Brutal Legend User Review
For starters it feels that way at least. The first level is really fun. You drive a hot rod, wield an axe and play guitar to kill evil demons and nuns. But right after these moments, it starts to go a little downhill. Well, a couple of chapters contains mostly the same things, for example the part where you're supposed to steal some really fat bass strings from a huge spider. But like I mentioned, it gets worse not much later.
What really drags down my interest in the game are the so-called 'stage-battles'. You build a stage, fly up in the air with your wings, create some headbangers and rock girls and then you play it like a real-time strategy game. The reason that it doesn't work is that it's not enough depth in it, and it easily gets repetitive. Some battles can really stretch for a long time, so you lose interest rather quickly.
During these fights you're supposed to collect as many fans as possible. You do that by releasing big leeches from 'fan geisers', and then you build merch booths. From there the fans will stream directly to your base. You need fans to build units, like characters and vehicles that help you to destroy the enemy stage and fan geisers.
A little later on in the game you get new units, like Rob Halford's Fire Barons. They ride around on motorcycles and make rings of fire to crush the enemy. It sounds exciting when I describe it, and yes, it is. At least the first time around. But about half of the game consists of having these Stage Battles, and as I've said, they're quite repetitive.
The music must be the main thing in a game about heavy metal though, right? There is plenty of that here, so not to worry! Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Tenacious D, Children of Bodom, Saxon, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, Diamond Head and 3 Inches of Blood are all big favorites of mine. The soundtrack is basically ultimate for rockers like myself, but I do miss Iron Maiden. That's probably the only thing. Some 'Run to the Hills' wouldn't hurt, since one of the trophies is actually called 'Ran to the Hills'. But whatever, you can't have everything.
The world in Brütal Legend is magnificent. Like I've mentioned, you have a hot rod to drive around in, and you can head down to the underworld where Ozzy is whenever you want, to remodel or add something to it. Oh right, Ozzy is some kind of god that you go down to, when you want upgrades for your car, guitar, axe etc. But back to the surroundings. There are a lot of monsters and animals to see, like warthogs with wheels and exhaust pipes, metal hedgehogs and demonic moose. You can also perform roadkills on all the creatures that you can find. The environments are very varied, one part of the map is covered in ice and snow, another in jungle, then there's one section of desert, some regular forests, as well as the haunted Sea of Black Tears. It is inhabited by ghost horses, speaking bats and grim reapers. Double Fine shall have a lot of kudos for their creative design team.
Graphically, it looks alright. The characters have very good animations, facial expressions and reactions to everything that's going on. But some parts of the world have some big textures and spiked edges, but you can't really see it if you're not looking for it. As I said, the music is heavenly, and the voice-acting is also perfect, with some smaller guest appearences from people like Kyle Gass and Tim Curry. Tim Curry portrays, perfectly, the main boss in the game.
But the gameplay doesn't really cut it alongside the rest of the production, and all those darned Stage Battles pulls down the score with one whole point. Although these fights work a lot better in the online mode, where you'll face another player, then you build a stage each and battle for superiority. The reason it works better is that it progresses a bit faster than in the singleplayer mode, so it never really gets boring.
The conclusion I make, is that this is a game with amazing design, music, characters and environments, but the gameplay lacks a whole bunch.
Positive aspects: Interesting environments, fun characters with humor, godlike soundtrack, pretty fun online, lots of exploring and collectables.
Negative aspects: Short adventure, too many and too long Stage Battles, not great graphics.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.