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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action / Strategy

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Double Fine

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 13, 2009

 

- So much style and character

- Great mix of graphics and music

- Fantastic writing

- Action / strategy for the Stage Battles is a good mix

- DLC gotta be on the horizon for this

 

 

- Really want to use the wings outside the Stage Battles

- Repetitive side missions

 

 

Review: Red Faction Guerrilla (360)

Review: Prototype (360)

Review: Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (360)

 

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Brütal Legend

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

brutal legend          brutal legend

 

The worst part of Brütal Legend is that the single-player portion of the game feels like training wheels for the multiplayer part. Granted the training wheels of Death have 7 chrome exhaust pipes, are covered in blood, and hum Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages" while smashing through a landscape of battered rock album ruins and occasionally spewing flames, but training wheels nonetheless.

 

Brütal Legend tells the tale of rock roadie Eddie Riggs who is transported to a land pulled right from a metal album cover. He arrives at an opportune moment as the

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tide is turning against the remaining human population. Glam rocker Lionwhyte and demon leader Doviculus have a grip on the place and Eddie is just the kind of roadie the humans need to take the fight on tour.

 

Though the game opens with a funnelled succession of running battles (and tutorial) and a car jump from a crumbling bridge, Brütal Legend is an open-world game with repetitive side missions

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dotting the landscape, tons of character, and enough metal to melt the face right off your skull.  After hacking through the game in about 7 hours (and only 51% completion) I've done something I don't typically do with open-world games, I just kept on playing because I enjoyed exploring Brütal Legend's locales; and hearing some of the music for the first time makes it worthwhile to just drive around.

 

The humor drops off after the main story is complete simply because the side missions are repetitive.  Early on I played through a dozen or so missions but it felt like the pay-off wasn't enough to keep me coming back to them. Earning fire tributes to upgrade Eddie's ride or his moves or his axe is great and it offers some great one-liners from Ozzy Ozborne but the main story supplies enough fire tributes so that it doesn't push you toward the optional missions to make up the difference (thank you, Double Fine).  As gory and profanity-laden as Brütal Legend is -- there's an option to neuter both -- there are laughs to be had but it was the "serious moments" that showcase some really awesome writing. Speeches that could have been cringe-worthy somehow sidestep the sentiment and awkwardness.

 

brutal legend          brutal legend

 

I had some concern early on that Brütal Legend would fall flat when it came to the action. Combat falls to a couple of buttons and the occasional guitar Solo thrown in to melt faces, but I wouldn't call it button mashing, especially after Eddie accesses more combos at the Motor Forge.  Complications to the combat arise during the Stage Battles, which make up a good chunk of the game and all of multiplayer; this is where Brütal Legend's action really shines.

 

As Eddie and company take the war on tour, at each major stop (i.e. battles) stages are erected at opposite ends of the map. Resources nodes (fans) are fought over and there are orders to issue, attacks to lead and Double Teams, which essentially means Eddie teams up with another unit to do more damage or perform some kind of secondary attack to give you the upper hand as a mob of enemy rushes your stage (or as you rush theirs). Queuing units, giving orders and making the usual real-time strategy choices are streamlined enough that it doesn't completely take you out of the action. Eddie can still lead the charge and make full use of his own arsenal with the added bonus that at any time he can sprout wings to lift him well above the battle for a quick survey and/or getaway.  It could have been overwhelming had Double Fine not created the single-player game as training for the Stage Battles.

 

Though there are only 7 multiplayer maps, there are three different factions to play around with, which should keep things interesting in the long run for the multiplayer.  The "Commander" units (Eddie for Ironheade) all play similarly but it's the very different faction units that can take a little tooling around with to get the right combinations. As of this writing, there's not too much happening online due to the fact the game isn't officially out yet so it'll be interesting to see how steep the competition gets and how complex the strategies become. Until then I'll be driving around exploring the rest of Brütal Legend and testing my own Stage Battle strategies against the AI.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(October 13, 2009 - 12:01PM)

 

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