access after unlocking an entrance through a huge engine). In there, you can get better attacks, upgrades to your guitar, axe or car, unlockable paint jobs for your car and busts to be put on Mt. Rockmore (which I have yet to find).

To unlock these relics and the Metal Forge entrances, you have to use a special solo. In fact, there are several solos you learn that’ll help you along your quest. After accessing the solo, all you do is press the prescribed button as the timing bar swings by.

The good thing is – you catch onto everything quickly.

Graphics – 5/5
Seriously, play this on an HDTV. If you don’t have one, go to a friend who does and play it there. If no one you know has one, go to Wal-Mart, hook it up to the largest one you can find and play it there.

The graphics on this game are… wow. Where do I begin? How can I begin? I could spend all night talking about it, but let me put it like this: it is THE BEST looking game I’ve played since Oblivion. Details are flawless, character models are amazing and look like their real-life counterparts (even Tim Curry, notice the resemblance between Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Doviculus?)

Sound – 5/5
With a rockin’ soundtrack from the best metal has to offer and awesome voice acting from the aforementioned Jack Black as Eddie Riggs and Tim Curry as Doviculus, voice actress Jennifer Hale as Ophelia, (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Metroid Prime 3 & Soul Calibur IV) and voice actor Zach Hanks as Lars (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood and the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII), as well as Lemmy (Motorhead), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Lita Ford (The Runaways) and The Prince of Darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne, there is nothing ill I can say about the sound. Truly, truly flawless.

Controls – 3.5/5
I only have two complaints about the controls. The first one is that there’s no jumping action. Enough said on that note.

The second thing is the controls of the car you can drive – it’s horribly tight. Like, tighter than Scrooge tight. Like Spandex on a sumo wrestler tight. Add in the nitro boosts, and it’s near-impossible to control.

Apart from that, camera maneuvers nicely and everything else works just like a charm. Just not enough for a 4/5.

Replay Value – 3.5/5
The single-player mode replay value, with the exception of replaying on harder difficulties, is restricted only to completing any remaining side missions and unlocking any remaining relics. Apart from those things, there is none.

There is a multiplayer though, but there’s two things wrong with this picture:

1. It only consists the RTS “Stage Battles”
2. I can’t figure out how to access it, or if it’s local multiplayer or online.

Big fail, y’all. BIG fail.

Overall – 4/5

Buy? – Hold on, cowboy from Hell
While this is a REALLY good game, I doubt you’d want to pay upwards of $60 to own such a short game. If you need to own this game, I’d wait until it drops considerably in price, unless you can find it at an amazing deal worthy of the gods, themselves.

Rent? – That’s your best bet

Even with mid-terms, studying for said mid-terms and playing another game at the same time, I still managed to beat this game on normal difficulty in about three days. Ranking in at roughly 20 hours (give or take a few), it’s perfect for a weekend binge or for a slow week of homework. Besides, you can beat the game in a week for $7 at Hastings as opposed to paying a little under $60 in store or on Amazon – the scales lean more towards renting.


One Response to “Brutal Legend”

  1. This game was amazing! I loved the details that was put into the characters and their personalities. I especially loved the relevance to actual metal bands. That was very cool. The plot line was very intriguing and I am not quite yet finished with the game yet but am very close. I have just defeated Ophelia at the Sea of Black Tears, then I had to turn the X-box off. I give the game 5 stars. It was awesome and I think I could play i over and over again.

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