|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Double Fine||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2-8 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
December 5, 2007 - Guitars and rock music are making a sudden encroachment into gaming. The recent releases of both Guitar Hero III and Rock Band have made certain that gamers can get their rock fix while gaming. However, what if you could combine gaming and rock n roll without making your game rhythm based? What if you could base an entire game around rock n roll music without shoehorning it into the music genre of gaming? We will find out in 2008, when creative mind and gaming celebrity Tim Schafer releases his latest brainchild, the aptly named Brutal Legend.
Brutal Legend is the story of a talented, well-known roadie named Eddie Riggs. In a bizarre, uniquely Schafer-esque twist, Riggs unknowingly possesses a cursed belt buckle, and the game begins in earnest when he accidentally gets some of his own blood on it. The belt buckle sends him back in time to an ancient time with another Schafer twist. Instead of the history that most people know from school teaching, the time that Riggs is sent back to is a strange hybrid of Nordic mythology and rock n roll legends. For example, giant tires are sprinkled in with huge sprawling forests, and exhaust pipes jut from the ground like fossils.
The story is already weird, but it quickly becomes a good premise for a game when Riggs learns that he is somehow skilled at axe combat. Riggs soon encounters the humans in this ancient, parallel world, who are being oppressed by the numerous heavy metal entities in that world. They plead with him for his aid, and he sets out on a journey to free the world from the tyranny with the knowledge he's gained as a roadie.
The rock and roll backdrop isn't just for show either. Riggs can pull out his guitar and play, which nearly amounts to a magical attack. After completing a rhythm button press mini-game, Riggs will be able to call down a fiery pyrotechnics display that will enflame the enemy, or assault foes with a strong solo that damages them, or even summon the Deuce, which is Riggs' hot rod. The Deuce can be used to run down enemies as well as the obvious main mode of transportation.
Riggs also frees different contingents of people, of which each gives him a different type of support ability. The headbangers will surround Riggs in a protective circle that attacks enemies when they get too close. Fire barons ride into battle on their motorcycles, trapping foes in a ring of fire. Bouncers attack foes directly, and the runaways are female dancers that ride into battle on your shoulders. Squad based commands allow Riggs to order these teams to a specific point, to attack foes or defend him with a touch of the control pad.
The enemies in this strange world also carry the odd rock and roll theme. There are huge spiders roaming the lands, but they are made of metal and weave webs composed of guitar string. The denizens of the land wear black and have spiked accessories. The heavy rock influence is felt throughout the game, cleverly being interjected into ancient mythology in a way that is interesting, entertaining, and makes the player curious to see the next enemy, friend, or landscape.
With such an intense focus on rock, the game wouldn't feel complete without some actual real world grounding. Many gamers will be happy to know that Jack Black, of School of Rock fame, will be headlining the game along with a host of other familiar voices, including names like Rob Halford of Judas Priest and Motorhead's Lemmy. The game will also feature a great soundtrack, including tracks from bands like Kiss, Black Sabbath, and Judas Preist, as well as some completely original tracks from artists like Rob Halford, Zakk Wylde, and Wolfmotther.
Brutal Legend is definitely looking to be a game that will make some noise in 2008. The combination of Tim Schafer's imagination with the current-gen technology and the rock and roll motif seems to equal a game worth attention. We will see if the game rocks as hard as its pedigree when it releases next year.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director