We are now in the fall season; which means gamers wallets are going to be getting pretty light. Uncharted 2 received a glowing review from us, but it’s not the only anticipated game releasing soon. Brutal Legend, the latest game by gaming legend Tim Schafer releases on the same day as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Brutal Legend has had quite an interesting history, all of which have helped drum up tons of hype around the game. Though the question remains, does it live up to the hype surrounding it?
Let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOts of Brutal Legend.
Story is OK
Unlike Uncharted, the story in Brutal Legend is not going to win any awards. This is a comedy through and through, so don’t expect anything super epic or emotional. The story revolves around Eddie Riggs, once a mere roadie for a band, now thrust into a world where demons have enslaved all of humanity. It’s up to Eddie and his awesome axe to take down the demons and restore peace to this metal inspired world. The storyline is mostly played for laughs, and there are plenty of genuinely funny moments here. If this game is nothing else, it’s damn funny.
Unlike it’s main competition, Brutal Legend offers a very immersive and fully open world, similar to Grand Theft Auto. The open world allows for tons of exploration and sandbox gameplay. The game is mission based, allowing players to take on story missions or side missions whenever they want. This open-ended gameplay helps keep things fresh and helps cut back on the linear gameplay, it also helps that there’s a lot to do in this world.
Solo Performances are done to summon legions of headbangers or Eddie’s trusty car. At certain points in the game, Eddie will have to have one of these performances just to stay alive, either by bringing out headbangers or using his patented facemelter attack. It’s a funny and unique way of using what is essentially this game’s version of magic.
The soundtrack is awesome. There are a lot of great rock and heavy metal tunes created just for this game, all of which sound phenomenal and will please any headbanger out there.
Surprisingly, Brutal Legend offers some pretty intense strategy in it’s gameplay. Sure, this game won’t be giving Command and Conquer a run for it’s money, but for an action game the strategy is very well done. Eddie can control different types of minions such as headbangers and razor girls. You can give various commands to them, which is crucial later in the game. It’s a nice twist and helps keep the action from becoming tiresome, plus who hasn’t wanted to control their own legion of loyal headbangers?
The Multiplayer is also well done, and while it won’t be taking anyone away from Modern Warfare, it is fun and does add some extra playtime to this game. It does offer a pretty unique multiplayer game called stages. In this game each team gets it’s own stage, and the goal is to destroy the other team’s stage first. Thankfully, there’s a practice mode that allows you to play the multiplayer games against computer controlled bots, so you can brush up and learn the basics of the multiplayer games before jumping online.
This game won’t be topping Uncharted in the visuals department, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good. Brutal Legend has a style all to itself, and the cartoony look works perfect here. The metal inspired world is lush and full of life and is a great environment for a game. Brutal Legend is proof positive that you don’t need state of the art graphics to look good.
For all its positives, the constant glitching really brings the overall game down. While playing I experienced tons of slowdowns, screen tearing, and even full on freezing. Being an open world game, there’s constant data being loaded from the disc. Unfortunately, this often causes freezing which can become very cumbersome. Installing the game may help, but for those who can’t there’s little that can be done to rectify this problem. I should say I experienced this on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 version.
This game is fun and it has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, at it’s core it is a hack and slash and thus falls into the trap that so many games in this genre do, it gets boring. After a while the hack and slash gameplay will wear on you, and even the strategy elements will grow stale. The game has a lot going for it, but it loses it’s charm as the player progresses and by the end just feels like another dime a dozen action game. Honestly, the only thing that keeps this game apart from the others of it’s type is the great writing and music inspired world.
Overall, Brutal Legend has a lot of style but lacks a bit in the substance department. It’s funny, fun, and a totally unique game, but it’s gameplay can’t stand up to games like Uncharted 2 or Modern Warfare 2. Fans of Tim Schafer and Jack Black will appreciate the metal inspired world and great sense of humor here. For fans this is a no brainer, for everyone else, you may want to give it a rental first.
[Editor’s Note: Brutal Legend was reviewed on a Xbox 360 platform.]