Brutal Legend Thoughts

Wanted to practice writing, especially in English, so I decided to write down some thoughts I had on Brutal Legend.

I was looking through all my games the other day for something to play and I happened upon a sealed copy of Brutal Legend.

A game that before its release I was gleefully anticipating, but now nearly two years later I had not even opened.
Where I had gotten the copy of the game from I was not sure. But then again I have a lot of games I´v never played and can´t remember having bought, for some unfathomable reason.

So tried to remember why the hell I had skipped this game in the first place.

After reading the first reviews of the game I was shocked to read that a RTS was hidden in what I assumed to be a third person hack-and-slash action game. The criticism I read the most was a feeling of being duped by the what the game was.

Also my Jack Black tolerance was probably much higher when the game was first announced, but at the time of the game´s release I was done with him.

My economic situation at the time didn´t help, neither did the fact that Dragon age was just about to come out.

So I decided to let it pass.

Until now.

My expectations for the game at this point were as low as they could be, the only thing I was hoping for was some of that Schafer magic. So I installed the game to my 360 (Install All is my motto) and sat down to play.
To my surprise, 3 hours later I was still playing and better yet, I was having fun.

The first thing that struck me was how little Jack Blackness there was over Eddie Riggs, the main character. I mean yes it´s clearly Jack Blacks voice, but the writing for him kinda made me forget. Someone had to have been holding him back from going all out on every line, as he tends to do in his movies, and for the first time I truly liked Jack Blacks portrayal of someone.

The writing is also funny, not many games that make me laugh out loud, but this game did, if only a few times.

Although what I found the most amusing was Ozzy Osbourne as the shop keeper and the huge variety of lines he had been given, but not always the main story. Which is sad, because I can see that the game could have been hilarious if the writing wasn´t so scatter shot in quality, and the best lines were for everyone to see, not hidden in side quest most people are going to skip.

And I think that most people did skip the side quests, with good reason. After doing the first few of them which were all the same (Defeat a set number of enemies), I never really felt the need to do anymore of them.

I only did a few others that I stumbled over later in the game. There were a few different ones, a race (of course), a turret sequence, and they all repeated themselves more than once.

I wasn´t until after I had beaten the game and I was roaming around for some last achievements that I discovered that there were other side-quest which had unique objectives and dialog. Some of which rewarded me with much better things than the currency I had gotten from the ones I had done before, i.e a summoning spell.

So why the hell diden´t the game lead me to these quest which actually were fun and rewarding and not repetitive and dull as the others which I had found before.
Would be rather nice to have all the tools and abilities before the ending of the game so I actually could have used them.

The RTS component of the game which I was dreading, turned out to be easier than I had expected and that´s about the best thing I can say about it.

It suffers mostly from trying to enable you to fight with your axe and guitar, build and upgrade units, direct and attack with units while you have to make sure the enemy is not sending units another route or something else.

It´s tries to make you multi-task with poor results. I played it on normal difficulty and I can imagine hard being more irritating than hard since main problem is control.

So many different actions are bound to the controller I frequently found myself pressing the wrong button.

I started writing this thinking of it as a sort of positive look at the game, but now I´m not really sure If I enjoyed it as much as I thought.

The only good things I can say is that Jack Black isn´t annoying, the combat isn´t that hard, and some of the dialog is funny.

Oh and the music is good, if you like metal, I guess.

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Linkster7

Wanted to practice writing, especially in English, so I decided to write down some thoughts I had on Brutal Legend.

I was looking through all my games the other day for something to play and I happened upon a sealed copy of Brutal Legend.

A game that before its release I was gleefully anticipating, but now nearly two years later I had not even opened.
Where I had gotten the copy of the game from I was not sure. But then again I have a lot of games I´v never played and can´t remember having bought, for some unfathomable reason.

So tried to remember why the hell I had skipped this game in the first place.

After reading the first reviews of the game I was shocked to read that a RTS was hidden in what I assumed to be a third person hack-and-slash action game. The criticism I read the most was a feeling of being duped by the what the game was.

Also my Jack Black tolerance was probably much higher when the game was first announced, but at the time of the game´s release I was done with him.

My economic situation at the time didn´t help, neither did the fact that Dragon age was just about to come out.

So I decided to let it pass.

Until now.

My expectations for the game at this point were as low as they could be, the only thing I was hoping for was some of that Schafer magic. So I installed the game to my 360 (Install All is my motto) and sat down to play.
To my surprise, 3 hours later I was still playing and better yet, I was having fun.

The first thing that struck me was how little Jack Blackness there was over Eddie Riggs, the main character. I mean yes it´s clearly Jack Blacks voice, but the writing for him kinda made me forget. Someone had to have been holding him back from going all out on every line, as he tends to do in his movies, and for the first time I truly liked Jack Blacks portrayal of someone.

The writing is also funny, not many games that make me laugh out loud, but this game did, if only a few times.

Although what I found the most amusing was Ozzy Osbourne as the shop keeper and the huge variety of lines he had been given, but not always the main story. Which is sad, because I can see that the game could have been hilarious if the writing wasn´t so scatter shot in quality, and the best lines were for everyone to see, not hidden in side quest most people are going to skip.

And I think that most people did skip the side quests, with good reason. After doing the first few of them which were all the same (Defeat a set number of enemies), I never really felt the need to do anymore of them.

I only did a few others that I stumbled over later in the game. There were a few different ones, a race (of course), a turret sequence, and they all repeated themselves more than once.

I wasn´t until after I had beaten the game and I was roaming around for some last achievements that I discovered that there were other side-quest which had unique objectives and dialog. Some of which rewarded me with much better things than the currency I had gotten from the ones I had done before, i.e a summoning spell.

So why the hell diden´t the game lead me to these quest which actually were fun and rewarding and not repetitive and dull as the others which I had found before.
Would be rather nice to have all the tools and abilities before the ending of the game so I actually could have used them.

The RTS component of the game which I was dreading, turned out to be easier than I had expected and that´s about the best thing I can say about it.

It suffers mostly from trying to enable you to fight with your axe and guitar, build and upgrade units, direct and attack with units while you have to make sure the enemy is not sending units another route or something else.

It´s tries to make you multi-task with poor results. I played it on normal difficulty and I can imagine hard being more irritating than hard since main problem is control.

So many different actions are bound to the controller I frequently found myself pressing the wrong button.

I started writing this thinking of it as a sort of positive look at the game, but now I´m not really sure If I enjoyed it as much as I thought.

The only good things I can say is that Jack Black isn´t annoying, the combat isn´t that hard, and some of the dialog is funny.

Oh and the music is good, if you like metal, I guess.

Posted by The_Laughing_Man

The game is great until they force in that stupid RTS shit. 

Posted by Linkster7

No idea why the formatting turned out with so many spaces, but sadly it´s so late here that I don´t have the energy to fix it.

But it´s better with too many spaces then too few, right?

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

Nice write up. My partner and I loved it until the RTS aspects eventually killed the fun, and we quit maybe an hour out from finishing the game.

RTS lite elements are fine when executed well...but this was not executed well at all. Shame too, very funny, the combat was good, and that soundtrack!

Edited by CornBREDX

I had mixed feelings on the game. I had rented it- as at the time I needed to save money so renting was more feasible for me. I couldn't finish it, though. I thought the game play was boring (and the RTS crap I just could not stand), as you said the controls feel cluttered, and unlike you I actually felt Jack Black was boring and added nothing to the game.

As a concept the game is awesome; I love metal and grew up during the 80s when the type of metal this game is referencing was huge, so that is something I did appreciate and the fantasy behind that. The game play itself, though, I felt really disappointed in. Nothing felt fun, engaging, or at all interesting in it for me. I really tried, too. I love Tim Schafer, Psychonauts is one of my favorite original XBOX games and I grew up with Monkey Island, but I felt this game was just too much. Quantity over quality. At least they made an engine, though, they could use to make much better games which is ultimately what they did with it. For that, I can't really fault them, and feel in that alone the game is worth it.

It's not a game I recommend to anyone though. It was disappointing.

Edited by Akrid

I coincidentally was just playing this game, and man I really don't like it. The sound, animation, writing, and gameplay are all varying degrees of sub-par in my book. 
 
 It has a pretty visually interesting world though. Cool character designs.

Posted by cabelhigh
@The_Laughing_Man: So basically the first half hour?
Posted by intrinsicator
 

To everyone complaining about 'The RTS' - why did you decide to play the game like one at all? You're never told to. The game never says to you 'okay, at this point you're supposed to stop doing everything you've been doing for the entire game before - stop killing stuff with axe and guitar combos, stop using all the double teams, stop playing guitar solos to do various awesome effects, stop running stuff over in your car - and instead you're supposed to pretend to be a mouse cursor, flying the entire time, micromanaging and defending locations and generally playing as though this is Starcraft'. So why did you decide to do that on your own accord?
 
No, if played properly this game is anything but an RTS - the closest it is to one is an action game in an RTS framework. Make troops, sure - but fight on the ground with them. Drive the cars you make, ride the beasts you build. Don't use your wings to watch the battle from the sky and do nothing to help - use them to get a quick look at what your opponent is doing, or to get to some pesky enemy infantry so you can murder it with your axe. Melt faces, fight the enemy leader head-on, march through enemies with a Headbanger mosh pit or get a Razor Girl on your shoulders and blast stuff with an explosive version of her bow's normal shots.
 
Played right, the stage battles are simply the combination of everything else you've been doing in the game. They're not some sort of extra-sub-side-RTS-section where the gameplay completely changes - unless you specifically play them like one. And when you ignore 90% of the mechanics and try to play it like something it completely isn't and never was meant to be played as, then of course it's no fun... just like any other game ever.
 
Seriously, try playing the stage battles again, but this time instead of listening to Someone On The Internet who told you that you're supposed to play like it's an RTS, just play it like you would any other mission in the game... By hacking and slashing, double teaming, guitar soloing, and directing your army around as a bunch instead of trying to micromanage or anything like that. And suddenly you'll find that the stage battles are really really fun. Congratulations! You're now playing the game Double Fine expected people to play, rather than some shitty bastardized version with most of the gameplay removed.
 
(admittedly this really is not explained well enough ingame, but it doesn't change the fact that when played right, the game is fun as hell).