A test run

You may have noticed that my Xbox 360 – Reviews do not always contain… valuable information for those who ponder getting the game. Thus I created a separate blog, which as of this moment is not open to the public, where I’ll properly review games. Made up a rating system and everything. So, to test how well I do reviewing, here’s my first one, so I’d like some feedback on where I failed and how I can improve:

Brütal Legend

Box Art

Brütal Legend is a game by that guy Tim Schafer. He’s also made Psychonauts, which I never played, and worked on the first installments of Monkey Island. That, and the fact that Brütal Legend is very much Heavy Metal in game form, was the main selling point. If you’re not into metal, you probably don’t even want to bother.

 

 

Gameplay

The game is essentially divided into three parts: Slashing enemies with a giant battleaxe/electrocuting them with a guitar, running over enemies and, something they failed to mention when advertising, real-time strategy. Said RTS parts are not particularly well done and can quickly become frustrating.

The other two gameplay modes are integrated seamlessly into the RTS: You can still grab your axe and decorate your car with enemies – but controlling your units is more important.

Story-wise, the game has Eddie Riggs, voiced by and partially modeled after Jack Black, who enters the realm of Metal, where people like the Kill Master and the Guardian of Metal live. This land is in despair and it’s up to Eddie to rescue it. Several times, really – in quick succession. Doesn’t saving the world getting old after a while?

Graphics

Brütal Legend is a very pretty game: It’s a caricative style, very colourful and every single screenshot could pass for a Metal album cover. The landscapes are littered with relics such as dragon statues and there’s giant stone e-guitars, swords and whatnot to be found. The characters and creatures are all extremely Metal: Porcupines with steel quills? Warthogs with wheels for legs! You can ride most animals, and said warthogs, which resemble motorcycles, are the fastest way to get around the land. Even the plants are metal: Exhaust pipes, wheels and scaffolding literally grow on trees and there’s a flower that throws the horns – \m/!

Sound

The soundtrack is compromised entirely of Metal in various subgenres. There’s Iced Earth, Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne, DragonForce… and a lot more, I’m not looking this up right now. Metal, Metal and more Metal, anyway. The voice actors are no exception: Eddie is voiced by Jack Black, the Kill Master is Lemmy, the Guardian of Metal is Ozzy Osbourne and General Lionwhyte and The Baron are the one, the only, Rob Fucking Halford. All these are modeled after their respective voice actors, even (with the exception of Lionwhyte). There’s also minor characters with known faces and voices: A mortar operator that needs assistance is obviously Kyle Gass, the other half of Tenacious D, and a Hunter is Brian Posehn – who I don’t actually know, or didn’t until Brütal Legend, but I’ve been told he’s relatively well known in the US. Not to be forgotten: Tim Curry voices the Big Bad. But said Big Bad is not modeled after him.

Multiplayer

There is one multiplayer mode, and that is RTS. Disappointing, really, I would have loved some open world racing action. But on the bright side, they let you play as all factions except for Lionwhyte, since that is essentially a mirror of another faction anyway. The multiplayer maps are based on parts of the game world and are for the most part symmetrical. As opposed to the story mode, you can not access advanced weaponry and your vehicle is unarmed, which makes it absolutely useless except maybe for flattening weak enemies – since all player avatars can fly, they are not even the fastest way around.

Controls

Depending on what situation you are in, there’s two different control schemes and those are still very similar: When on foot, you can choose solos with RT and play them (as extra powers), when you’re in a car, RT acellerates and LT decellerates, just like, well, every racing game on the Xbox. Using weapons is the exact same thing in either situation (just that the weapons differ). Flying (possible while on foot and in a stage battle) exchanges solo playing for flying up/down. Overall, the controls are easy to learn, which is always appreciated.

Achievements

The vast majority of achievements are awarded in single player mode: Every chapter has it’s own achievement, finding collectibles has several more. Some achievements can only be unlocked in a stage battle, but only very few of them actually require playing online. Which is good, because as with practically every multiplayer game except for Gears of War and Halo, there’s nobody who still gives a crap.

Other

The game starts with a short sequence showing Jack Black going into a record store and picking up a record – which then seamlessly blends into the live action menu. The menus are said record: The sleeve, the vinyl itself… absolutely awesome, looks great and fits the game perfectly. Where else do you get a live action menu? Also always appreciated: Unlockable concept art.

Summary

Brütal Legend is a great game until it gets frustrating with the RTS parts. But it’s very funny, very Metal and very, very Metal.

Final Rating:

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  1. Hm… okay, so, you’re moving away, huh? Well, all right. Good tidings, buddy!

      • Althir
      • October 18th, 2011

      I’m not parting with EFM if that’s what you mean. I can certainly post here >and< there, with the posts here staying short reviews as seen earlier and on ABR more elaborate versions.

      • ABR, huh? Heh, we do love our three-letter acronyms.

        That’s okay, though. If you want to focus on your own thing, that’s your choice and I respect it. Plus, I do understand your desire to do your own thing and have all the freedom you want, and I hope it was my little quiet place that helped inspire you to do so.

    • Althir
    • October 19th, 2011

    Mythos :

    ABR, huh? Heh, we do love our three-letter acronyms.

    That’s okay, though. If you want to focus on your own thing, that’s your choice and I respect it. Plus, I do understand your desire to do your own thing and have all the freedom you want, and I hope it was my little quiet place that helped inspire you to do so.

    It actually was. After all, this is where I started reviewing.
    Oh, also: “ABR” stands for “Althir’s Boring Reviews”. Just because.

    • Gundam_mk2
    • October 19th, 2011

    Love the star graphic thingy

      • Althir
      • October 19th, 2011

      Heh, thanks. Rendered it just for ABR. Once I have a few more reviews on it, I’ll make a proper introductory post here.

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