Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 > “Brütal Legend” Demo Impressions

“Brütal Legend” Demo Impressions

Brutal-Legend-demo

By now, everyone knows that Jack Black likes to rock. School of Rock is a much-quoted film, and most people have heard at least one song by Tenacious D, the band he formed with Kyle Gass. But do Jack Black’s rock and roll antics translate well into a video game? Last week I downloaded the Brütal Legend demo to find out.

As much as you could say Jack Black contributes to this game, you could say even more for Tim Schafer, the well-loved but never well-recognized game developer who pours his trademark cartoony art style and humor into Brütal Legend. From the opening cutscene, his vision of a world ripped straight off the covers of metal albums is impressive and engaging. The story of the game is just as ridiculous as you might expect. Jack Black’s character, Eddie Riggs, is shown in the opening cutscene as a roadie dissatisfied with the band he has to work for – a sissy pop group that claims to be heavy metal. When part of the set falls on top of him during one of the concerts, Eddie dies and wakes up in a place he describes as something “some would call hellish, but I have to admit, it’s kinda badass.” With no real idea of what to do, Eddie finds “the Separator” (a giant axe), and “Clementine” (another axe, although this time it’s the musical kind), and starts fighting the hostile creatures that attack him.

The demo consists of fighting a few different types of enemies by yourself and with a partner, a short driving segment, and eventually a boss battle. Gameplay-wise, it can be completed in a fairly short amount of time, but there’s tons of humor and other memorable moments littered throughout to make it worthwhile. The style and presentation is top-notch, and the way the gameplay and the cutscenes flow together is very well-done.

Oddly however, the whole time I felt like I was playing a kid’s game reskinned with mature, metal-themed content. The combat in the demo is fun but somewhat simplistic, and there are definitely some moves that are more powerful than others. I found it to be incredibly easy as well. There is no health bar visible on the screen, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as you won’t be needing to worry about it too much. The groups of enemies in the demo don’t take much effort to take down, but even when one or two of them do hit you, they don’t affect really anything concerning the screen or your character. Even the boss battle at the end isn’t very hard, and to further prove my feeling of this being like a kid’s game: it’s a repetitive, pattern-based kind of fight! I thought boss battles that require you dodge some pattern of attacks and then hit the boss (three times… it’s always three times for some reason) were a thing of the past… my past, specifically, when I was playing kid-oriented games on the Playstation 1 back in the day. I guess there’s nothing actually wrong with Brütal Legend feeling like a kid’s game. I just find it interesting to see game design like that used in a mature title.

My thoughts with the demo are quite positive, but while playing it has assured me that Brütal Legend will be a stylish, well-made, and very good game, I don’t think I’ll buy it (at least not for the full $60). Hack ‘n slash brawlers are not my favorite kind of games, and the combat (the core gameplay) doesn’t seem particularly deep or engaging. The appeal of Brütal Legend seems to come from the humor and style, not the play mechanics. In my book, that makes for a great rental.

By Josh60502

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