As soon as it was announced, EA’s Brutal Legend sounded like a game that custom made for metalheads. Talking to the creators confirmed that they definitely had a love for metal. After playing it for about an hour or so, we can confirm that if you like metal and like video games, Brutal Legend is your sweet spot.
The story and graphics are great. As the game begins, roadie Eddie Riggs (enthusiastically voiced by Jack Black) is doing what he does best, guitar teching for a crappy nu-metal band, wishing he was born at a different time. When a stage collapses on him and he wakes up in his alternate reality with Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” blasting in the background, it’s apparent that this game is going to be pretty epic. Graphically, there’s a lot of skulls and metal machines, giving the game the look of a Judas Priest album cover. The story involves taking on the evil General Lionwhyte (see what they’re doing there?), and is funny, but not stupid. Subtle nods to metal are right alongside the non-subtle ones. Lemmy voices a character named the Kill Master, for example.
The soundtrack and voice acting are top notch. It’d be easy enough for Jack Black to rest on his laurels and half-ass his way through the game, but he gives it his all. On a scale of 1 (as in Year One) to 10 (as in TEN-acious D), Jack definitely ranks at least a 9. And the others that pop up during the game (Ozzy, Rob Halford, Tim Curry, Lita Ford) show that the creators definitely had enough reverence to get relevant and decent voice talent. And the soundtrack, which features 100 songs from 75 bands, is great. We’ve covered it before, but this game sounds amazing.
We havent’ mentioned the gameplay yet, and if we were to knock off any points for anything, it might be there. There’s some hack and slashing involved, as Riggs commands a battle ax and a guitar that electrocutes people. But it seems pretty arbitrary, and you don’t really get a super sense of accomplishment from the killing like it really means anything. There’s a bit of strategy involved as well, since you’ll wind up commanding armies via the directional pad. Since I didn’t play through enough of the game, I’m sure things get more rewarding as you’re able to power up and build your arsenal up, so any gameplay concerns are minor at best. Tim Schafer and crew have created a game that plays as a love note to heavy metal, and a must-own for the large cross population for headbangers and video game fans.