Brütal Legend Review

Brutal Legend is not the best action game I've ever played. In fact, on the basis of gameplay alone, I wouldn't even rank it as one of the better games I've played this year. The open world has too much open and not enough world, the racing aspects are pretty average, and the fighting action is standard stuff. And yet ... it's a lot of fun to play. Before I get into why that's the case, I need to make the disclaimer that if you have a dislike for Jack Black, classic metal, or cheesy humor, then you probably won't find it to be quite as much fun – especially so if you find Jack Black to be annoying, because, well there's a lot of Jack Black being Jack Black in this game ... well, at least a buffed out metal-god version of the doughboyish actor anyway. The whole thing is simply a crazy, cheesy diversion that you simply roll with, not really minding the repetitive battles, and having a great time along the way.

Brutal Legend has a great character-driven story, and the central character driving the whole thing is roadie extraordinaire Eddie Riggs (played to the hilt by Jack Black). Eddie is the consummate professional, keeping shows running smoothly in spite of the fact that rock and roll is now in the hands of whiney kids who've sold rock's soul to the money factory of pop music. When Eddie gives his life to save a band member from a stage prop related accident, his blood activates the medallion around his neck and he awakes in another world – a world forged from the dark soul of heavy metal and with a look that could inspire a thousand album covers. Armed with a pair of axes, one that would be the centerpiece of a medieval armory and the other of the six-stringed variety, Eddie immediately finds himself knee-deep in demons looking to tear him apart. The demons are part of the army of Emperor Doviculus, who along with his human general Lionwhyte, is crushing the land built by the titans of metal under his heel. (For those of you wondering, yes, Lionwhyte's name is a not-so-subtle play on White Lion and a stab at glam rock's and hair bands' role in the demise of classic metal – this is great stuff here, I love it). Eddie soon finds and joins the small band of humans leading the resistance, and together with them sets out to free the land. They are not entirely alone, though, and throughout the game you'll meet allies from the old guard looking to restore the land to its former glory. Adding to the fun these allies are all cameo roles, the most memorable of which is Ozzy Osbourne as The Keeper of Metal who sells new and upgraded moves and various rock-related unlockables – and for some strange reason you can actually understand everything he says; I wonder how many takes that took in the studio.

The game is built on an open-world model and a map of the world marks the locations of the next story mission and any side missions that you've uncovered. You can travel between these locations on foot, but it's far faster and far more fun to summon your Deuce Coup with a quick guitar riff (more on riffs in a bit). You can also just travel the land looking for new things to discover such as monuments to rock left behind by the ancients or to discover the various hidden jumps and such things that are standard for open world games. The world's not as crowded with things to do as it is in some certain city-based open-world games, so there are times when you'll get that "are we there yet?" feeling as you switch back and forth to your map.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PC