Brutal Legend is clever, funny, and seriously badass.
Headbangers unite! Grab your battle axe and guitar and prepare for some serious, face melting rockin'!
The very moment you insert Brutal Legend into your console, you'll notice that Brutal Legend is pretty clever in both its design and writing. After a humorous opening from Jack Black, we are presented with the menu, in the form of a vinyl record. Scrolling through the menu, was actually really enjoyable, as the presentation was so unique and great to look at. I think, this is the first time I've actually smiled while scrolling through a games menu.
The opening of the game takes place backstage, we see the hero of our heavy metal tale, Eddie Riggs, tuning a guitar. Eddie Riggs definitely looks his part as a roadie, long streaking black hair, denim jacket and of course, the mandatory spiked wristbands. We are then treated to the first clever humour, that is abundant throughout Brutal Legend. Eddie's band, Kabbage Boy, starts their performance with a heavy riff before breaking into a DJ scratch and emo lyrics. There are some further clever lines and events during the cut scene, though I will not talk about them as they are better seen than read. Sooner than you think, you are transported from the modern age, into a metalhead's dream world.
Eddie is first greeted in this strange, new world, by a band of temple monks, which seem quite interested in killing him, rather than making friends. The build up during this section, is helped a lot by the guitar intro to Black Sabbath's, Children of the Grave. Just as you pick up your battle axe, the song kicks in and provided some much needed heavy metal adrenaline, whilst I sliced up the demon priests one by one. The battle axe and guitar gameplay are pretty solid, though the little amount of combos mar the experience somewhat, the inclusion of a jump button could've probably have given a little more room for variety and depth. Yes, you cannot jump in Brutal Legend.
After exiting the temple, and meeting the first sub-main character in the game, Ophelia, the game opens up to a vast world of heavy metal. Double Fine have been successful in capturing the essence of metal in the aesthetics of their world, from the creatures to the scenery. You never feel like you're driving through the same area you did when you first started the game, this is thanks to the variety of terrain in the world of Brutal Legend. There are also a number of collectibles to find in the world, though they don't really amount to much unless you are serious about collecting them. Some of these collectibles show how the world has come to be as it is now, in a cool art style and slick voice over.
The story of Brutal Legend, is an absolute joy to play through. Double Fine have some very talented story writers, and I plan on running another playthough on the harder difficulty at some point, very soon. It is such a shame then, that the brilliant story is so short and can be completed in around 6-8 hours. There are a number of side missions that you can partake to extend the life of the game, though they are very samey, and can often get tiring. The characters featured in the story, fit perfectly in the world that Double Fine have so lovingly crafted, with fantastic voice acting to boot. There are a number of faces, which should be very familiar to fans of metal, such as Ozzy Osborne and Lemmy.
The game continues to be fairly action orientated, until you are greeted by the Real-Time Strategy element of Brutal Legend. The genre of Real-Time Strategy, has had a hard time trying to make a solid attempt, at making an appearance on consoles. Thankfully, Brutal Legend is a shining example of how such a game should be made for the console audience. 'Stage Battles', take place predominantly throughout the campaign and is the only part of the game to feature any multiplayer. Mastering your strategy for your chosen army, whether it be Ironheade, The Drowning Doom, or the Tainted Coil, can be tricky at first. With practice against AI and battling other players online, you will learn more and more how to use the units during battle. Though the multiplayer seems slightly broken at this stage, I have joined many laggy matches during my playtime, while it was not something that was game stopping, it was a slight inconvenience. There are also a number of cheap tactics that can be easily exploited, which made the game a little less fun for me.
The love and effort that have been put behind Double Fine, shines throughout Brutal Legend. The amount of gameplay aspects and humorous, clever writing featured in Brutal Legend are bound to give you tonnes of fun, even if you aren't a fan of metal music. Though the story can be completed fairly quickly, the games multiplayer is a lot of fun and is definitely worth a look after you have finished the story mode. Brutal Legend will go down as one of my favourite games of the year, so far, and perhaps of all time.