A year or so ago, I was reading a copy of Game Informer and came across an article that talked about a game called Brutal Legend. The article itself talked primarily about Jack Black's contributions to the game more so than anything else. As a result my first instinct was that the game was going to be a joke. In a way I was right. It is a joke. A comedy to be more precise. And yes, Brutal Legend just might be one of the funniest games out there. But it's also a game that might not appeal to everyone. If you love Heavy Metal music and Jack Black... there's no reason not to try it. If you're not a heavy metal fan or a Jack Black fan you might want to reconsider.
There's a fantastic comedic essence about the game that comes out in the intro. Eddie Riggs is a roadie that travels with a band. This gives Jack Black and creative director Tim Schafer a chance to really comment on the state of music. In the intro you've got Eddie Riggs who is decked out in the standard heavy metal attire, but the band he's a roadie for is wearing toned down clothes and is texting on a sidekick. Eddie is also in charge of the stage designs, which the band he works for doesn't like because it doesn't appeal to their "tween" audience. For those who are annoyed with the next big pop sensation or groups like the Jonas Brothers (I feel bad even for mentioning them in this review) the intro only becomes more fun for you. As the band gears up they start rocking out only to be reduced to playing in the same style as other typical boy-girl groups (that is to say they're a boy band that is there for the sake of girls). Rather than tell you more about the intro, I think it would just be better to post it here:
The story in Brutal Legend isn't serious in the slightest, but it is fun. As of writing this review I'm not too far in, but I've experienced enough to tell you quite a bit about it. The intro is fun enough that you don't mind it's a little long. It takes a moment to really jump into the gameplay aspect of the game. But when you do it's a lot of fun. You wield an axe (because what else would a rocker use as his standard weapon?) which you can use to basically hack and slash through many of your enemies. You can also do some pretty devastating attacks with your guitar on your back. These are pretty powerful moves, but the game will keep you from spamming the awesomeness of your guitar. It's funny but it's also very cool at the same time. And throughout you'll hear some of Eddie Riggs's comments. Some are funny, some fall flat, but there's very rarely a "bad" joke which comes from Eddie's mouth.
There are also a couple of driving sequences which are pretty standard and basic, but you can mow down the enemies in your way. In truth, you get the sense that the developers had a lot of fun developing this thing. Some of the boss fights are also big and incredible to behold. And throughout the adventure you'll be listening to quite a bit of heavy metal music. This is why I say that if heavy metal isn't your thing, you might not really like Brutal Legend. There's lots of heavy metal music and all the fun dark themes that involve satanic and demonic things that you'd expect. The game is, by and large, ingeniously designed.
It's that design that makes Brutal Legend so unique. The main menu, for example, is a vinyl record that as you go through the options it flips open and you explore it accordingly. Some of the look is cartoony, but for the most part, it's hardcore stuff. You'll either love the artistic design or hate it. The point is, however, the guys who designed this game knew exactly who they wanted to play it and they appeal to those people specifically.
As you might expect from its M-Rating, Brutal Legend is, well, Brutal. There's a lot of blood and gore. If this offends you or something, you can easily turn it off. No harm no foul. And you can turn it off whenever you want. There's also a great deal of swearing which, again you can turn on or off. Personally, I turn the swearing off. Not because it offends me (it better not offend me, I do it quite a bit in the lists I post on this site), but because the bleeps add to the comedic essence of the game. But being able to control that sort of thing is pretty handy for those who want to play it freely with their kids around.
There's nothing that really holds Brutal Legend down. When I first heard about it, it didn't seem like much at all, but now that I've gotten a chance to play it, the real quality of the game comes out. It's fun to behold and should be more fun for those who fell in love with Heavy Metal. Nearly everything about the production values of Brutal Legend shines. The artistic design is incredible, the background music enjoyable and the voice acting is top notch, especially from Jack Black who manages to have a lot of energy at every turn. In short, this wasn't just some gimmick of a game. There was a lot of care and devotion put into it to make sure it was good as well as clever. And it is. It's a ton of fun. Some of the most you could hope to have.
The game is available on both the 360 and the PS3. No one has stated that there are any major differences. It's not like if you pick up the 360 version you're going to suddenly get a bunch of content that isn't on the PS3 and vice versa. So take your pick of whichever version you want. Either way, if you love Heavy Metal and Jack Black you'll probably enjoy it. So have some fun with Brutal Legend. It's unique and in a class all on its own. It won't appeal to everyone, but I can see this thing becoming a cult classic in the future. It's one of the rare games out there that doesn't try to appeal to everyone, but rather it knows who it wants to appeal to. And those people would be making a mistake in passing it up.