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Brutal Legend


By Ryan Anderson

Brutal Legend  5/5

Publisher:   Electronic Arts                        Genre: Action, Adventure, Strategy

Developer:  Double Fine Productions          ESRB:   M

Brutal Legend is a great original title from Tim Shafer.  The game packs quite a punch in that it delivers not only great adventure and strategy-game aspects, but also an excellent soundtrack.  Brutal Legend is a nice addition to anyone's collection.

Pros:  New, original title, outstanding voice acting, great soundtrack, replayability, Zelda but with Metal

Cons:  Waypoint navigating can get annoying, got stuck in some areas because of no jump button

What happens when you mix Jack Black and Tim Schafer?  A great adventure game with an excellent story and rich characters, that's what.  Brutal Legend is a sure hit and a must have for fans of great adventures.  In a sea of sequels it’s nice to see new and original titles stand out like this one; it sets the bar for character interaction in video games. 

The story begins with Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black) working as a Roadie.  Suddenly he is teleported into an alternate world that tells the tale of the beginnings of Metal music.  The characters really come to life, and the dialogue flows smoothly, enhancing your immersion into the game.  Eddie Riggs is a very believable character that could connect with a lot of people, making him a great original hero.  The story also boasts other excellent voice actors such as Jennifer Hale (Ophelia), Tim Curry (Doviculus, Emperor of the Tainted Coil), and even Ozzy Osbourne as the “Guardian of Metal.”

The game has an open world feel, letting you play the main storyline or participate in side missions.  The side missions usually involve helping your fellow army conquer enemies running around the map.  These missions can be a little tiresome because they are essentially all the same.  As the story progresses the only thing that really changes on these side missions is that you are helped by other units of your army.  One good thing about the side missions, though, is that players get to learn about newly found units and their capabilities on the battlefield.  During these small battles you learn that this game is not only just an adventure game but, in fact, a real-time strategy game as well.  Yes, you can order units around to move, defend, attack or follow.  It’s easy to direct everyone at once, but when you try to issue moves one at a time to specific units it takes a lot of time and it’s usually not worth it.

The enemies you'll encounter throughout the game are very unique, ranging from a giant spider that weaves bass strings to small Porcupine creatures with metal spikes.  The art direction in Brutal Legend is definitely something worthwhile and much different from other games.   

The Deuce is an excellent way to travel and very fitting for a character like Eddie Riggs

You can also explore the vast world in your car named “The Deuce.”  In it, you'll search for many collectibles ranging from hidden serpents and unlockable music to viewpoints that show off the excellent artistic view of the landscape (a guitar made of stone emerging from the ground or a whole mountain cliff side made of amps).  One such hidden location includes the Motor Forges, which is home of the Guardian of Metal.  He upgrades all your gear, from your guitar effects (adding fire or electricity) and axe effects to simple things like a paint job for your vehicle.  To get these upgrades means doing sidequests and finding hidden objects.  This adds a lot of replay value to the game.  One small yet annoying quality of the game is that, when you are searching high and low for these hidden areas, some places can be quite difficult to maneuver around.  It is possible to get stuck for a short amount of time.

Singleplayer mode can be summed up as looking like a Legend of Zelda game with amazing adventures, epic boss battles, and a hint of Metal mixed in.  It would be a crime not mention the excellent soundtrack in the game.  Musicians from Ozzy Osbourne and Motorhead to Rob Zombie make this game just that much better.  The music blends well with the game and the environment.  It might even turn you into a Metal enthusiast.

Laying down some solos is a good way to help your allies in battle

Multiplayer mode focuses more on the real-time strategy aspect of the game.  There are only three factions to choose from, but the difference between the three bring excellent balance.  Each faction has many units to choose from but must capture geysers (fans for your rock show).  Adding geysers allows for more units to be produced and your stage (main base) to be upgraded.  This, ultimately, allows bigger and better units.  Your faction leaders, Eddie Riggs for Ironheade, Ophilia for Drowning Doom, and Doviculus for The Tainted Coil can all fly in multiplayer skirmishes, allowing easier commanding and navigation for your units.  You can also double team with each unit for a special attack.  For instance,  Eddie Riggs can double team with his Headbangers (basic infantry unit) and form a circle, in effect, creating a mosh-pit to encircle and beat up enemies.  It’s a basic strategy for building up your forces and destroying the enemies’ stage before they destroy yours.  With lots of units and the ability to go fight along side them makes multiplayer quite a unique and fun experience.  Each faction leader can play solos with their instrument to bring buffs for their nearby units or doom to their nearby foes.  Just as in singleplayer, the same problem of trying to navigate individual troops remains.  It’s best to split up your units as they are produced rather than try to sort them out later, which results in a headache.  However, if played right, this small problem can be avoided. 

Brutal Legend is a great original title by Tim Schafer.  Just his fame for uniqueness makes this game worthwhile for anybody looking for a great action-adventure-strategy game.  You could listen to someone else praise this game all day, but it should really be witnessed first-hand by everyone.