The Fire Wire is expanding into a new arena today…gaming. We will post interesting reviews, upcoming release announcements and other related news. Here is a review of the recently released game Brutal Legend written by our new gaming correspondent, Nick.
Brutal Legend is the latest game from the mind of Tim Schafer (Double Fine Productions), the man behind such classic games as Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and the critically acclaimed Psychonauts.
In Brutal Legend, you play as Eddie Riggs, a roadie for the band Kabbage Boy, the nu-metal teen idols whose number one hit-song confirms Riggs’s worst nightmare that heavy metal music is officially dead. After a freak stage accident causes some of Riggs’s blood to spill onto his belt buckle, which was actually forged from a piece of the metal skeleton of Ormagöden, the ancient Fire Beast god of a mystical alternate heavy metal universe, Riggs awakens in a strange world where heavy metal suffers under the tyrannical thumb of the evil, cloven-footed Lord Doviculus. Using every skill he’s learned from a life spent on the road and in the shadows of rock gods, Eddie must free this oppressed world from the demon reign. To do this he needs three things: a bad-ass car, an army of metal-heads, and the true power of rock and roll.
Brutal Legend is a game that can’t be classified by genre. It mixes several different several styles of gameplay, from open-world action-adventure to real-time strategy to vehicle combat, and it borrows from every genre you can think of, simplifying each core mechanic so that it is not cumbersome to the player. The game starts off by teaching you basic guitar and axe button-mashing combat, then eases into some simple driving and shooting. Before long, Brutal Legend plunges players into “Stage Battles,” which are watered-down, real-time strategy skirmishes to attack and defend rock concerts where headbangers and groupies are the meat for the heavy metal grinder. It’s an odd mixing of gameplay styles that really shouldn’t mesh together but do in the context of the crazy lore in which they are steeped.
And that’s where Brutal Legend really shines like a rainbow in the dark. It is hilariously scripted and brilliantly imaginative. The story is deep, the characters and struggles are real, and there is heartfelt emotion behind a ton of laugh-out-loud moments. It is clear from the game’s cold opening that the intention was not only to point out the absurdity of the connotation that comes with the label of heavy metal, but also to treat that source material with the love and reverence it clearly deserves. The album cover menus are the absolute best in any game to date.
Non-lovers of metal music will have a fun time with the game thanks to its visually striking look, its fun core gameplay, its truly funny script, and its A-list voice talent headlined by Jack Black, but true metal heads should immediately get hell bent for leather to find a copy of Brutal Legend. The inside jokes, cameos, and a soundtrack that may as well be a retrospective heavy metal history lesson make this a game a must own.
With two devil horns raised enthusiastically high for Brutal Legend, Shafer and his Double Fine team have masterfully tuned different gameplay strings into a completely satisfying experience that no lover of rock and roll will want to miss out on.
Review written by Nick Creature