Brütal Legend

For a game that almost never was, it is a true joy to at last be able to play Brütal Legend.  In case you are not aware, the game was to be published by Activision some time ago but was canned when they merged with Blizzard.  The game was then in development hell, stuck without a publisher until EA stepped in to save the day, good thing they did too!  It is hard to pigeon hole the game under one banner but it would be best described as a sandbox-ish, free-roaming, driving, mission structured, real time strategy game with decent music.  There is also a decent multiplayer aspect tacked on too, which I will come to later but first let me take you through the main game.

Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black), is the greatest roadie in the history of the world; there is nothing he can’t do for a rock and roll show.  In the opening cinematic we are shown Eddie in despair with the Nu Metal band he has to work for, in saving one of the band members Eddie is killed but is whisked away to an alternate reality where heavy metal rules.  From the very beginning you are given a magical axe and guitar as your weapons and are taught how to use them in some very easy combos to deal with the deformed baddies in the game.  The vistas are like looking at some old heavy metal album covers with fire, bones and stone monuments to be seen.  In the opening ten minutes you meet up with a woman who seems to be on a quest and you join up with her to fight to the gates of Bladehenge where your adventure begins proper.  It is here that you are given the main mode of transport in the game, a hotrod called “the deuce” that you can drive between areas.  Alas the handling on the car is a bit floaty and you can find yourself constantly having to turn around to get to objectives and the like.  You can summon the car anytime in the game by holding down RT and selecting it from a dial of “solos”.  Once selected Eddie whips out his guitar and you have to match the on screen button presses to bring the car to you, it is really easy to do and you will never fail to summon it.  There are many solos in game to use, some call your allies to you, some attack enemies but all are fun to initiate and watch.

There is a mission structure to follow with main and secondary missions and you are free to attempt them in any way you choose.  The secondary missions can be quite repetitive and involve attacking enemies, hunting animals, defending allies and so on.  It is with the main missions that the other game style is introduced, here you control small units of your allies and lead them into battle against the dark forces.  The final main mission of each segment involves building a large stage show and building and ordering your armies, via extracting resources from fan shrines.  The enemy has a stage also and can build their own units too, which are then sent to attack your forces.  This is very like RTS lite but it does work very well and keeps the same style and spirit as the rest of the game.  When you eventually destroy the enemy’s stage you have won the battle and move on to the next set of missions.

As you progress through the missions you are awarded points which can then be used to upgrade you and the deuce at a place called the motor forge.  It is here where you meet the first heavy metal cameo in the game, none other than the prince of darkness – Ozzy Osbourne.  You can purchase different attacks and power ups for yourself and you can also pimp the deuce with guns and flamethrowers or more armour, all the time Ozzy guides you through the upgrades in his own inimitable style.  Other cameos in the game include Lemmy (the kill master), Rob Halford (as camp as he could be) and Jack Black’s musical buddy Kyle Gass.  As you may have noticed, the whole package is seeped in heavy metal lore and if you are a fan you will get so much more from the game.  Band logos can be seen everywhere, names of bands and people are mixed up and used, sculptures are of metal iconography, album covers are sourced as backdrops and best of all the soundtrack is both extensive and awesome. There are over one hundred songs that unlock as you  play through the game and include class acts such as Motörhead, Motley Crue, Budgie, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Slayer, Anthrax, Ozzy, Testament… the list goes on and all are perfectly suited to the game.

Multiplayer focuses on the RTS aspect of the game with two teams facing off against each other across some of the game’s lovely vistas.  Both teams start with a stage and some fan shrines from which to extract fans to convert into units.  You can have a legion of headbangers or razor girls or the hugely annoying thunder hog motorcycle unit.  Any match I played online seemed to consist of my opponent building an army of motorcycles and then them demolishing my base before I can get moving, that aside though it was good fun to play.  You can even have up to three team mates playing with you to help you to victory.  The game could have stood alone without any multiplayer but it is a welcome addition to an already complete package.







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