Najaf's forum posts
You know what? I am guilty of bypassing the team objectives in Halo multiplayer in pursuit of achievements. There is this fuel that takes over me when a map that I need an achievement in comes out of the hopper. While I am doing the team no favors while I stroll around a level not shooting and just heaving grenades trying to get Death from the Grave, for whatever reason, I continue to do it. The same goes for hanging out in the backfield on sandbox during team deathmatch to get a Perfection medal.
But others have taken this too far. I want to reach through the internet tubes and strangle someone when I get team killed while I have the hammer on Assembly just so they can have a go at the Hammer Time achievement. The same goes for getting team killed if you have the sword on Heretic. And, I'm talking about multiple team kills per game. What on earth was bungie thinking?
On top of all this, you have to wait for the right map and right gametype for some achievements like getting 3 oddball melee kills on a Legendary map. I have, to this day, never played a game of oddball on a legendary map. I laugh seeing people not return flags so they can camp and wait for a shot at getting flag kills. Or better yet, its just comical seeing someone drive a ghost an entire match to get a splatter spree during a CTF game.
Yes, I like achievements. I go out of my way to get them. And, in most cases I enjoy the added value it delivers to my games. But Halo 3 is an example of how to not do them. These achievements ruin an otherwise excellent multiplayer experience by including them.
Am I the only one who is not seeing the review content living up to the scores? I have a feeling that much like a Mario or Zelda game, Tim Schafer's name, that has a special place in many game critic's hearts, might have been subconsciously bumping up several scores. I just can't imaging a review like this getting the score it did with some no name producer at the helm.
Lets have a look: Italics is a generally positive paragraph, normal font is arguably neutral and bold is a generally critical/negative one.
Brütal Legend, like its unnecessarily umlauted name implies, tosses you into an over-the-top heavy metal fairy tale. Tim Schafer's name is on the box, so you know that, just like Psychonauts and Grim Fandango, you're going to get a humorous, well-written narrative. But despite the terrific, superbly voice-acted story (featuring Jack Black, Tim Curry, and cameos from many other musicians and comedians), certain missing gameplay features, like the lack of a minimap, jump button, or warp feature make Brütal Legend feel unfinished.
The story centers on roadie Eddie Riggs as he drops into the living, breathing world of heavy metal. He operates behind the scenes to make sure the forces of good (heavy metal) triumph over the forces of evil (hair metal). The game is mostly action mixed with a little light RTS, but in addition to your main mission to save the world, you can undertake side missions to earn extra Fire Tributes (the in-game currency) for new abilities and other upgrades. The missions themselves aren't very original, ranging from basic "kill a group of enemies before they kill you" skirmishes to races in the Deuce, Eddie's custom metalmobile. But they're all surprisingly fast-paced and not too challenging -- in another game, they might feel like overdone, unnecessary wastes of time, but in Brütal Legend, they're quick one-offs with decent rewards.
But the game's simplicity isn't all good. For one thing, you can't jump, meaning it's easy to get stuck in shallow holes and behind pieces of scenery. Around halfway through the game, you gain the ability to fly; you'd assume that, after that, all your getting-stuck-in-holes woes would be over. But you're only able to take flight during the game's RTS sequences, so, not only can minor stumps and hills completely stop you in your tracks, but after the credits roll and you're given freedom to explore the world, the only way to get from one end of the map to the other is by walking or driving the Deuce.
Given all that, the first thing you'll probably notice about the game is that you don't have a minimap. When you're riding around in the Deuce, you can set waypoints on the map, and then navigate there using your tail lights. But the car's a little too slow to indicate which path you should take when you come to a fork in the road. Unless you're inside, you can also just look up at the sky and follow the large shaft of light that shines down on your target from the heavens, but when doing that, you could be driving straight towards a bottomless pit and not know it.[Negative]
Hitting the Select/Back button brings up a map, but it only provides minimal information, showing Motor Forges (areas where you can upgrade your car and your character) and mission markers. Those are also the only places you can set as waypoints. If you fall off a cliff and want to try to get back to a specific point on the map (that's not a mission or Forge), you're on your own. Hidden abilities, songs, and other monuments litter the world, but you have to meticulously comb over every inch of land to find them all. And after you find them, your map doesn't give any indication of where they were located.
The game's options and extras menus don't help much either. Your Tour Book records all of the equipment, units, and landmarks you find in the game, with colorful and occasionally funny descriptions. But it doesn't categorize them -- for the different factions' units, it's hard to tell at a glance where one army ends and the next begins. What's worse is that, for a game so focused on narrative, you can't pull up a recap of any of the game's cut-scenes. If you want to see the story again, you have to start from the beginning, and if you want to watch a Legend (a short, stylized history of the game world), you have to find the statue on your own out in the world.[Positive]
But at least when you're wandering aimlessly around, you get good music. Brütal Legend adeptly integrates its heavy metal theme into the world, both artistically and with actual heavy metal music. While cruising in the Deuce, you can choose what songs to play from a library of over a hundred tracks, or remove songs completely from the game's playlist, a nice feature in case you come across a particular track you can't stand.
But Brütal Legend's main purpose is to teach you the RTS battle system. The story slowly introduces you to each of the Ironheade army's units, and gives you careful instructions on how to use them. The basics of the system are easy to grasp: the only resource comes from Fan Geysers, and the more fans you have, the more allies you can summon. The only goal is to destroy your opponent's stage on the other side of the map. But both in the main story and multiplayer, the lack of a minimap (or any way to track how many of what unit you have on the field) makes the combat frustrating. Unless you keep all your units together in a tight formation, it's easy to lose track of what you have. And once you enter into battle, it's nearly impossible to distinguish some forces from one another, or to figure out which soldiers the enemy has wiped out.[Posititive]
Throughout the game, you'll face three other armies: Lionwhyte's (which is a copy of yours, just with less fashion sense, and not available in multiplayer), the Drowning Doom, and the Tainted Coil. But you're on your own in learning the how to play the game's other two factions. The basic setup for all the game's forces is the same, but Double Fine did such an amazing job of creating balanced yet separate teams, that it takes a lot of practice to learn each factions' strategies -- especially since you're not given any tutorial or instruction for those armies. But with dedication and practice, Brütal Legend's multiplayer can be a lot of fun, and it's the only reason to keep playing after finishing the eight-to-10-hour main quest.
None of my complaints against Brütal Legend are game-breaking, but they turn what should be an exciting experience into a frequently frustrating one. But that shouldn't deter you from playing this game: The oversights are obvious, and they should have been addressed before the game launched. The main problem is that it doesn't feel like it was poorly designed, but that simple things were simply forgotten. But really, those things don't make the story any less entertaining, the rock god theme less enjoyable, nor the characters' well-animated faces less expressive. And with long practice and good friends, the multiplayer can be incredibly rewarding. Brütal Legend proves that Tim Schafer and the Double Fine crew can weave an entertaining experience that rises above its flaws.
In the end, yes, its just an opinion piece and is perfectly entitled to whatever score a critic wants to dish out. I just would like to think that there would have been more of a focus on why it scored so well while still mentioning its faults. Its shipping to me today, so I'll just have to wait and see for myself. Any thoughts?
As I stated in my original post, the game was built from the ground up as a multiplayer title. Multiplayer was the first thing on the table, what the initial brainstorming sessions were focused on, and what a majority of the single player story combat is based on. And here we are at release with that feature lost in the storm. That is my point, nothing more.
My point was that in the only review available, there was almost no mention of a large part of this game. This put me off a little. With many games today that offer relatively short single player experiences, the quality of multiplayer is (at least for me) a huge selling point.
Tim has stated that the game was built as a multiplayer game first before any of the characters, single player mechanics, or story were worked up. Because he had not done a multiplayer game before, he stated that he wanted to be sure and get it right by doing that first. A good portion of the story combat in single player is based off of the RTS-lite multiplayer mechanics. Interview here.
Huh? Pretty much all the hype (not just from the media, but how it was pimped by the developers and publishers also) and official trailers were for the single player, story driven portion, the multiplayer only got attention as another bullet point very recently. It's never touted as a primarily multiplayer game, only as a story driven action adventure with various gameplay elements and Jack Black. "
Tim Schafer: "You know, we always starting with the highest risk stuff, and moving down to the lowest risk stuff. So with Brutal Legend, we worked with Multiplayer, and we've never worked with multiplayer. So we knew this game was going to have a component that was head to head, you and your army fighting against another army. So the first thing we did was make was make the multiplayer working, before we did the story or anything. In 2005, we had characters fighting and having epic battles, and then actually did the story later on when we felt more confident that we knew how to do that after we did the multiplayer."
I must admit, it is a little disconcerting to have only one outlet's review up when I can walk into Wal-Mart right now and buy it. The review seemed really shallow to me as well. For a game that was built from the ground up as a multiplayer game, having one (short) paragraph in the written review and two sentences in the video review mentioning this feature makes me question it's offerings. Even what is mentioned in both reviews is best described as a summary and falls far short of any sort of critique. Where are the other reviews?