by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
The campaign in the game takes around 6-8 hours to complete, with a multiplayer mode included. The multiplayer mode is the same as the stage battles in the story, with three armies to command. Ironheade, Eddie Rigg's group from the story, Drowning Doom, a Goth/zombie army, and Tainted Coil, the demon army led by main antagonist Doviculus are yours to command. Each army has their own units, though they all fit into the same basic purpose with general melee units, ranged units, vehicles and über units. There are some distinct differences between the three groups however. The Drowning Doom has units that give status effects to both friendly and enemy units around them, like slowing down enemies. The Tainted Coil is the most unique, with a hierarchy structure with only three units that can be created from the stage. Doviculus can then double team with these hierarch units and create new units directly on the battlefield. If you don't like playing online, there are also AI skirmishes for those of us who are afraid of human interaction.
The controls for Brütal Legend are fairly simple. The A button handles melee attacks with Eddie's axe, while holding A gives you a stronger, unblockable attack. B is for blocking, and X is for guitar attacks. Taping X electrocutes enemies, while holding X lights pyro underneath their asses. There are various combos that can be unlocked throughout the game that mix guitar and axe attacks. Holding the R button opens up a radial menu from which you can access a variety of guitar solos. These play out like Guitar Hero games, where you must tap the right button as the note crosses a line. Since this is done with a controller, none of them are very hard but you are left open to attacks during this time. Some of these are offensive, like the face melter which, as its name suggests, melts faces! or have more practical uses like summoning a flaming zeppelin that crashes to the ground.
Holding the Right Bumper opens a radial menu where you can build units or upgrade your stage, which unlocks stronger units. It's an odd mix, but it's really unique and fun to play. It might not have the depth of a Command and Conquer or even a Halo Wars, but the action oriented battles and varieties of units are great none the less.
Graphics and Sounds
The artistic design of the game is fantastic. Unit designs are unique and easily distinguishable from one another. The open world is divided into a variety of different locales, like the mountains/plains to a gloomy swamp full of Drowning Doom, the Goth enemies of the game. Brütal Legend lives up to its moniker, with lots of decapitations and limb severing. There are some pop-up issues, but the frame rate is good most of the time.
Being a game based entirely around metal, it is no surprise that the soundtrack and voice work is a who's who of metal. Bands like Motorhead, Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, 3 Inches of Blood, and Scorpions provide their tunes in the game with over 100 songs in total. I must say Brütal Legend features some of the greatest syncing between video and audio I have ever seen, with the right song playing at precisely the right moment. The voice talent also includes some of the biggest names in metal, as well as comedy. Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford, and Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) provide their voices from the musical side of things. Jack Black provides the voice of Eddie Riggs, Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is the voice of demon antagonist Doviculus, Kyle Gass (Tenacious D), and Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Program) round out things when it comes to comedy. The voice acting is done quite well, especially Jack Black who proves a major star doing a voice in a game doesn't need to phone it in and can pull off a great performance. Peter McConnell returns from Psychonauts to create an original score.
Brütal Legend is something we don't get to see very often. It is a mix of the action and RTS genres that works well with personality and great artistic direction. There are some issues, like the campaign being a bit on the short side, and missions becoming repetitive after a while, but the story will help you over these bumps. You might not get a lot out of it if you are not a metal head, but its charm is well worth it.
Great story and characters, hilarious, phenomenal art style, one of the best soundtracks this year.
Repetitive missions, lots of repeated dialogue, might not get the most of it if you’re not into metal.