Developer: Double Fine
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Pros: Hilarious voice work and dialogue, unique worlds, fitting soundtrack, relatively enjoyable multiplayer, loads of collectibles
Cons: Targeting can be a pain, repetitive side missions, no custom map markers, curse of the basic RTS on a console, Pretty easy even on Brutal difficulty
Tim Schafer is well known for providing games with unique story and hilarious dialogue. It comes to no surprise that after the completion of Psychonauts, he would have to follow with something just as enjoyable. Taking a step from the Teen rating into Mature territory, Brutal Legend was born. A love letter to any fan of metal, the game proves to be an enjoyable experience fans of Schafer and gamers alike can appreciate.
Schafer never fails in delivering a story that keeps you interested. The characters you come across and worlds you explore are never dull. The plot takes its occasional turn just when you think you know what will happen next. The story of the world you have come to inhabit is expanded by the Legend statues you find scattered across the world. These are actually very well done and work to explain why the world is in this chaotic state as well as expand on key figures frequently mentioned.
The true highlight of the game proved to be the voicework by the main cast. Jack Black provides a hilarious performance as Eddie Riggs, truly fitting of the character. Jennifer Hale (Bastilla from KotOR) also delivers as the female role of Ophelia. Schafer even managed to nab Tim Curry for the role of Doviculus, the antagonist. He also assembled numerous metal icons such as Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, Rob Halford, and Lemmy Kilmister. As nice as it is to have them on board with this project, a few performances fall flat in comparison to others.
The soundtrack to the game is as impressive as the voice casting. Over one hundred different metal songs were chosen for the soundtrack, and prove more than entertaining when they cue up. Certain songs are unlocked by raising Relics and others unlocked as you progress through the campaign. Songs range from "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard to "Progenies of the Great Apocalypse" by Dimmu Borgir. With such a large variety, you're sure to find your favorites to play over and over as you drive through the worlds.
Character Models resemble the cartoon style that Psychonauts portrayed. Not giving an incredibly rendered figure, but one that delivers facial expressions that are on point. Coupled with the cartoon look, this boosts the hilarity of character interaction and makes you reminisce to a day of morning cartoons....except this time with blood and the language of Tarintino film. Bosses are quite a sight, especially the chrome spider queen's metallic luster.
The environments you explore are truly a sight to behold. Every metal album cover you can think of is portrayed in the various lands, ranging from gigantic swords plunged into the ground to trees with eyeballs gazing as you pass them. Little things like chrome pipes for trees and freeing headbangers from "The Pitt" all add to make the game even more enjoyable. Though you lack finding any pre-rendered cut scenes or incredibly detailed pieces, the overall cartoon look and feel of the game make up for it.
After completing missions, side missions, or gathering collectibles you earn fire tributes from the metal gods. These can be spent at Metal Forges to upgrade your abilities. These range from new weapons to vehicle upgrades. You can also purchase Mt Rockmore faces of various characters...which have absolutely no point other than to have your favorite characters on the side of a mountain. Generally most of the basic upgrades require little participation in side missions to obtain, but if you really want the upper hand you're going to have to do a little collecting.
Despite its few flaws, Brutal Legend still delivers a truly fun experience. You don't have to be a fan of metal to enjoy the humor of the game. Though the RTS element takes some time to get used to, the campaign holds your interest long enough to keep you playing and the multiplayer proves to be enjoyable. It is not quite as entertaining to me as Psychonauts was, Brutal Legend comes pretty close. The uniqueness of the world and hilarious characters hold up nicely, but the gameplay just felt a bit lacking. A game still worth your time and as Jack Black so eloquently puts: 'You can't kill the metal, the metal will live on.'