The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
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.