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Brütal Legend

By Fr33Lanc3r.00709-03-2013
Bis18marck70 (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Brütal Legend

The Defence

Double Fine
Double Fine
Strategy, Adventure, Action
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel i5 2.5 GHz
AMD FX 3.5 GHz
Nvidia GeForce 650
AMD Radeon HD 7850
2 GB
8 GB

The Case


Brütal Legend is a game by Tim Schafer and the blokes at Double Fine; and if you don’t know either of those names I would ask that you close your web browser, find Psychonauts on Steam, buy it, and while it’s downloading beat yourself with a week old fish. For those of you not receiving their just punishment, Brütal Legend was originally released for the consoles in late 2009 but has recently been given a bit more polish and offered to the PC gamers. There are some who would say, better late than never, but would it be better to have never received Brütal Legend on the PC?

The Trial


Brütal Legend is a game about Heavy Metal. Those of you who don’t like hearing epic solos and awesome riffs should probably stop reading now and find something that reflects your hatred for the epic and awesome - maybe Fish Tycoon. For those of us who joined arms as disciples of the metal faith, Brütal Legend features environments inspired by a collection of famous metal CD covers, named characters inspired by, or modeled after, the big names in classic metal and the soundtrack is entirely handpicked from the collection by the kind of person who would argue about which guitarist played the most incredible shredding solo to no end. Which isn’t a bad thing. People who do really love metal will enjoy picking out the references that are aplenty in this game and those who don’t know much about metal will at least be treated to a selection of amazingly rocking music. But enough about the setting, let’s get us a look at the story.

I feel there should be a hitchhiking joke here.

I feel there should be a hitchhiking joke here.

In Brütal Legend you take on the role of Eddie Riggs, Hardcore Metal fan and roadie to a ‘Metal’ band that doesn’t know the first thing about what Metal really is. After a colossal accident that results in Eddie getting squashed by part of the stage, he accidentally opens a portal that transports him to the Age of Metal - a time where men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri...wait, wrong story...small furry creatures are large, dangerous and simply put, epic (case in point, a panther that shoots frickin lasers from it’s eyes!). It is an age where humanity is being oppressed by demonic forces and the human resistance is in desperate need of someone to organise and prepare them for the battles ahead. In short, it’s an age that needs a Roadie above anything else.

Shortly after arriving in the Age of Metal, Eddie finds himself caught up in the battle for humanity’s freedom. He helps to build an army, giving them the name ‘Ironheade’, and march on the fortress of one General Lionwhyte, a human traitor. This marks the first encounters with the Strategy elements of Brütal Legend. Setting up a Megastage, from which you can request additional units, you learn the arts of pleasing fans (which brings in resources), and how to direct your forces, and go on to destroy Lionwhyte’s Glam Metal faction, marking a great victory for taste and common sense.

Following this the story seems rushed, introducing new factions out of nowhere, and concluding by wrapping up a couple of plot threads in some cutscenes, after which you enter the sandbox overworld to get 100% completion. Which is disappointing because Brütal Legend is full of Tim Schafer genius that made Psychonauts so brilliant, the character and units are quirky and charming in their own way, the voice acting is brilliant, especially from the members of cast who don’t normally do that kind of work - Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister and Rob Halford in particular - and their dialogue - both in direct conversation, and as background chatter - is masterfully written. For some reason though all of it is packed into a story that in retrospect seems to only exist as an extended tutorial for the multiplayer.

Sometimes I'm scared of being Ozzy Osbourne, but it could have been worse - I could have been Sting.

Sometimes I'm scared of being Ozzy Osbourne, but it could have been worse - I could have been Sting.

Speaking of the Multiplayer, it isn’t bad if you like that sort of thing, even though it’s just the strategic ‘stage battles’ from the single player. You have the option of controlling the Humans, Undead or Demon forces, and your objective is to tear down your opponent’s stage. The levels are all taken from the single player locations and retain that metal album cover inspiration with each faction having their own soundtrack that plays during the battles. Strategy wise, however, in the strategic battles you don’t need to do much more than amass units, attack and repeat it all with different units. It has been said that at higher levels in multiplayer, you have to use more advanced tactical skills, but outside of that, build and charge works well enough. It is really nice, however, to be able to participate in the fighting though, working alongside your troops as a front line general, rather than a coward commanding things from orbit. You control your forces the same way that you would control your squad in a tactical shooter, with the simple commands being: ‘Gather 'round, me warriors!’; ‘Defend this pile of crap with your very lives!’; and ‘Everything in that general direction must die’. On a more complicated level you can single out specific units for specific tasks, set waypoints, and double team with units (which makes them more powerful, but sacrifices your ability to control the battlefield).

Controlling your avatar, Eddie in the single player, and faction dependant in multiplayer, is simple, and has some tight controls. It follows the simple method of left mouse to use the axe, right mouse to use your guitar, with power decided by how long you hold the button. There are some unlockable combos, but not many nor do they need to be used in order to progress. The biggest contribution you make to the combat tends to be through the use of guitar solos, special tunes that are played on the keyboard Guitar Hero style, and provide some benefit to battle, buffing your troops, setting build rally points, or demoralizing enemies.

The solo to summon your car brings up the biggest issue I have with Brütal Legend - the driving is incredibly broken. For a game with a lot of timed driving sections, or sections calling for precision and finesse behind the wheel, the cars are overturning, hard to control messes. It’s not as bad in the overworld or in multiplayer where there are wide open spaces for you to drive in, but when you’re expected to drive through tight corridors with sharp turns on a timer, you’ll probably damage a few keyboards in frustration.

Hang on, how drunk did I get last night?

Hang on, how drunk did I get last night?

The visuals in game are awesome, the art style is similar to Schafer’s earlier Psychonauts, except with less crazy people’s minds and more fields of stone arms throwing up the horns. Each unit seems to be lovingly designed, and the main characters are instantly recognisable on the battlefield, with special mention going to the characters modeled after the greats of metal, who both look and feel like their human counterparts. Bright areas felt bright without suffering from unnecessary bloom, and the darker, moodier areas were never so dark that it became impossible to see what was going on.

The Verdict


Ultimately, Brütal Legend is a fun game. It’s got a great soundtrack, the setting is wonderful and gives off some great visuals. The story, despite its flaws, is engaging, and does serve to make a good tutorial for the multiplayer which seems to have a good amount of community interest at the moment. Despite the issues with vehicle handling and the overall lack of depth in the strategy, Brütal Legend is a worthy title for the PC, and comes heartily recommended.

Case Review

  • Brilliant Soundtrack: And that’s coming from someone that has never been well acquainted with Metal.
  • Good Visuals: For a setting that involves imagery taken straight from Heavy Metal albums, it looks bloody beautiful.
  • Story: It’s not bad, but it feels rushed. With a little more time it could have been great.
  • Humour: Same boat as the story - could have been better if there was more of it to go around.
  • Interesting Blend of Genres: Though the strategy wasn’t really strategic enough.
  • Very Broken Driving: When your level design calls for precision driving, and your vehicle controls don’t - you have a problem.
Score: 4/5
Brütal Legend is full of Tim Schafer’s genius but for some reason it’s packed into a story that exists just as a multiplayer tutorial
Comments (1)
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Posts: 237

I love the game! :) I think its brilliant! :D