Enter Eddie Riggs. Voiced by none other than Jack Black, Riggs is a roadie killed in the line of duty. But the blood that has been spilled has awoken the Eternal Fire Beast, and Eddie is transported into another world. Quickly joined by a cast of characters that reveal to him humanity’s plight of oppression, Riggs sets out to bring together an army to tear down the establishment.
Even though the story leans toward the cliché side of town, Brütal Legend has such a tendency toward the awesome and the absurd that the story is almost expected to visit both well-known and unusual territory. The main story line missions move action and suspension along quite well, which in turn leaves very little down time or room for frustration, except for when missions are failed. If the player dies when eyeballs deep in a mission, they must always return to the very beginning unless they did a save and quit at some point during the mission.
Controls & Gameplay
While Brütal Legend has been classified as an RTS, it felt like the creators’ attempt to interweave elements of an action RPG were largely successful. Engaging in both boss fights and more minor skirmishes which force the player to strategize is fantastic. When faced with a boss that has impenetrable, huge fists of death, figuring out a way to bring him down with something other than a hack and slash approach was engaging and challenging. But when one mission is completed, it’s off to the next one. It was easy to become invested in the world where main story line missions are key, but there is nothing to prevent the player from playing lets-run-over-the-local-wildlife or actually participating in optional side quests.
In terms of combat mechanics, the player starts out with the standard melee weapon which takes the guise of an axe that can only be properly wielded by Riggs, and a distance attack which comes in the shape of an old guitar that can belt out music with the best of them. More specialized abilities unlock a bit later, such as Facemelter. (It does exactly what it sounds like, and it’s glorious.) When not stuck in fights that require more tactical thinking, the weapons at hand truly get the job done. As the player unlocks more attacks and more abilities for the guitar, each weapon gains access to new potential.
Visuals & SoundIf nothing else, the art style screams Double Fine. Colorful with a handful of bizarre and tweaked with a bit of the unusual, it’s something that gamers will either love or hate. While world design throws the player into an epic experience, character design is something straight out of the stereotypes of metal. Yet this is completely okay – it pokes fun at those who adhere to those ideas but also uses them in a way that aids character development and humor.
Brütal Legend also possesses a cast of voice actors that only add to the game’s inherent quality. Metal icons ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Lemmy Kilmister make an appearance when you least expect them, and the soundtrack to the game is just as star-studded. Many of the tracks seem to have been selected for the fact that they have stood the test of time, and that has also contributed in setting the epic tone of the game.
Brütal Legend has successfully merged both elements of RTS and RPG to make for an epic gameplay experience that will not soon be duplicated. And while there may be some minor mechanical things the player could do without (restarting a mission after dying, I’m looking at you), Brütal Legend makes for an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.