Summer Backlog: Brutal Legend

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veektarius

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Edited By veektarius

So, I got to thinking: I should really stop fucking around with Cook, Serve Delicious, Total War: Rome 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire. I should start clearing out my Steam backlog. The first game I tried to take off my list was Bulletstorm. Well, it turns out that game doesn't work anymore because GFWL is down. It felt like cheating when I changed the category to my "done with" section, but now there's one less game on the list, and still plenty to go.

Alphabetically adjacent to this was Brutal Legend, another game I'd been holding onto for much too long. Have you ever had a game or a book you procrastinated finishing because you didn't want it to end? This was me with Brutal Legend, except instead of procrastinating the end, I was procrastinating the beginning. I knew that this strange convergence of heavy metal fandom and video games was doomed never to be repeated after its poor sales, and I somehow knew that I would both love what the game stood for while not loving what it was.

I think that most of the ink that needs to be spilled about this game already has been, so I won't talk about how the RTS section was underdeveloped and the character action was unsatisfying. I won't talk about how it feels like an act was stripped out of the game. I just want to talk about one thing - how fucking effective was all that metal they played in the background? When it wanted you to race, they put on some Motorhead or Megadeth and you wanted to race. When Ophelia drowned, they played Ozzy Osbourne and man, it was creepy (I wanted to link this video, but YouTube has blocked the audio on videos containing it). When you fought the second to last battle they played In Flames, and it was epic.

I want to give credit to the artists for what they did with the world. It was lovingly crafted, but funny in a glib way at best. I would go as far as to say the things that made this game enjoyable are 25% Jack Black and 75% the heavy metal they play in the background. It's so easy. And it seems like I may never get the chance to observe it at work again. Say what you will about Double Fine - the game they delivered was the game that they made, and no amount of cut content would have changed its mechanics. The real tragedy of Brutal Legend is that metal had its day in video games, and now, it seems, it is dead.

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AngeTheDude

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I loved the idea of this game. I love classic heavy metal so much and to see so many of my favorite icons and bands in one game was a joy. The tone and art direction of Brutal Legend won me over immediately. However, playing the game was a chore, as I hate playing RTS games and I wanted more of a heavy metal-themed Zelda game. I know that's a silly expectation but I was still disappointed by the half-baked gameplay. I didn't get far because I'm pretty dumb and couldn't win the first big RTS battle that the campaign throws at you.

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Baal_Sagoth

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#2  Edited By Baal_Sagoth

Yeah, being late to the party when the PC version finally released was bittersweet for me. Playing the last big budget Double Fine game long after that transition actually happened was surreal. Brütal Legend is definitely style over substance but I was quite content with that wealth of diverse, yet superficial, gameplay elements. I think I was less upset about the strategic stuff since I'm a huge PC strategy fan and from that perspective I didn't really take that stuff very seriously to begin with. That was more an enjoyable delivery method for the theme (which worked very well I thought) and an excuse to design all those whacky metal archetypes.

I even did every single optional thing in that game since I was perfectly happy cruising around that badass world, blasting an ever increasing number of lovingly chosen songs. I actually really fucking like Brütal Legend. It's second only to Psychonauts which pretty much does a similar thing: all the creativity and more variety than seems sane for a developer packed into one game with gameplay that's just polished and interesting enough to carry it all.

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jaqen_hghar

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#3  Edited By jaqen_hghar

I'm one of those who loved every second of it. I thought the RTS battles was fun, I liked the combat and the driving. The story was cool, the characters even more so. And the music... perfect icing on the cake. And the environment! Damn, I drove/rode around just looking at the scenery. With great music blasting from the speakers. Or not if I was riding a mammoth or something.

The "Ophelia drown" scene was perfect, so glad you reminded me of that! But yeah, it did feel like a chapter was cut out, which is my one and only gripe with the game. Maybe my standards aren't as high as other people.

Also, I think this game has had the most believable and touching "couple in love" moment of any video game. Hell, it puts a lot of movies to shame as well in my opinion. Kinda spoilers if you haven't beaten the game I guess:

Loading Video...

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Christoffer

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#4  Edited By Christoffer

That's funny. I cleared out both Bulletstorm and Brutal Legend from my backlog this year. But, if I remember correctly, I bought them cheap in the last winter sales so I wasn't procrastinating for that long.

On top of having a few half-baked features, Brutal Legend hasn't aged very well in general. But it was in development for a long time so I shouldn't really be surprised that the combat feels like a janky God of War -clone, guess that was the hot business back then.

Edit: And I guess Jack Black's metal revival -schtick was hot also.

I can't really remember anything from Bulletstorm. Style points and rail segments. That's all.

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Pezen

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I loved Brütal Legend. If it wasn't for the tedious RTS sections (they weren't as bad as I make it sound, but I wouldn't mind skipping them) I would love to just blast through that game once in a while just for the atmosphere. I think if I am to pick a specific scene in the game that I felt like they just nailed a feeling, it was the moment you walk through a fog filled canyon to get to the metal spider queen to the sounds of Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee. Just fantastic. But the game is just an awesome tribute to metal in every way.

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veektarius

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@pezen said:

I loved Brütal Legend. If it wasn't for the tedious RTS sections (they weren't as bad as I make it sound, but I wouldn't mind skipping them) I would love to just blast through that game once in a while just for the atmosphere. I think if I am to pick a specific scene in the game that I felt like they just nailed a feeling, it was the moment you walk through a fog filled canyon to get to the metal spider queen to the sounds of Brocas Helm - Cry of the Banshee. Just fantastic. But the game is just an awesome tribute to metal in every way.

At the same time as I didn't particularly care for the RTS parts, the actual stage battles themselves had some of the best combinations of metal and gameplay. As a guy with fairly broad tastes in the genre, I loved hearing them throw in some hair metal, some black metal and some speed metal at appropriate points. I can't imagine how dull that gameplay would have been without any music. With it, those stages felt tense and urgent.

That's all I'm really trying to say here. Games should use more metal!

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ThunderSlash

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Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

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veektarius

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Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

All I can tell you is that the launcher gave me a compatibility error and wouldn't do anything past that. I had a similar problem with DoW 2, but they had a beta patch that made it compatible with Steamworks. Didn't see anything like that for Bulletstorm and nothing useful came up on Google either. Be glad to hear if this is wrong, though.

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Krataur

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#9  Edited By Krataur

I picked up and played the 360 version a few years ago. While the RTS segments were the weakest part, they weren't THAT bad, and overall I really enjoyed the game.

The Ophelia drowning scene gave me chills when I first saw it.

"....Mr. Crowley!"

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Rowr

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#10  Edited By Rowr

O hell yeh, the music combined with the artistic imagery in this game is amazing.

The game is totally fine, not amazing by any means. I'm a believer of the 3D tower defense RTS and have been since Sacred (the greatest game of all time), everyone else at the time of this games release seemed to treat the fact that this was an RTS as if the game was diseased from the beginning without even understanding why. (Most of the market at the time were console kids and mindless action games were the order of the day while anything with any sort of "complicated" pc roots was shunned. The poor control didn't help)

I was of the understanding some of it was improved on PC controlwise, can you confirm this? I kind of mean to play through this again one day.

I'd also recommend trying again with Bulletstorm if you get the opportunity, its quite similar to this game in the way that it was shunned on release (though for opposite reasons) due to the video game hipster movement of the time that was all anti big guys with guns. It's dumb awesome fun and has some great set pieces.

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mbradley1992

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I'm glad you enjoyed it, OP. I turned it off after the RTS stuff started. I didn't like Overworld, and I didn't like Brutal Legend for it. But the music and art direction were really good.

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veektarius

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@rowr: I played on a controller, so I can't speak to whether the PC version had better controls for micromanaging units. I didn't really have any trouble with the RTS sections though. I fucked up the last two missions once then realized what I had to do and got em the second time. I just didn't think they were particularly good.

As for Bulletstorm, I'm totally down to play it, I'm just not sure how one would on a PC right now.

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csl316

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Loved it, and the RTS twist was a nice surprise to me.

As a metalhead, this was one of my favorite experiences. It's not on my top games list or anything, but it'll always have a special place for me.

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Tordah

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I really loved the game. I think it got a lot of unfair criticism for the RTS elements, which worked just fine. I played through the game with a controller on the hardest difficulty, and even then I didn't run into too much trouble until the very end, and I've always considered myself bad at RTS games. I can understand it not being everyone's cup of tea though.

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Corevi

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Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

There are ways of playing it, but without resorting to those it is unplayable.

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veektarius

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@thunderslash said:

Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

There are ways of playing it, but without resorting to those it is unplayable.

Are these ways too illegal to share on these boards?

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Corevi

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@corruptedevil said:
@thunderslash said:

Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

There are ways of playing it, but without resorting to those it is unplayable.

Are these ways too illegal to share on these boards?

Unfortunately so.

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ThunderSlash

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@veektarius said:
@corruptedevil said:
@thunderslash said:

Is it true that Bulletstorm is unplayable now? I bought that a while back on Steam and this information is a bit unsettling.

There are ways of playing it, but without resorting to those it is unplayable.

Are these ways too illegal to share on these boards?

Unfortunately so.

Damn. Why are they even still selling this on Steam?