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Surprise! Brütal Legend Is Kind Of An RTS, Too

Like its roadie hero, Double Fine's new action game is starting to look a little like a jack of all trades.

Everything's better with demon wings.
Everything's better with demon wings.
At this point, I just feel like a jerk for ever assuming Brütal Legend was going to be a simple level-based hack-and-slash game in the God of War vein. A hilarious, headbanging hack-and-slash game from the prodigious pen of Tim Schafer, of course, but a hack-and-slasher nonetheless.

Au contraire; the more I see of Brütal Legend, the further from the truth I realize my initial suspicions were. When Double Fine and EA first took the wraps off the game, it became clear that Eddie Riggs' romp through rock revolution was drawing design elements from all kinds of successful genres. It's got the open-world elements of a Grand Theft Auto, the squad-based troop-commanding of an Overlord, and some controller-based shredding a la Guitar Hero and its ilk.

At this point, actually, you can scratch the Overlord reference. After seeing Schafer demo a large-scale battle from midway through the game, I'm starting to think real-time strategy would be a more apt comparison for the kind of broad tactical action that will underpin Brütal Legend's combat.

The battles have some RTS elements to them.
The battles have some RTS elements to them.
Prior to swinging your mighty axe in some of the game's biggest battles, you'll construct an RTS-like base of sorts nearby, consisting of a gigantic, arena-worthy stage (complete with big flood lights, pyrotechnics, and a metal documentary-style time-lapse construction animation) and the requisite merchandise table. These are the buildings that will generate the resources--represented by ethereal, ghostly fans--that you'll use to purchase reinforcements.

The RTS comparisons come in when you see that you (as Eddie) can order up more units mid-battle by literally popping up a rotary menu where you select and queue up the new troop types you want to bring into battle. The game has a rock-paper-scissors balance mechanic going on, with infantry dudes, ranged units, and other archetypes.

Of course, Schafer's brand of gleefully clever humor influences all these combat elements. Headbangers are your basic infantry, and they can do a special move called the mosh pit where they encircle Eddie and run around, bashing all the enemies that get in their way with their thick noggins. There's a special unit called the runaway who's basically a 15-year-old girl in a tight metal t-shirt who rides on Eddie's shoulders--just like all runaways do at concerts, right?

I feel inadequate writing about this stuff, because it's way funnier than I'm capable of conveying. Just trust me: if you've ever expunged your teenage angst to the strains of Iron Maiden or Slayer or Metallica, you'll click with this game's humor, bigtime.

What even needs to be said?
What even needs to be said?
And how do you get a handle on all this action, considering you can summon up to 40 troops to fight on your side at once? By taking to the skies. I can't exactly call this a spoiler, since EA is putting out screenshots of it: Eddie turns into a demon at some point via infernal poison. In gameplay terms, that gives him giant wings that lets him fly around during these big battles, letting him attack from the air but more importantly giving you a bird's-eye tactical view of the battle. Plus, Eddie looks pretty wicked and gnarly when he's all red and winged. (I'm pretty sure he'll revert back to human form in between battles, only sprouting those wings when it's convenient.)

The sky-high perspective is especially useful when you consider that you've got rudimentary control over the behavior of your rock minions. You can set beacons and have them move to them on command, as well as telling them to gather toward you and so forth.

The sample battle Schafer showed off was set against the forces of the foul General Lionwhyte, the leader of Eddie's enemy glam rockers voiced by Rob Halford. There's not much I can say about Lionwhyte that the included screenshot you see to the right there doesn't already say for itself. I do have to mention that he uses his hair like giant angel wings to fly around, which is pretty much hilarious whenever you see it in action.

Not to harp too much on the same point I made in my first look at this game, but I'm so pleased Brütal Legend looks like a game I really want to get my hands on and play, rather than simply a vehicle for Schafer's reliable hilarity (though it does seem to be that, too). We're hoping to get our mitts on the game ourselves at E3, so check back for more in early June.


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Brad

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Edited By Brad
Everything's better with demon wings.
Everything's better with demon wings.
At this point, I just feel like a jerk for ever assuming Brütal Legend was going to be a simple level-based hack-and-slash game in the God of War vein. A hilarious, headbanging hack-and-slash game from the prodigious pen of Tim Schafer, of course, but a hack-and-slasher nonetheless.

Au contraire; the more I see of Brütal Legend, the further from the truth I realize my initial suspicions were. When Double Fine and EA first took the wraps off the game, it became clear that Eddie Riggs' romp through rock revolution was drawing design elements from all kinds of successful genres. It's got the open-world elements of a Grand Theft Auto, the squad-based troop-commanding of an Overlord, and some controller-based shredding a la Guitar Hero and its ilk.

At this point, actually, you can scratch the Overlord reference. After seeing Schafer demo a large-scale battle from midway through the game, I'm starting to think real-time strategy would be a more apt comparison for the kind of broad tactical action that will underpin Brütal Legend's combat.

The battles have some RTS elements to them.
The battles have some RTS elements to them.
Prior to swinging your mighty axe in some of the game's biggest battles, you'll construct an RTS-like base of sorts nearby, consisting of a gigantic, arena-worthy stage (complete with big flood lights, pyrotechnics, and a metal documentary-style time-lapse construction animation) and the requisite merchandise table. These are the buildings that will generate the resources--represented by ethereal, ghostly fans--that you'll use to purchase reinforcements.

The RTS comparisons come in when you see that you (as Eddie) can order up more units mid-battle by literally popping up a rotary menu where you select and queue up the new troop types you want to bring into battle. The game has a rock-paper-scissors balance mechanic going on, with infantry dudes, ranged units, and other archetypes.

Of course, Schafer's brand of gleefully clever humor influences all these combat elements. Headbangers are your basic infantry, and they can do a special move called the mosh pit where they encircle Eddie and run around, bashing all the enemies that get in their way with their thick noggins. There's a special unit called the runaway who's basically a 15-year-old girl in a tight metal t-shirt who rides on Eddie's shoulders--just like all runaways do at concerts, right?

I feel inadequate writing about this stuff, because it's way funnier than I'm capable of conveying. Just trust me: if you've ever expunged your teenage angst to the strains of Iron Maiden or Slayer or Metallica, you'll click with this game's humor, bigtime.

What even needs to be said?
What even needs to be said?
And how do you get a handle on all this action, considering you can summon up to 40 troops to fight on your side at once? By taking to the skies. I can't exactly call this a spoiler, since EA is putting out screenshots of it: Eddie turns into a demon at some point via infernal poison. In gameplay terms, that gives him giant wings that lets him fly around during these big battles, letting him attack from the air but more importantly giving you a bird's-eye tactical view of the battle. Plus, Eddie looks pretty wicked and gnarly when he's all red and winged. (I'm pretty sure he'll revert back to human form in between battles, only sprouting those wings when it's convenient.)

The sky-high perspective is especially useful when you consider that you've got rudimentary control over the behavior of your rock minions. You can set beacons and have them move to them on command, as well as telling them to gather toward you and so forth.

The sample battle Schafer showed off was set against the forces of the foul General Lionwhyte, the leader of Eddie's enemy glam rockers voiced by Rob Halford. There's not much I can say about Lionwhyte that the included screenshot you see to the right there doesn't already say for itself. I do have to mention that he uses his hair like giant angel wings to fly around, which is pretty much hilarious whenever you see it in action.

Not to harp too much on the same point I made in my first look at this game, but I'm so pleased Brütal Legend looks like a game I really want to get my hands on and play, rather than simply a vehicle for Schafer's reliable hilarity (though it does seem to be that, too). We're hoping to get our mitts on the game ourselves at E3, so check back for more in early June.



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LiveOrDie1212

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Edited By LiveOrDie1212

such a long article for a potentially shitty game.

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CL60

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Edited By CL60
Brad said:


What even needs to be said?
What even needs to be said?


AWESOME!
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akelatal

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Edited By akelatal

I hope this is the game that brings Tim the commercial success he's always deserved. I also hope that the game will give us more of a color palette than just browns and reds -- that sort of thing gets tiring on the eyes after awhile.

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pissedoffthewitch

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As if this game could sound any better ?

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Captain_Fookup

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Edited By Captain_Fookup

Looks interesting, definitely will purchase it when it's released.

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ImperiousRix

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Edited By ImperiousRix

Cannot wait...

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Diamond

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Edited By Diamond

This game gets closer and closer to being GOTY 2009, that's what I'm expecting.  Hope it lives up to my expectations.

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mattbodega

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Edited By mattbodega
@LiveOrDie1212:  You're a potentially shitty game!
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Sharpshooter

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Edited By Sharpshooter

Ok so Jack Black's character eventually turns into a member of Lordi. After that, do you think there will be a quest or mission where you have to fight off waves of Eurovision song contest themed demons and the final boss is Terry Wogan? (Anyone from outside Europe, you probably don't have a clue who I'm on about do you?)

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zoozilla

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Edited By zoozilla

That.  Is.  Awesome.

Really can't wait to get my hands on this game.  Hopefully there's a demo.

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JTHomeslice

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Edited By JTHomeslice

I'm so excited for this game.

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ht101

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Edited By ht101

Can't wait to learn more about this game and see it in action.  It sounds so good and when you name a month Rocktober just for this game, then you know it has great potential.

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stuffy

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Edited By stuffy

you had me at Tim Schafer, but wow Tim Schafer RTS; there truly must be a god

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giyanks22

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Edited By giyanks22

Looks interesting...
I'll need to see a review though..

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mooseburger

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Edited By mooseburger

@LiveorDie1212:  That wasn't exactly what i'd call a long article.  And aren't all games potentially shitty?  why did you even post? why am i even posting?

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Edited By DannyJ

That picture of lionwyte made me laugh for so long. It's so perfect.

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Parsnip

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Edited By Parsnip

This will be fantastic.

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Edited By Relys
LiveOrDie1212 said:
"such a long article for a potentially shitty game. "

GTFO N00B!
GTFO N00B!

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addictedtopinescent

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Can't wait ! 

This game is getting better with every announcment or new information we get about it. 
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LiveOrDie1212

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Edited By LiveOrDie1212

ok, whatever guys. i'll LMFAO when the highest review score this game will get is a fuckin 6.9. lol.

but whatever, you fanboys can flame me all you want. it doesn't bother me one bit.

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Metroid545

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Edited By Metroid545

dude i'm so pumped for this game

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Edited By Relys
LiveOrDie1212 said:
"ok, whatever guys. i'll LMFAO when the highest review score this game will get is a fuckin 6.9. lol. but whatever, you fanboys can flame me all you want. it doesn't bother me one bit. "
Monkey island, day of the tentacle, grim fandango, and psychonauts.

Either your misinformed, or you have a poor taste in quality games.
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Metiphis

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Edited By Metiphis

Who said this was a potentially shitty game?!  Have you not heard of Tim Schafer?!   Learn some videogame history before you say stupid things.

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Edited By AnimaTronik

This looks better every time i see it.

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Edited By RHCPfan24

Wow, the more I hear about this game the better it seems. I am so glad it is coming out after all this time. Schafer deserves it.

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Teoball

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Edited By Teoball

I absolutely love Tim Schafer but have the exact opposite feeling toward RTS games. I'm gonna need a demo of this.

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matrix_hiei

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Edited By matrix_hiei

my most anticipated game of the year

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Edited By bybeach

 i don`t relate too well to this game because it`s just not my cultural experience. I`m probably wrong here (admittedly) but Euro -Death metal... Well I`m lost! Nor do I much care.

But the developer of Psychonauts, another game i did not play, I still do recognize through the haze (at least for another reason), as well as Grim Fandango and others. I wish him well, He (and they..) are doing the right damned thing whether I get it or not. Putting out quality in the past, and I bet soon also. Does sound like it.

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LiveOrDie1212

Is there any kind of explanation of your (obviously high-end) analysis that this game is going to be bad?

I'd like you to elaborate.
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Edited By unholyone123

Let us hope that Tim Schafer's new game actually lives up to the hype this time. *Gives Psychonauts the middle finger*     

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Edited By yoctoyotta

@LiveOrDie1212
I'm not usually one for blind faith, but everything Schafer has ever touched, ever, has been brilliant. Are you trolling, or do you have some actual criticism of the game based on what you've seen?

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Edited By Sarnecki

Lionwhyte made me LOL for about five minutes.

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maxszy

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Edited By maxszy

I don't really know what to expect from this.

I want to love it, and hope its fabulous for Tim's sake but its so... out there I guess. Which will make it awesome, or not so much.

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Edited By Bakaneko

Indeed, LiveOrDie1212, your extreme lack of caring is patently evident from the intense aura of casual disinterest you manage to project as you needlessly troll a story about a video game involving Jack Black and a fair amount of heavy metal. A subject that no doubt needed your acerbic and pithy wit applied to it. By the by, if this was your idea of a "long article" I might suggest its time to visit your local library and broaden your horizons a bit.

Nevertheless, to counter your argument, such as it is, if past performance is any indicator of future potential, which, for video games and their developers is a bit more valid than, say, economics, then Tim Schaefer will manage to confound your skepticism with alacrity.

As an aside, if the game did not pull in a "low score" but in fact proved itself worthy, managing to please those now anticipating it, would you weep anguished tears of bitterness at your failure of prognostication, or is your range of emotions limited to a rather tepid schadenfreude and feigned ennui to all opinions other than your own?

In the great game of double-dog-dare, pointless internet trolling, I believe it is your move now, good sir.

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Edited By ZombieHunterOG
YoctoYotta said:
"@LiveOrDie1212 I'm not usually one for blind faith, but everything Schafer has ever touched, ever, has been brilliant. Are you trolling, or do you have some actual criticism of the game based on what you've seen?"
no man hes a really crap troll 
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Edited By Spice

This game is sounding more and more awesome!

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deactivated-5c5cdba6e0b96

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LiveOrDie1212 said:
"such a long article for a potentially shitty game. "
I guess you could say that for any game not released yet.
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makari

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Edited By makari

Any game has the potential to be shitty.
It's kinda tough to attribute that to Shafer's pedigree, however.

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Edited By ElectricHaggis

The game seems better every time I read about it. 

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Edited By penguindust

I'm curious but not sold.  I'd like to see a hands-on video before I get too excited.  The RTS comparison makes me wonder if there will be way-point problems too often inherent to the genre.  Still, I am willing to give it a try since Schafer has such a positive reputation when crafting storylines and characters.

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Edited By Otacon

When I first heard about this game I thought it would probably be awful, now I can't wait!

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Edited By Drakulla

This game just looks cool

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Edited By snoopeasystreet

his is easily my most anticipated game this year. I'm not a fan of metal but god, the artstyle is so cool.

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Edited By Jimbo

Anybody else starting to get a Citizen Kabuto vibe from this game?  I am, and I think it can only be a good thing - I have very high hopes for this game.

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Edited By TheKidNixon

I'm still really stoked for this game, but the more and more I hear about it I worry that it won't have the commercial success it deserves. Yes, it is Jack Black, and yes, it is metalriffic which is hot right now. But the game play itself sounds...really unwelcoming to people who just play games somewhat casually. Compare this is to Psychonauts, a game I think had a brilliant setting and story and was my favorite game of the last generation. It was mechanically, however, pretty simple to get your head around, being a loose Mario 64 with additional powers.

I'm still excited about the game, but I'm also somewhat tempered. I'm not really an RTS fan, but I trust in Schafer to keep things accessible and approachable. Lets just hope there isn't an "All Metalheads" button to mash.

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Edited By KatieAB1

I love many gaming genres, and even genre-bender games like Omikron (action/adventure/fighting/FPS) or GTA (action/adventure/sim/driving/racing/flying/shooter). The only two genres that turn me off are Strategy and Platformer.


I’m very disappointed to have to say that the RTS aspects of combat are a serious turnoff. I have actually managed to complete 2 RTS games (and many other demos), but I didn’t have fun with any of them. RTS has just never been my thing. For my gaming tastes, RTS combat is too much “work” to be fun. I feel as though I should be paid a salary to work through it. I know I’m in the minority regarding the RTS combat, but this game has now been all but eliminated from my radar.


I am not a fan of platformers either, but I suffered through Psychonauts for several hours just because of Tim Schafer’s involvement. But I learned that even a great story (and Psychonauts made laugh hard) can’t make up for gameplay that doesn’t suit my interests.


I am definitely a fan of Tim Schafer and hard rock, so this gameplay choice for combat is indescribably disappointing.


Speaking of Tim Schafer, I find it odd that little mention (if any) is made about the game Full Throttle in relation to Brutal Legend. Full Throttle was designed and written by Tim Schafer and most closely ties in with the subject matter of Brutal Legend when compared to his other prominent game creations. I own and love the Monkey Island games, the Maniac Mansion games, and Grim Fandango (but long since sold Psychonauts). Why no love for Full Throttle?


Kate

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Edited By mracoon  Moderator
LiveOrDie1212 said:
"ok, whatever guys. i'll LMFAO when the highest review score this game will get is a fuckin 6.9. lol. but whatever, you fanboys can flame me all you want. it doesn't bother me one bit. "
Seeing as all his other games have been amazing I have no reason to believe that this will be bad. People who like Tim Schafer's games aren't fanboys they just like great games.