Brutal Legend has incredible artwork – the environments are stunning in both their beauty and creativity, the characters were bizarre and fascinating, and the story was clever. I really enjoyed the opportunities to immerse myself in the world, but it always took a little bit of work to ignore the flaws that held everything together.

Many of the missions could have used more checkpoints; too often I had to start over from the beginning. More frustrating – sometimes I got lost or confused during a mission because the objectives weren’t clear. Technical flaws also occurred. I got a motorcycle stuck perfectly atop a flaming pillar after I drove into the wall in front of it. I couldn’t get the bike off of it, so I had to restart. Whether on foot, in a car, or flying about the battlefields, I would get caught on pieces of the environment.

I won some of the RTS sections because they were weighted in my favor and the others purely based on luck; I never got good at the RTS system. I never mastered the battle system either, which seemed to lack a good defensive mode since many enemies could defeat your block function. I found myself running away. A lot.

Still, I’m glad I played the game because there were also great things about Brutal Legend; things I don’t expect to find elsewhere. Even though it had a poor turning radius, it was fun to explore with the car, particularly after I got some weapons for it. Not all of the weapons worked so well, but most of them were great at killing the huge and artfully designed enemies. There were also lots of bonuses to uncover, and the more time I spent wandering aimlessly, the more fun I had. At this point I would say I’m considering keeping the game just to wander about in it, which I think may raise my opinion of it more and more over time.

Perhaps most importantly, the game feels like it was made for and by nerdy heavy metal fans – and despite not being a metal fan myself, I really liked that aspect. It felt like it was someone’s dream to make Brutal Legend; I was glad to support that, and be a small part of that dream. The music, the art designs, the voice acting, and all the people involved – they are all incredible. If those are priorities to you, I think you’ll be happy to play this game, but if you’d rather have a highly polished game that falls comfortably in the mainstream, you should pass on Brutal Legend.