Tim Schafer has been in the gaming industry for two decades now with several critically acclaimed games under his belt. Unfortunately, his games never found the wide success in terms of sales as they did with the critics. Brutal Legend is the new game by Schafer’s Double Fine Productions and features Jack Black as the lead voice in a heavy metal inspired game. With the loyal Tim Schafer fanbase, Jack Black in a starring role, and EA throwing marketing dollars behind Brutal Legend, it seems all the elements for success are present. But with a fall lineup full of heavy hitter titles, can Brutal Legend make an impact as a new IP or is it just another Schafer sleeper hit?
Jack Black stars in Brutal Legend, voicing the greatest heavy metal roadie, Eddie Riggs. During a concert, the stage collapses on Eddie and blood drips on his cursed belt buckle which sends him into a heavy metal world full of demons. Eddie then meets up with Ophelia, Lars, and Lita who are starting a resistance movement against the evil Lord Doviculus, which Eddie is more than happy to lead in. The story might seem a little odd just reading it, but when playing it you’ll appreciate the story more as it goes on and the comedy in the writing will have you entertained that you’ll actually be interested in what is said. The main story will take about nine or ten hours to complete, but you can make the experience longer by trying out some of the side quest. They wont add much to the story but they’ll hold you back from completing it so quickly. Unfortunately, there’s not much variety when it comes to these side quest so they can get a little repetitive. Brutal Legend does have an open world so you can kill time driving around and unlocking stuff as well.
The gameplay in Brutal Legend is where some gamers might encounter their first flaw. Brutal Legend does have the normal hack and slash gameplay which lets you strain combos together but instead of swords, Eddie uses his Separator axe and Clementine guitar to rip apart his opponents. The hack and slash gameplay feels normal to what we’re use to, but Brutal Legend adds some RTS style gameplay as well. Many of the main story missions will play out with this RTS gameplay which takes place in a rather large arena. The stage battles play somewhat like a territories match, the objective being to infiltrate your enemies merchandise booth and stealing their fans which in return helps you add more units to the battlefield in order to destroy your opponents main stage. It’s a pretty cool idea to incorporate the whole concert background to the gameplay but it doesn’t make it fun, only more aggravating that I wish I could use my melee moves instead. Brutal Legend had a solid hack and slash style gameplay which wasn’t used as much as it should be due to the RTS style gameplay, which seemed a little tacked on in order for the game to have a multiplayer mode. Multiplayer plays identical to the RTS style found in the single player camping but adds the 4 on 4 competitiveness.
The graphics in Brutal Legend are solid and polished for what the game is trying to achieve visually. I did notice some minor clipping issues during cutscenes but it only happened once or twice. The art style is what makes Brutal Legend unique and great to look at. Everything and anything in this game with a pulse is intriguing to look at, especially when you notice how the heavy metal vibe fits every character and creature so perfectly.
The music in the game is comprised of over 100 heavy metal songs which fit the game well. I’m not a huge fan of the music myself so anyone who doesn’t like this genre of music don’t be so dismissive towards the game. Another major highlight in Brutal Legend is the voice work in this game. Again, I’m not a fan of Jack Black but he does a great job as Eddie Riggs. He makes the character very likable and delivers a comical performance, you can tell Jack Black was dedicated to deliver the same amount of humor that was on script. Jack Black is not the only famous face doing voice work in Brutal Legend, heavy metal legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Lemmy Kilmister, and more lend their voice. Now I would of never imagined Ozzy voicing a video game character so well but he pulls it off, matter of fact, everyone overall does a great job at it.
Brutal Legend is probably the most unique game this fall and that alone merits at least a try. The story and the humor are great and entertaining. The gameplay might not be what you want it to be or what you think it is, which was a real letdown for me. Even with weak gameplay, Brutal Legend offers a great time and a great game overall. Tim Schafer and Double Fine have another hit, now we just wait to see how everyone reacts to it.