Game Review – “Brütal Legend” 2009

I wish to begin by stating that I am in no way qualified to review video games, which actually ties into what I’m saying about Brütal Legend. There’s been a lot of to-and-fro about this game on the interwebs, and  most of the criticism has been based on a perception that the ideas of the game are bigger than the mechanics of gameplay can contain. I happen to agree, but also don’t care. I friggin’ love this thing. If you’re looking for serious commentary on the way the game works by knowledgeable people who both love and hate it, head over to the forums at CHUD.

Here’s me:

-Casual gamer. I don’t buy anything the day it comes out, and usually wait for things to go on sale. For instance, Brütal Legend cost me $39 CDN of Xmas gift card on Boxing Day.

-Not a huge collector of achievements, don’t care about online stats, not going to stay up all night for the chance to change my characters’ clothes (I’d rather change my own – zing!) The last time I really strained myself was to get the Fourth Survivor mini game in Resident Evil II, and I succeeded at that by having my vacation plans go belly up, resulting in a week with nothing better to do.

-Lifelong, well-educated, dedicated fan of heavy metal music and culture.

In other words, I’m the perfect storm. If the gaming market consisted of just me and people like me, this game would sell like Avatar. I’m perfectly willing to overlook the flaws of design (schizophrenic disconnect between hack n’ slash vs. real-time strategy, repetitive escort missions, short main campaign) to bask in the glory of its metal culture perfection. The look and feel of the game is as if someone reached into my brain and pulled out every fun, stirring, and hilarious cliché from my youth, mixed with savvy topical knowledge of the way the tropes of metal actually work. Tim Schafer has left no stone (rock!)  unturned, whether it be the chrome-plated visuals, world-class character performances by real metal heavy-hitters, or the simply astonishing soundtrack.

The soundtrack, that’s where I really come in. There are over 100 metal songs played in their entirety in the game, organized into four loose categories corresponding to the heroes and villains. If you like glam, classic, black or industrial metal, there’s something good for you here. Schafer really understands his history here – the goth/black sections let Dimmu Borgir rub shoulders with King Diamond, and the main, player-aligned portions are a love letter to the NWOBHM brimming with Angel Witch, Diamond Head and other obscure treasures.

Look at it this way: buying this game is the equivalent of having a 12-disc box set of expertly selected music that happens to have a minor, but fun and well acted video game attached to it. Good deal!


4 Responses to “Game Review – “Brütal Legend” 2009”

  1. glassbane Says:

    Great thoughts, I feel like it was pulled from my head too. Great review bro.

  2. Also, as the wife of a gamer, it’s a fun one to watch/listen to!

  3. This game is great, but I have to say I find the stage battles a bit tiring. I’d rather there were just a bunch of missions instead of a RTS element.

    Soundtrack is amazing though and deserves a box set.

  4. WarSteiner Says:

    I love the game too, and for the same reasons. My favourite thing is to just get in the car, drive around listening to the radio and run things over. I really love the fact that the “metal by numbers” guy is in there making you do pointless but fun things to prove you’re better than him.
    I think I’ll go play it right now.

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