Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brutal Legend on PS3 Impression

Brutal Legend on PS3
Brütal Legend on PlayStation 3 is everything there is to love about an original video game in the sequel heavy market. It’s beautiful to look at, easy to play and navigate and sports a story and humor that the talented case of voices only helps to enhance. This is just the tip of the berg; this is one deep game that finally gets the mainstream attention that creator Tim Schafer missed with PsychoNauts on the last generation of consoles. So how does a game starring Jack Black with a focus on Metal (music folks, music) succeed so well, let’s take a look …

Gameplay – 3rd person action time folks. Main character Eddie Riggs runs around wielding his battle axe (melee attacks) and guitar (magic attacks). He can jump into his ride to traverse the large world finding ‘secrets’ everywhere. These secrets include locked dragon icons which when unlocked help to increase health as well as history and landmark icons. Side missions about also from transporting kegs to ambushes. The main action consists of boss battles which are usually Eddie alone, and Stage Battles. The Stage Battles are interesting as they feel quazi RTS-ish (the Sega classic Herzog Zwei was inspiration) but they are not. Gamers control Eddie and all his moves from melee attacks to team-up attacks (powerful) but they also need to secure Fan geysers, think resources, to turn the scale of battle and be revived as well as troops. A quick interface allows for the ‘building’ of a variety of troop types who take the field and go at it. They are pretty smart, stay in groups and follow basic commands so not to much resource management here. Battles get pretty crazy so ordering up troops to suite the situation is a snap decision, it’s like being in a mosh pit and texting your girl … possible but the results may not always be desired. There is also a decent multi-player, online option but the single-player game is so many by itself.

Graphics – As stated the game world feels like an old album cover from the best of the metal albums. There’s metal, babes, iconic, ruined landmarks and so much more. The world feels open and easy to maneuver with detail down to the last flower. The game is not supposed to be ultra-realistic such as Uncharted but rather takes a more Jak & Daxter approach that suites Tim’s imagination perfectly. The graphics reflect a snippet of what must be in Schafer’s head in all their next-gen, HD glory.

Sound – Triple-A on all fronts from the genuine metal music to the freaking awesome voice talent. There’s Jack Black but also Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead, Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few and even the sub-characters sound good. By far a soundtrack that suits the game theme, perfect, and no other world need be used for sound and
Brütal Legend.

Design – Tim Schafer is both genius and a bit scary, but they go hand-in-hand anyway. Nothing about Brütal Legend’s design feel been there, done that. The characters are well designed, some feel pulled from That 70’s Show, while the beasties look like something out of Hell Raiser. Anyone familiar with Schafer’s prior work should expect the unexpected, out of this world design but for those new to Schafer just know this; Brütal Legend looks like no game you’ve played before and this is a very, very good thing. Even with the unique design the controls don’t take really any learning curve to get up to speed with, another design accomplishment … it feels natural from start.

Miscellaneous – The music man, it’s the music! Well, partly actually. The music, metal, influence from Tim’s younger years comes through in such clarity that it’s sure to ignite a revival of the genre … not that’s its dead or anything. Eddie’s character is stuck in modern times serving as roadie to all that is wrong with music today when he’s thrown back to an age, a place and time that just feels right for him. A land build by a metal beast/god that needs some liberation from and evil overlord, enter Doviculus. Eddie is not the hero, he’s the roadie to support lead(er) Lars Halford. The way Tim dumped his imagination into this disc is simple excellent and through unlockable art and more gamers can really see how a game should be crafted.

Overall, there is much more to Brütal Legend then the highlights mentioned above. The story holds more secrets and fun and one of the biggest selling points is the humor, twisted and normal, subtle facial expressions from the characters that Schafer brings across. Pop in the disc, meet Jack Black and be quickly introduced to Eddie as he’s thrown into a world of metal that needs saving that only the best roadie can carry out. Take up axe, guitar and car to slash and smash through 1:1 battles and stage battles while killing some of the craziest looking characters this side of Hell Raiser and thrown in a dash of RPG upgradability and tons of exploration and that’s Tim Schafer’s world of legend. A great game, a great ride but only apply if you’ve a taste for metal, Jack Black and some bloody and gore … good times.

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