“Brutal Legend” Review

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Wade Manns – The Corsair

Brutal Legend
Produced by Electronic Arts and Double Fine Productions
Genre: third person action, real-time strategy
Rating: mature (blood, language, suggestive themes)

Jack Black is one of the most entertaining and unique actors on the Hollywood scene today; he started work in the comedic band he founded alongside Kyle Gass known as Tenacious D, and his career only went up from there. This is his first videogame, and if it’s any indication, he will be in high demand in the field of voice acting for many years to come.

The story of this game is a rather unique one: Eddie Riggs (voiced by Black) is the world’s best roadie, best at not being seen doing what needs to be done behind the scenes. One day while preparing the stage for an extremely weak hair metal band to which he is attached, something… interesting happens, and his blood somehow gets on to an enchanted belt buckle; what follows is an extremely surrealistic experience, in which Eddie is transported to a sort of alternate universe based largely around heavy metal and the battle between it and hair metal.

Through a combination of his axe which he finds early on, the Separator, and his “axe,” his guitar named Clementine, Eddie cuts a swath through his enemies, and electrocutes or immolates them due to the added magical power this new realm gives his guitar. He’ll need these abilities, as well as help from several supporting characters, such as the Forge Master (voiced by Ozzie Osbourne), to upgrade his attacks, his weapons and his hot rod, the Deuce, and the Kill Master (voiced by Lemmy from Motorhead, whose last name is Kilmister), to heal his allies in combat.

Along with the action, there is a real-time strategy element in which you can command your units to attack or defend various targets in the completion of your missions. You may also go down into combat during these sequences, as well as take them on in multiplayer with or against several other people at once.

With the good must come the bad; thankfully though, Brutal Legend doesn’t have much of that. Sometimes it’s difficult to micromanage various tasks as is often the case in real-time strategy games, but it’s not too big of a deal. Also, poor Eddie can’t jump! This is a glaring omission, but it’s not game-breaking in the least.

The visual style of the game is based on classic heavy metal album covers, complete with grand, metallic monsters and epic, wide landscapes. The modeling of Eddie Riggs to look like Jack Black is accurate if slightly caricatured, as is that of most other characters I’ve seen. The soundtrack is filled with classic metal tunes, and the voice acting is some of the best I’ve heard in games recently.

I strongly urge you to go pick this up if you haven’t already; if you’re a big fan of heavy metal music, or of games in general, you will not regret it! A solid five stars!