The legendary Tim Schafer, creator of such imaginative games as Psychonauts and Grim Fandango, has developed BrÃ¼tal Legend for the PS3 and Xbox360. You know its gonna be weird.
The player takes on the role of Eddie Riggs, the worlds best roadie. After a freak accident during a gig, Eddie is summoned to a world of heavy metal, where he must fight to save the inhabitants from hordes of Heavy metal demon types, straight from the most fervent dreams of the biggest heavy metal fans.
This action-adventure game will have the player attacking demons with their axe, casting spells with their guitar, cruising in an awesome hotrod and controlling armies of warriors.
Tim Schafer is known for the bizarre worlds in which his equally bizarre characters live. Players are sent on a journey, when playing his games, where there is very little that could be classed as normal. This time round is no exception, as the player is sent to a world that has been built around the album covers of heavy metal bands through the ages. And like his other games, BrÃ¼tal Legend does not disappoint.
The world is filled with cloaked minions, creatures filled with sharp pointy teeth, guitar amps and mountains of skulls. The main character of Eddie Riggs is what you would expect from a heavy metal roadie, except maybe he should have a longer beard. Eddie is voiced by Jack Black and it is obvious that the character is modeled on him, or maybe how he wishes to look. Imagine Jack Black after some serious exercise and a decent diet, and you will have Eddie Riggs.
In true metal fashion, Eddie is equipped with an axe and a guitar. The axe enables Eddie to attack evil in a traditional hack and slash manner, with a choice of quick or strong attacks. His guitar, lovingly called Clementine, is primarily used for ranged attacks, launching fire or lightning at the enemy. Your two weapons can be combined to perform a devastating attack that will push away any enemies in the vicinity. This combination of equipment gives Eddie the tools he needs to vanquish the forces of evil, and it all works really well. Eddie is also able to cast some magic. This is done by playing riffs on the guitar, and will involve a button pressing combination. Whilst interesting, and highly entertaining at times, there is one spell that will become your bestest spell ever!
Summoning the Hotrod. Every self respecting metalhead should have their own hotrod. Eddie is no exception here, and his hotrod is known as The Deuce. A vehicleÂ of pure metal, complete with suitable paint job, excessive chrome and a skull gearstick knob, the Deuce is a delight. Drive it around the wide openÂ world and use it to get to objectives. These objectives can be set in the map and then the player can either follow the beam of light in the sky, or navigate using the Deuces indicators, which will flash to show you the way. Either way, a mini map would have been helpful at this point, as getting lost is easy to do.
Visit the Guardian of Rock for upgrades to the Deuce and to your magic. The Guardian is voiced by Ozzy Osbourne and modeled upon him. Expect to see other cameos from famous metal rockers through the game. You also get the voice talents of Tim Curry supplying the games main villain, Doviculus, with evil and dread. The game features an impressive soundtrack too, with over 100 heavy metal tunes blasting through your speakers.
So the game is pretty much a standard action adventure then? Did I mention the strategy? Oh yeah, BrÃ¼tal Legend has a strategic side to it as well. As the game progresses there will come opportunities to lead an army of metal heads against the enemy. At this point it is your job to gather resources and summon your army. You then control the army from your vantage point, flying above the battlefield. This takes the game in a more RTS direction, and its great. Whilst not as involved as most dedicated RTS games, this simplicity makes the game perfect for consoles, on which traditional RTS games have had problems. At any point, the player can simply take to the battlefield themselves and join the fight in a hack and slash style. You are also able to combine with a chosen unit type for dramatic effect. Each unit type has a different combination effect, such as running around the battlefield on a huge metal beast breathing fire. Later in the game, these combinations may mean the difference between victory or defeat.
This strategy element is the basis of BrÃ¼tal Legends excellent multiplayer mode. Play four on four, or if you feel you need the practice, play against bots until you find your feet. Multiplayer works really well and offers three different factions, each with different units, for the player to master.
Sadly the main game is rather short, and can be completed in around six hours. Add to this the side quests and the great multiplayer mode, and there is still a fair amount of entertainment to be had.
BrÃ¼tal Legend combines a great humour and love of all things metal into an epic action/adventure/strategy game. The shortness of the main game and the lack of on-screen mini-map are only minor problems that are overshadowed by the sheer amount of fun to be had. This game should be played by everyone.