Brütal Legend tells the story of the roadie Eddie Riggs as he gets sucked into an alternate world that looks like something off the cover of a heavy metal album. Just from that sentwnce, it should be obvious that the game's story is going to be pretty crazy, and it is. The story also does a good job of integrating itself into the gameplay: a lot of stuff in game, from your weapons to the various units in your army are explained at some point in story, it's a nice touch. Unfortunately, while the story is fun to follow and generally well done, it's also pretty rushed, at least in the final act. While I can't give details due to spoilers, I can say that later game, the story goes from dropping some major plot points to the final battle in what feels like only a few short moments. part of me suspects that there was supposed to be more to the story but it apparently got cut.
|The game actually opens with a live action video, leading up to this record sleeve/main menu.|
As a real time strategy game, Brütal Legend takes a somewhat simplistic approach, There's no base building, and only one resource: your fans. instead, matches focus on capturing and holding control points, building up an army until you have one big enough to take down the enemy's stage. The big twist here is that you still control your character and can readily fight alongside your army using all of your usual attacks and abilities, even gaining access to new special moves by teaming up with your units. A lot of the challenge in matches actually comes from the fact that you still control a character, as you not only need to keep yourself alive, but quickly zoom from place to place to direct the troops and keep a watch on the map, though the game fortunately gives you the ability to fly to help with this. While those who played a more traditional RTS might find this a bit too simplistic, I honestly liked how the game mixed action and strategy.
|Instead of building a base, you summon units from a stage like this one.|
I said earlier that the game takes place in a wold that looks like something off the cover of a heavy metal album and that wasn't a joke. Walls made of electric amps and speakers? Amazon warriors in king diamond makeup? Demonic imps riding flaming motorcycles? Even your base in RTS matches is designed to look like a concert stage, and you capture control points on the map by building merchandise booths. Everything about this game screams of something from heavy metal. There's even a boss that's a giant chrome spider with an engine block for a body in a lair filled with webs made of bass guitar strings. Design wise, this is a very inventive game that has a lot of fun with the things that influenced it..
|Tying into the concert theme, you even track information in a tour book.|
Awesome soundtrack aside, another big part of the game is the voicework, on top of some big names like Jack Black voicing Eddy, and Tim Curry gloriously hamming it up as a demon named Doviculus, There's also some music stars in the games voice cast. Rob Halford, lead signer of Judas Priest voices voices a hair metal-themed villian General Lionwhyte, and Ozzy Ozborne as the Guardian Of Metal. The voice work overall is really good, characters, both the big characters like Eddie down to generic Headbangers, are full of personality and the voices fit the characters nicely. Considering how much trouble the game's development went through, it's good that the music and voice acting came out so well.
|This game is full of cameos, some more obvious than others.|
Despite it's troubles however, I'd say the game is very much worth playing. While it's somewhat obvious that things had been cut or the developers had to hurry things in places, the story and gameplay that managed to see release is still really good. Also, it's setting and mix of action and strategy gameplay are fairly unique, there's honestly not many games like this out there, and I'd say the game is worth it on that uniqueness alone.
Brütal Legend was developed and published by Double Fine Productions. It is available on Steam, GoG, and Desura. It's soundtrack is available on Steam and It's homepage is available here.