Tim Schafer Raises His Goblet Of Rock - Brutal Legend - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Brutal Legend

Tim Schafer Raises His Goblet Of Rock

What a long, strange ride it’s been for heavy metal. A movement that started as a critically reviled cacophony of distorted amps, screeching vocals, and gaudy guitar solos has proven exceptionally resilient, with its biggest bands selling out stadiums across the world over three decades. Metal faced many near-death moments that would have killed lesser genres – men in make-up, spandex, and Fred Durst – but it ultimately persevered, crossing over into new media with triumphant success stories like Metalocalypse and Guitar Hero. Famed game developer Tim Schafer grew up during metal’s rise to popularity, and Brütal Legend serves as his ode to the heavy, brooding music of his adolescence. This is a fantastical metal opus stitched together from album covers, rock videos, band merch, and live concerts.

Brütal Legend follows the exploits of Eddie Riggs, a roadie voiced by Jack Black who gets transported to an alternate dimension steeped in metal lore after he spills blood on his belt buckle during a stage mishap. The evil Lord Doviculus and his demons have enslaved humanity, and Riggs joins dreamy resistance frontman Lars Halford’s cause to return mankind to righteousness. This tour won’t be easy, however, as Riggs encounters tragedy, lost love, and his own shady past as he struggles to harness the power of metal and dethrone Doviculus. Tim Schafer’s signature sense of humor is pervasive throughout, with subtle metal references and laugh-out-loud one-liners strewn across the narrative.

Eddie proves no slouch in the combat arena, bludgeoning enemies with his axe, shredding his guitar for ranged lightning attacks, and turning demons into road kill with his steel chariot, The Deuce. Double Fine’s combat controls aren’t difficult to master, but the action is kept fresh with combos, double team attacks that pair Eddie with his comrades, and special powers Eddie calls to his aid via guitar riffs. These creative and highly useful attacks range from melting the faces of the enemies around him to calling in a flaming zeppelin that crashes to the ground, eliminating or severely damaging everyone in its path. Metal indeed.

Riggs unlocks these powers by scavenging the land for Tab Slabs, large rock structures that teach the destructive guitar solos. Finding them isn’t easy given the open world’s breadth, but fantastic art direction guarantees the drive is filled with awe-inspiring monuments to metal. From the screeching wall of amps to the mountains of skulls, the world of Brütal Legend is living, breathing album cover, and one of the most imaginative game worlds I have visited. Collectibles and side missions with cameo performances from Kyle Gass and Brian Posehn litter the explorable metalscape.

To win the land back from his enemies, Eddie must engage in “Stage Battles,” the centerpiece to the Brütal Legend combat and multiplayer experience. To win these action/real-time strategy hybrid battles, you must gain control of “fan geysers” by building merch booths on top of them to harness the fan spirits. With the fans on his side, Eddie can call a great array of varied unit types to arms, or turn the tide of battle by joining the fray himself. RTS battles rely on split second decisions, but Brütal Legend’s cumbersome command system stretches your patience to wit’s end. If your tactics aren’t sound from the first note there is rarely a course of recovery. The multiplayer gives you the chance to control the goth/emo and demonic factions you battle in the single-player game, but with the core mechanic so unreliable I can’t see this being a destination mode.

The unwieldy Stage Battles maim the battle system and multiplayer, but this gaffe doen’t take away from Brütal Legend’s charm. If you’re a fan of Tim Schafer’s humor and the type of person who decides between wearing a Metallica and Slayer T-shirt when you wake up, this is a must-play.

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Second Opinion:

8.25

Brütal Legend is hilariously scripted, brilliantly imaginative, visually and aurally arresting, and frequently unpolished throughout its many varied approaches to gameplay. The game borrows endlessly from every genre you can think of: RPG story and upgrade systems, large-scale RTS battles, open world exploration, and everything in between. Many of those systems have flaws; simplification of each gameplay mechanic is so severe that it hurts the experience. In particular, the strategy sections can be frustrating to navigate until you learn some workarounds. The good news is that you might not notice, given how absorbed you’ll be in the amazing setting that Double Fine has crafted. From the huge list of licensed music to the environments stuffed full of rock metaphors, the game is one big homage to metal, couched in the irreverent humor you’d expect from Tim Schafer. It’s not perfect, but you owe it to yourself to explore one of the most clever and engaging fictional worlds in years.

User Reviews:

  • 8.75
    I first heard about this game from GameInformer, and it seemed pretty cool. But it was one of those types of games where you go "You know, this looks cool, but I'm probably not going to buy it." It got lumped in there with games like Shadows of the Damned, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Batman...
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  • 8.50
    Brutal Legend is a game unlike any other, in some fantastic ways and in some others that aren't so stellar. Throughout the entire span of the game you never forget what is at it's core: Metal. This game bleeds metal and it's incredibly obvious who the target market. For a gamer like myself...
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  • 8.75
    Tim Schafer's Brutal Legend is a tough game for me to judge. In some respects, it's everything I could ask for in a video game. The entire story centers around the world's greatest roadie Eddie Riggs as he is teleported into a legendary world of metal. Every character and environment seems...
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  • 10.00
    This game is so friggin awesome the music is amazing and the story and enimies and everything is so original and new and just probably one of the best games ive ever played
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  • 8.50
    Brutal Legend is the latest game from videogame mastermind Tim Schafer. The visionary game director who always creates quirky, imaginative worlds, memorable characters, and fun although generally by the numbers gameplay. Starting with adventure games like Maniac Mansion and Grim Fandango, then hitting...
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  • 7.00
    This game needs to choose an identity. It offers an open world and exploration, actiony combo moves, upgradable vehicles and weapons, button tapping music solos, and large RTS style battles. I am all for mixing genres but ultimately this many directions left me wanting a more polished experience in some...
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