A review of Brutal Legend purchased for Steam on a Windows PC. Brutal Legends was produced by Double Fine Studios and released by EA. I just quit playing at the last level of the game because I couldn’t take anymore. This review covers what I liked and what I didn’t like about the Brutal Legend game.
The story and characters are amazing. It feels like a movie or Saturday morning cartoon. The cutscenes drip of quality. The story and story telling is really fun, and this is coming from someone who has no idea who these rock guys are. I loved every minute of the story telling parts. Really fun, with plenty of depth and twists to keep things interesting.
Atmosphere is nailed. Some of the nicest environments I’ve ever seen in a game. It feels spooky when it should feel spooky, and cool when it should feel cool. The graveyard drive is a particular highlight of the game for atmosphere.
Voice acting is something I would like to mention here. It’s voiced by the world famous Jack Black. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the guy, but I like him more for doing this voiceover. He nails the role of the protagonist like no one else. His voice, and mannerisms, are perfect for a rock group roadie guy.
The story, cutscenes and atmosphere are grade A+ quality. This is some of the best a game could possibly hope to reach. Now, on to the gameplay.
It is generally agreed that the gameplay of most Double Fine Studios games is terrible, especially when considering it’s amazing story telling depth. And Brutal Legend is no different. Brutal Legend has three gameplay parts to it. Third person combat parts, driving elements of the game and the strange RTS thing. I’ll cover each of these below.
The third person combat parts are surprisingly the most fun sections of this game. It’s just button mashing, with a bad camera, and it’s fun enough with lots of options to choose.
The driving part should be cool, but isn’t. You drive a cool car, it has machine guns attached to the front and nitro out of the back. You can affix various gadgets to the car to make it cooler. It ticks the boxes of awesome. But it’s floaty. And floaty cars NEVER work in a game, and don’t work in Brutal Legend either. You never feel tight with the car, and this would be ok. Except…
There are timed driving sections. Yes, you heard me right, timed driving sections in a floaty car. Nothing is more frustrating than timed driving sections in a floaty car. Every restart is not YOUR fault, it’s the games fault, but you get punished for it. Clipped a rock and flipped your car? Your fault game, not mine!
Finally, the weird RTS element. It starts of good, but becomes hectic, fast. And hectic with a third person view and a bad camera do not make a fun game. And I was playing on easy because I just wanted to enjoy the storyline. The end of the games requires around 5 repetitive RTS matches one after another. And it will annoy you in seconds, to the point where, like me, you will quit playing Brutal Legend out of sheer frustration. Grinding is never fun.
I think the core part of why Brutal Legend has such bad gameplay is that you get punished for mistakes you could not avoid. Mistakes that were the games fault. It wasn’t you who chipped the rock and flipped the car during the timed car mission. It was the floaty game controls. That and grindy RTS and third person gameplay make the game a chore to play through just to get to the amazing story line continuation cutscenes.
Overall, I would pay $3-4 for Brutal Legend. Any more than that and you will feel some regret once you quit playing. Having said that, the Brutal Legend story and atmosphere are exceptional, best of class material. Real triple A cuban stuff. But trust me, that grind will wear you down. It’s hard to give a score to Brutal Legend so I won’t.
You will stop playing Brutal Legend before the end, the question is how long will you last.