PS3 Reviews: Brutal Legend Review

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Brutal Legend Review

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Replay Value:



Online Gameplay:



Overall Rating:       8.9




Electronic Arts


Double Fine

Number Of Players:

1 (8 Online)



Release Date:

October 13, 2009

I have no doubt in my mind that Activision, well, Bobby Kotick is kicking himself hard for letting go of an IP like Brutal Legend. The man who is obsessed with pummeling successful franchises into the ground until they are no longer cared about thought Brutal Legend would flop, and so he cut the game from Activision's lineup when the Vivendi and Activision merger occurred. Wrong move, sir. Soon after getting axed (hehe, pun!), EA picks it up and the game gains massive hype over the coming months. Activision gets pissy and claims they still have rights to it (which they didn't), and decide to sue. Tim Schafer, who many have looked at as a genius in need of wide recognition to the mainstream, is probably pulling his hair out from all of this drama and we don't blame him. On top of that, he also had to make the pretty tough decision of letting Ronnie James Dio off the project as a voice actor, and replacing him with Tim Curry. But, never worry, through all the mass hysteria, Activision got nothing but a minor settlement out of their suit, and EA was successfully able to launch Schafer's biggest and most ambitious project to date with no disruption. And the world is a better place for it...

The story follows our hero Eddie Riggs, a roadie who suffers a huge accident during a concert. Blood drips down into his belt buckle, which turns out to be a mysterious amulet representing Ormagöden, the Fire Beast, Cremator of the Sky, and Destroyer of the Ancient World." So Eddie's blood activates the belt buckle and awakens this massive beast that, after a hilarious scene of slaughter not involving Eddie, transports him into another world. In this world, beings and creatures are enslaved by a man name General Lionwhyte. From here on, you meet the game's cast of characters one by one. And I must say, the rest of the story is absolutely fantastic and hilarious.

What's really cool about Brutal Legend is that many of the characters you meet actually look like famous rock gods. For starters, I'll get the obvious out of the way: Lemmy Killmeister's Kill Master character and Ozzy Osbourne's The Guardian of Metal are both modeled directly after their respective voice actors (I'm sure you've seen this in screenshots by now). But what about the other characters? Well, Lionwhyte is basically David Bowie, Lars is based on Dave Mustaine (someone please tell me they see the awesome irony in that!), The Baron is Rob Halford (he is also voiced by him), and in some strange way, Doviculus reminds me of Dave Grohl (my all-time biggest rock God). You see a ton of metal references all throughout the game, from obvious statements made during the dialogue to scenery in the background, and everything in between, there's ton of things to spot and here.

Now, let's move onto the gameplay. First and foremost, you're equipped with two axes: a real one, and a figurative one (the guitar). This is a hack n' slash action game where you primarily use your axe for physical attacks and the guitar for magic-based attacks. Of course you also know that there is vehicle usage in the game, and thankfully the vehicle control is well done and not loosey-goosey as it tends to be in other action games, plus there is quite a bit of room for open-world exploration, as your game world is huge. Furthermore, your vehicle, The Deuce, can be used as a full-fledged weapon, as you can customize it by purchasing and attaching weaponry on it - that really comes in handy.

The switching of both weapons happens on the fly, think Devil May Cry, albeit not quite the same level of intensity. But you are limited to the amount of times you can use your guitar, as it overheats, so you'll have to wait a little bit until it cools down. When you first use your guitar attacks, you unleash lighting bolts on your enemies, but much like your axe and vehicle, you'll be allowed to upgrade the guitar too. Solos range in use, and most of them are used to accomplish certain tasks such as raising relics, acquiring a following, calling your car to appear, and so forth. Entering solos requires you to simply dial in a string of buttons in a timed sequence.

Now, I noticed something odd about these solos...something struck me as awfully familiar. When I performed the very first solo you gain (The Relic Raiser), I said to myself "hold on a second...I've heard that little bit somewhere before." And almost immediately, it hit me, the little segment of sweep-picking that Eddie plays in the game is none other than the beginning of the first solo from Judas Priest's "Painkiller" (refer 2:10 into the song). It seemed way too coincidental to not be, and since Rob Halford is involved with the game, my theory made sense. So I asked an EA rep and he had confirmed that K.K. Downing (guitarist of Judas Priest) worked on the guitar sounds and segments of the game. The more I played, and the more solos I earned, the more similarities to actual Judas Priest solos I discovered. So there you have it: more reasons why Brutal Legend is awesome.

The action here is nothing short of fun. But don't think for one second that you're all alone here on this adventure. Oh, no.  Similar to Overlord, or even Nintendo's Pikmin, Brutal Legend lets you control an army of characters decked out in metal gear such as, Headbangers, Roadies, Runaways, Fire Barons, Bouncers, and more. Each character has his/her own unique ability. For instance, Roadies carry massive amps on their backs and crank them up to activate ear pulsing feedback in order to eliminate enemies. Runaways are rocker-chicks who wield flamethrowers as they ride on a character's shoulder. Bouncers and Headbangers work similarly, as they're both melee fighters. And Fire Barons create rings of fire with their choppers and trap enemies in them.

You can team up with any of the crew for a special team attack, all of which are different depending on who you've selected to team up with. You can have an assortment of followers with you and use all sorts of different special team attacks one after another. Also, you aren't limited to just fighting with just teams of fighters, but you can also fight along side characters such as Ophelia, Kill Master, Lars, and Lita. No matter which characters are alongside of you, you can control their actions by telling them to attack, follow, halt, or defend.

There is also a multiplayer mode in the game, that's got heavy elements of strategy involved with the hack n' slash action. The multiplayer basically takes the battle segments from the single-player story mode and allows you to experience them against another player controlled team. There are three teams to choose from, lead by three different leaders (one of which includes Ironheade led by Riggs). Each team has its strengths and weaknesses, as you'd expect, and all teams feature numerous different types combatants. A total of eight can compete across seven different battlefields. The online is certainly fun stuff, but I doubt you'll be playing it a whole lot.

Now, as great as Brutal Legend is sounding, it's not all gravy. For starters, despite what others may think, not having a jump button is still a let down. Numerous times I anxiously pressed a button in order to get the hell out of a sticky situation, only to remember that I can't jump. Also, the combat can feel clunky many times, as the mechanics don't feel very refined. This leads me to a few control issues I've experienced. The combat can get pretty hectic at times, and it's unfortunate that I cannot change the direction of my attacks immediately, since I've often found myself getting attacked from numerous sides, but could not return the favor since the controls aren't as responsive as other action games.

As far as the game engine is concerned, Brutal Legend runs on pretty acceptable code. Brutal Legend may not be dripping with insane technology and graphical prowess, but it does boast character and a personality with its distinct cartoon visuals, and that's the goal. Furthermore, the game's animation was done by a former animation lead over at Pixar, and it shows during the cut-scenes. Texture detail is pretty simplistic, again, to convey the look of a cartoon as opposed to anything else. But there are some nice lighting cues and special effects, that's for sure. Though I must mention that when you're out and about in the game free-roaming, you will notice framerate hitches, which can be irritating sometimes. There's also a good deal of pop-up and some slight screen tearing. As I said before, the graphics are good overall, but not exactly what I'd call mind-blowing. Brutal Legend's aesthetic appeal lies in its amazing art direction and personality.

By now we all know that Brutal Legend features a massive roster of talent, some from Hollywood, many from the rock world, and others who are voice over vets, such as Jennifer Hale (Metal Gear Solid). Rob Halford takes on the roles of Lionwhyte and The Baron, Tim Curry is Doviculus, Jack Black is Eddie Riggs, Jennifer Hale is Ophelia, Ozzy Osbourne is The Guardian of Metal, Lita Ford is Rima, and the list just goes on. What you need to know is that not only is the voice acting sensational, but so is the freaking soundtrack! I would seriously pay good money to buy this compilation of amazing work all as one set. Unfortunately, EA was only able to secure a license that allowed them to use the songs in the game and not publish them in a compilation. Regardless, I guess I'll have to do some manual labor, accumulate and burn every one of the 108 songs through my Rhapsody or iTunes account.

And so I bring to an end another massive review. I hope you haven't strained your eyes reading it, but Brutal Legend is simply that awesome. Crazy thing is that I probably could've mentioned a few more things that I totally forgot about. But regardless, Brutal Legend was well worth the wait. It may not have the polish of a game like Metal Gear Solid, but it sure does do almost everything else right, and that counts for something. Also, even though the core story is shorter than 10 hours, there are still a number of side-quests to accomplish, adding to the replay value a good bit. My hats go off to Double Fine for a job well done.

10/13/2009 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (34 posts)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 3:44:12 AM

hmm i heard it only takes about 6 hours to complete....

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 4:15:19 AM

Something around there. I'm just saying that 10 is sort of the minimal benchmark, I guess. Which is weird, considering how years ago 10 was short.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 9:28:11 PM


That is true. Must be a buncha teenagers that thumbed you down because I remember a game could last you weeks...

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Banky A
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 3:52:28 AM

Sound only a 10?

It should be cranked up to 11!

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Banky A
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 4:31:28 AM

I mean, why not put it up to 11?

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 4:49:16 AM

i just picked up uncharted 2 a few hours ago, by the end of the week i am sure i will have picked this up as well. i already would have if i had the money. i got the special game case shaped like an old school record album so i want this game for sure. i cant wait to play this game. to many damn games this year to play.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 5:10:56 AM

This game is is just siting there in front of my tv waiting to get played. Damn toys r us making me spend cash. Well written review I'll be playing this tomorrow. Demon's Souls has got me now.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 7:10:42 AM

Seriously? Lars? Dave Mustaine? haha that's jokes.

I played the demo of this, and I was constantly laughing, so when I have the cash, this and Uncharted 2 are mine!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 7:59:11 AM

oh uncharted 2 and brutal legend in the same week? you're spoiling us!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 8:05:35 AM

Playing as we speak and loving every minute of it, the dialouge between the headbangers when you liberate them is absolutely hysterical you won't regret picking this one up! GOOD ON YA TIM!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 9:01:37 AM

I'll pick this up when it's in the bargain bin.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 9:02:10 AM

sorry Brutal Legend but those 60 bucks are for Unchrted 2 and the next ones for Demons Souls!

but I'm going to have you even if you have just 6 hours length!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 9:02:49 AM

We got some mega-douche giving people thumbs down. That ain't right.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 10:19:52 AM

He must be angry because his hooker mommy doesn't make enough to buy him games.

Last edited by fundando on 10/14/2009 10:20:01 AM

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:24:24 AM

Lulz. I noticed that someone had been doing it all day yesterday until about 1:15 EST.

Must have been nap time at that point.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:52:39 AM

trolls on the loose? most have gotten lost from

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 12:29:47 PM

Destructoid? NOBODY better come here from that hellhole.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 8:52:50 PM


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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:19:58 AM

I need money first, but when I get money, I'll get this and Uncharted 2.

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:31:36 AM

Awesome game.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:37:58 AM

i was just talking to a co-worker and he said he reserved this game at gamestop and what not, n e way he said he got a phone call and it ended up being a call from gamestop letting him know his game would be on and so forth...

but he said what was funny is it was jack black on the recording and he said it was hilarious, and the way the call was set up totally had him going! funny stuff!

anyways i might be giving this a try later this year right now i got alot of games on my plate!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 12:17:23 PM

6 hours and the game has RTS elements...Good thing there's such a thing as a bargain bin.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 2:52:29 PM

this game is really good. but i'm tied up with U2 and demon souls. so i have no time to spare

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 2:54:17 PM

Sorry ben I didn't read the review jus saw the rating....but not bad I guess almost a 9.0 man I just wish the put some more metallica in this game the soundtrack is still amazing better than guitar hero and rockbands songs combine ill get this next year maybe I really need tekken 6 and uncharted 2 maybe demon souls immediatly before this year ends I applaud this game for its creativity and hilarious dialouge

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Banky A
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 10:53:16 PM

Arnold does the big reviews.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 6:41:24 PM

Played the demo we enjoyed it, my hubby wants it but I had bought him demons souls for his birthday, we;ll see what he gets this weekend.

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 11:43:52 PM

Don't deny the man of this greatness! AROGHLORGHAHMPFPH!

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Thursday, October 15, 2009 @ 12:26:13 AM

may just be me, but the music in this game sounds crap!
through the fire and flames has never sound so bad, playing it through the final credits in GH3 sounds so much better and even thats crappy.

the sound effects have really dissapointed me in this game they just sound really flat, put the speakers up to maximum and its not even loud.
i dont get it, in music games the sound is the most important thing but there the ones that have the worst sound.
GH,RB,brutal legend, all sound like crap.
than chuck in uncharted 2 or resistance 2 or battlefield bad company or opperation flashpoint dragon rising or even mirrors edge or dead space.
all those games have much much much better sound effects than the music games.
i dont get it, the sound in music games is where its most important, so thats where its the worst.
may be its time for a rule to come in stating that every single game must support DTS.
i only wished that would happen.
one perfect example of DTS sounding better than dolby digital would be burnout paradise.
i use to play that game to death, one day my cuz game over and we played it for a few hours than turned it off, went back and the new trophy update came up.
so i downloaded it than after like 20 minutes my cuz asked me is it just me or is the sound lost its quality and funnily enough i thought the same thing.
i took a glance over at my receiver and surprise surprise it was no longer running in DTS.
same with movies, the best sound i have ever heard out of a movie would have to be from the dark night.
yup thats it that runs in DTS too.

remember the old saying "your games support surround sound so why dont you"?
well ive got a new one.
"my surround sound setup supports DTS so why dont you"
sony, please make it happen, please make it mandatory for games to support DTS.

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Monday, October 19, 2009 @ 11:06:40 PM

this game is fu**ing amazing.

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Monday, October 26, 2009 @ 10:53:15 PM

Well for those of you that payed attention here it is, the code for the "Tenacious D in game guitar weapon" on the PS3 goes as follows =HJR2-XBBI-3AMP= hope whoever gets it enjoys it ^_^

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009 @ 4:35:42 AM

Thanks, dude. I have every intention to try through this game whenever I'm done with Uncharted 2, Modern Warfare 2, Tekken 6, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 and Dragon Age Origins. LOL. Too many damn games!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009 @ 11:08:25 AM

Lol you got the code? If so cool man enjoy it and please lemme know if it makes the game any funnier then it already is lol ^_^

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011 @ 4:20:00 PM

Lol, probably no one is going to see this comment, but I don't care. To this date (yes, june 2011) I think this is one of my favorite games of all time. And I'm a gamer since 20 or so years ago. I've played a looot of great games in past so you can see my opinion is not blinded (Gran Turismo series, GTA series, Uncharted series, Metal Gear Series, Final Fantasy Series, Demon Souls, Fallout series, etc, etc.).

It would be a shame that this franchise doesn't get support in the future with a sequel. I really hope that there are more games like this.

Last edited by godsdream on 6/22/2011 4:20:33 PM

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013 @ 4:05:37 PM

Yep, 2 years later from my last comment, and 4 years later since launch of the game, still think exactly the same.

And also, still waiting for a sequel.

Last edited by godsdream on 8/13/2013 4:06:56 PM

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