Brutal Legend is an interesting title and, for some, is one of the more anticipated titles of the year. It is made by Double Fine Productions and Tim Schafer who is definitely not a stranger to gamers. In Brutal Legend you assume the role of a roadie named Eddie Riggs. While working at a concert some events transpire that cause you to bleed. As blood runs down your body it rolls over your demonic belt buckle and the blood seems to “wake up” the belt buckle which then proceeds to transfer you to another world, where the game will take place.
Brutal Legend is a mixed bag and I say that in a good way. This title takes a bunch of different genres and smashes them together and it actually works. If you choose to do some of the secondary missions there is some racing, some melee combat, some shooting and some hunting that you will do. The game itself is an open world title where you can choose to just go through the main storyline or just fool around in the world and search for what is hidden. As you travel through the world you will come across some serpent statues that are bound and gagged. There are 120 of them in the world and you will get a stat increase with every ten that you release. You will also get achievements for finding 40, 80 and all 120 statues in the world. There are also thirteen locations in the world where you can listen to the legends of the land, which will give you some backstory. This is an interesting story mechanic and it helps to give context to not only what you are doing but some of your own personal history as well.
In addition to the game modes that I briefly spoke about above, there is also some real time strategy elements throughout this title as well. For really big battles there will be two stages set up with one being yours and the other one, obviously, being your opponents. You need to take over various locations during the battle so that you can build merchandise booths for your fans, which will make them happy and will have them helping you out. It’s a really simplistic resource gathering mechanic, however, it works pretty well. As you get more fans, you can then acquire a bigger army. In these battles your fans are your currency so if you have 1,000 fans and you need 500 to upgrade your stage then you can spend the 500 fans to research the upgraded stage and perform the action. The game works similar to Halo Wars with the radial dial that is used to select your different options. Once you spend the fans don’t worry because you get a continuous stream of fans, as long as you are controlling the resource points instead of your opponent. Even if you have lost the resourse points though you will still have a steady trickle of fans. It will just be substantially smaller than your opponent and will allow him to amass a huge army to come and destroy your stage. You can command your troops from either the ground or the sky. If you don’t want to fight then you can simply fly around and order your troops to do your bidding. However, if you want to fight alongside them, or if it looks like they need help, you can go back down to the ground and take out the enemies yourself. Being able to do both introduces some cool strategic elements as you can fly ahead and scout your opponent while your army is being created back at the base. This is also the multiplayer component of the game where you battle it out with up to seven other people to see who can create the best army to take down their opponent’s base.
As you progress through the game you will learn various solo songs that Eddie can play on his guitar. One of the songs is a battle cry which will “awaken the spirits of the weary to fight more fiercely for you in combat.” Another song will melt the face faces of nearby foes with another bringing a huge, flaming zepplin to crash at your feet, doing huge amounts of damage to enemies in the blast radius. There are twelve solos to learn in the game and you can learn them by investigating a music chart whenever you see one in the world. As you are driving through the world you will also come across some areas where there is metal coming out of the ground surrounded by red roses. You will want to use your guitar to raise these metal structures which will gain you some fire tributes, among other things. Fire tributes are the currency in the game and can be used to to upgrade your ride, weaponry and much more. Once you have raised a structure called a “Motor Forge” you can visit them at any time where Ozzy Osbourne will help you upgrade as long as you have pleased the metal gods and have the fire tributes to prove it.
All of this sounds really cool and for the most part it is, however, the game does have some issues. First off the side missions are incredibly repetitive. You will get tired of doing these quickly and I wouldn’t really reccommend going through all of them unless you are trying to fully upgrade, get 100% in the game or want to unlock the achievements. By far the most annoying side missions were the hunting missions. In these missions you are trying to break someones record of killing a certain number of a specific animal. So with one of the missions the hunter has killed five cougars and you have to break his record by killing six of them. The problem is that these cougars are generally only in one part of the world and you don’t necessarily know which part of the world they inhabit. So you might be driving all around the world trying to find this one specific enemy and it seems like whenever you are hunting for them those particular enemies become really rare, so it could take you a little bit to break the guys record.
The dialogue can also be really repetitive here as well. Every time you participate in an ambush mission or something similar you will hear the same thing over and over again. It would have been nice to hear something different every so often. For everything cool that you can do in the game, for some inexplicable reason, Eddie can’t jump. This resulted in me getting stuck in the environment on more than one occasion which resulted in me having to load up my last checkpoint. This can get incredibly frustrating very quickly and if this happens too much to someone they might just give up and go on to a different game. I also noticed some slowdown from time to time as I was traveling throughout the world. It didn’t happen often and it didn’t affect the gameplay at all, however, it was definitely noticeable when it did happen.
It should also be noted that even with these issues I kept coming back to the game to see what would happen next. In the grand scheme of things these complaints are pretty minor as this game is a whole lot of fun. When most companies try to mix a bunch of different genres into one title it usually results in a complete mess. Double Fine did a fantastic job of balancing it here though and everyone should find something to like in this title, regardless of their favorite genre. The casting on this game was perfect as Jack Black, Ozzy Osbourne and others put on a great performance. The game doesn’t have the deepest storyline you will encounter in a game, however, there are some twists and turns that will leave you wondering what is going to happen next. Gamers have waited a long time to try this title out and it looks like it was worth the wait. I would definitely reccommend trying this game out. There are definitely some fantastic moments in this title that you won’t want to miss out on.