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Brutal Legend Preview

October 12, 2009

Brutal Legend Logo

Brutal Legend was always going to be something special. The three main parts to the game is Tim Shafer, Jack Black and heavy metal. All of these have been rolled up into one and turned created a video game. Tim Schafer is a video game genius who was behind some classics like Grim Fandango and The Secret of Monkey Island. Jack Black can be hilarious in the right role and he definitely suits his role in this. Heavy metal has been used as an inspiration to for everything in the game from the level design to the weapons used.

In Brutal Legend you play as Eddie Riggs, the world’s greatest roadie. Eddie is voiced by Jack Black and looks very similar to him (And Tim Schafer too). Eddie thinks music isn’t as good as it used to be and that he should have been around in an earlier time. However shortly after this he is transported to a world that has been based completely around heavy metal. The people of the world have been enslaved by evil demons and Eddie has no idea of what is going on and just goes where his path takes him while kicking ass and rocking all the way there.

 Brutal Legend Picture 2

From what I’ve played the gameplay seems very varied and there are loads of different elements mixed in amongst each other. The combat seems to be the main focus though. The combat sticks to a hack and slash template but with a slight twist. Eddie uses a battle axe and a guitar to defeat his enemies. He is a natural with the axe and his skilled guitar skills can shoot lightning at his enemies. He can also perform joint moves with any allies he has with him at the time. Though this may lack depth compared to the other games of the genre such as Ninja Gaiden it’s still very enjoyable and the fact you can kill people with a guitar is always enjoyable.

There appears to be so much more to the gameplay than just combat though. Fortunately there is no need to worry about crappy platforming sections though (Or at least there hasn’t been any from what I’ve played). However, there are also some vehicle sections. The one I played had me in a hot rod and I had to drive through hordes of enemies to escape them. The vehicle did feel a little light but apart from that it was great fun.

The boss fights have also been inspired from heavy metal and the worm I fought was very demonic and looked like something you would expect to see at a metal concert. The boss fight wasn’t what I expected though, rather than use your axe to defeat it you use your car. The fight is pretty simple but that doesn’t really detract from the experience. You need to boost at the right time to dodge its attack so it gets stuck in the ground then ride into it to destroy one of its three tongues.  After you do this three times it is defeated.

Brutal Legend Picture 1

Some parts of the game put you into an RTS mode which also helps keep things fresh. In this mode you can use head bangers and other lowly rockers to defeat enemies but you can also jump in and fight yourself. I haven’t actually had any time with this are but it’s appears to be shaping up well.

The gameplay doesn’t look to be the highlight of Brutal Legend though, don’t get me wrong it’s plays well and it is enjoyable but it’s the other factors that make the game what it is. The soundtrack, the humour, the design is what sets this apart from the other games out there.

The world looks amazing. The inspiration from metal really makes it look fantastic due to its demonic design. It has been inspired from album covers and other areas which really makes the atmosphere more authentic.

Tim Schafer has always been known for his humour and this is no different. Whether it is the great jokes, the over the top swearing or the characters themselves there is plenty to laugh at in this game. In the start section I played I was constantly laughing as Eddie cringed at the awful band, swore plenty of times in frustration, tried to suck up to demons and plenty other parts had me laughing too.

Just imagine all of this with a great heavy metal soundtrack with artists like Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and more. Obviously if you don’t like metal then you won’t like the soundtrack but if you are a fan there is plenty of great tracks in this game.

Metal isn’t mainstream and neither is Brutal Legend. Tim Schafer never intended to make a game that appealed to the masses, rather than take the safe path and stick to an idea that appeals to a wider audience he took a risk and created something a lot more original than most recent games. This generation is lacking original games so Brutal Legend is warmly welcomed by me. Hopefully Brutal Legend will be the success it deserves to be because this is looking fantastic and I really can’t wait. Roll on Rocktober 16th!

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