|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Double Fine||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2-8 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
April 30, 2009 - If there is one thing that can be said about a game made by Tim Schafer, it's that it will at least be quite unique and humorous. Take Psychonauts for example, a great game that took place inside various characters' minds that was fueled by witty and hilarious writing throughout. If there is something else that seems intrinsically linked to Schafer's games, it's that they often tend to have troubles making their way to the market. Pyschonauts is once again a prime example; it was dumped by Microsoft and later picked up by Majesco who hardly marketed the title, which directly resulted in its poor sales.
Brutal Legend has had similar issues recently; originally slated to be published by Sierra (a Vivendi Games holding), it was then discarded after the massive merger which formed Activision Blizzard. Fortunately, EA has since picked up the publishing rights to this title, and we were able to check out a good chunk of its beginning as demoed at the recent EA spring press event.
Brutal Legend is the story of the world's best roadie, Eddie Riggs, who is being brought to life with voice work from the actor/comedian/musician, Jack Black. The game starts off with Eddie accidentally dripping a small amount of his own blood onto his beloved belt buckle, which then magically teleports him to another world. While this new world initially appears somewhat similar to his previous surroundings, much has changed indeed. Instead of being on a stage surrounded by a band and fans, Eddie is standing in a large stone arena surrounded by bones and several characters wearing black cloaks.
These cloaked characters are known as druids, and they immediately attempt to put a violent end to Eddie's life. Luckily, close by are two of his three main weapons throughout the game, the Separator and Clementine. The Separator is a large axe that will make up Eddie's melee attacks and Clementine is his musical axe (guitar), which will provide his ranged attacks. These initial druids were no match for the combos created by the combined usage of axe slashes and the magical attacks provided by perfectly played guitar riffs on Clementine. The two ranged attacks shown included calling lightning down from the sky onto foes and a move called Earthquake, which can stun enemies as well as reduce your surrounding environment to rubble.
After this initial battle was over and the entire building had crumbled around Eddie, he was confronted with another type of enemy. This demon, referred to as the battle nun, was a tall and skinny adversary that was stronger than the druids and harder to take out. Using the game's lock-on targeting system, the nun was felled, leaving Eddie to hop onto her giant, mechanical spider vehicle to take it for a spin.
As the spider walker continued to make its way down a long ramp made entirely of bones and skulls, it was clear that this world was unlike any seen in a game to this point. Schafer explained this place as a world where everything rock is made real, which definitely came through loud and clear based on the surroundings. Everything in the game is said to be adapted from the covers of heavy metal albums, making piles of bones, ancient stone structures, giant mechanical spiders, and even hot rods mainstays in the world of Brutal Legend.
After fighting through some more demons and druids and coming upon a friendly warrior character named Ophelia, who Eddie can perform double-team attacks with, the two characters find themselves surrounded by an army of druids. Further checking out the temple they had barricaded themselves within, Eddie discovers ancient writing and symbols that he can awaken by playing Clementine. By playing the Relic Raiser song on his guitar, he is able to summon his third weapon, The Deuce, which is a tricked out hot rod. Living up to its nickname, "The Druid Plow," Eddie and Ophelia make their escape by driving through and over the druid army.