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Monday Morning Quarterback: Brutal Legend

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Tim Shafer’s Brutal Legend is an interesting game that ends right when the game gets good. I had an exciting 8 hours of doing a lot of different things only to find myself not at the end of an elaborate tutorial but actually the end of the game. Brutal Legend has a lot of things going for it but none of them can carry the game as a whole. I would have played a whole game’s worth of a few of them but I was instead presented an assortment of genres to play. There was driving, action, real time strategy, quick time events, and shooters to name a few. Every new event added something to the mix so I was constantly learning new rules in the game. Even in the final battle I had new and different tactics to use to win.

What did the game do right? Well, it had a very talented group of voice actors. You have Jack Black as the main character of the game which really made the game fun. Add in Ozzy and a few other folks and you see some top notch voice acting which raises the production value of the game a lot. This talent carried the story further and made it a little easier to swallow.

Another thing the game did right was the art style. The characters looked cool and so did the monsters. The world was really held together with its theme. I enjoyed exploring the world and felt comfortable there. It was inviting and fun to interact with.

That is kind of where it ends for me though. I felt the story was rushed. They spent a lot of time in the early part of the game to get you invested. Then it drops sharply only to overload you with big reveals and then bang! It’s the end. I would have liked a little more time to digest it all. The story fits together in the end but there are sizable chunks missing I think that should have been told.

Brutal Legend has so many different genres going. It is an action game one moment. Then it’s a strategy game and then a racer. They did them all well but none of them seemed to be the focus of the game. Also, why would you reward the player with an upgrade that really only has a benefit for racing after you have completed all of the racing? Why do I constantly get new units in the strategy part of the game but never have time to really get used to them? I really think things got cut in production, so much so that we saw a very streamlined version of the game. Usually I am all about a streamlined and compact game experience if it seems complete but here it doesn’t.

I was ready for the rest of the game to start once the game came to an end. I felt the tutorial was finally over and I could play the game. Sadly there was no more game. It didn’t make me long for a sequel. It made me long for the game I should have still been playing. I want that game. I feel tricked since the beginning area was so front loaded and top heavy with stuff to do. Once the map opened up more I was sad to discover myself rushed through and then with little to do in those areas anyway when I stopped to go back.

There is a lot of stuff hidden in the world. You don’t need any of it. Which is kind of a good decision to make but at the same time it really doesn’t add anything to my play experience. It didn’t add much to my play time either since I was still able to get all the garages, solos and half of the dragon statues and songs. Sorry,  I will say the new music did add to my play experience and the soundtrack was all around solid. Kudos to the sound department on this game for great voice talent and music.

What do you get for giving me only part of a story and too many styles of game with no focus? 3 stars out of 5. I suspect there was a better Brutal Legend game out there to be developed sadly it wasn’t the one delivered.

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