Hands on With Brutal Legend
The path to success has never been an easy one for Tim Schafer, as he has made some critically acclaimed hits, but none have ever reached a huge level of monetary success. After having Brutal Legend toil through the Activision-Vivendi merger, we now have EA that swept in to pick up the pieces and give Brutal Legend the attention and advertising that the game, and Tim Schafer need to make this game a success.
Of course, advertising won’t make Brutal Legend any good, but thankfully, the folks at Double Fine have been working on every little detail to capture the true feel of what it would be like to be sucked into an 80′s heavy metal record cover. After my time with Brutal Legend, I can say that so far it looks to be another critical success with a solid story, great action and quirky characters that we have come to enjoy in a Double Fine production.
My playtime centered around the battle against the nun that looks like a big ugly demon, as well as finding your female cohort in crime in the adventure series. Right off the bat, you see the world that Eddie Riggs, our main character voiced by Jack Black, and it is has all the elements you would expect of a rocking action/adventure game. Skulls litter the ground, there was a cathedrel where candles were strewn about, lighting up the place, and of course, we find a rock with a big ass axe sitting inside of it, similar to the way Arthur found Excalibur. Eddie draws out the axe and finds it is christened “The Separator”. Eddie also had his trusted axe for this section of the game, called “Clementine”.
The controls were simple enough to pick up, with one button assigned to your axe attacks, and another to strum out shocking riffs from your guitar. You also have a block button and a block button to help defend you from the inevitable overwhelming attacks that you will receive at points in the Brutal Legend. As tthe game transitioned from a cutscene to the actual batte with the Demon Nun, I noticed how well the animations for the characters looked very detailed, and the world gave a feeling of being in the bowels of hell. At first I thought this would just be a button masher, but you cannot just wield attacks without thinking, as some attacks run out of juice, or have a cool down period. Case in point is that I tried to strum my way out of battle using my blistering guitar solos to electrify the demon nun, but after a few attacks, Eddie has to put the guitar away, as it is too hot to play. The guitar starts to get red hot while he is playing it, so you cannot just continously use the attack to wipe out foes. It is fun to watch Eddie riff to the point of a smoking guitar and then have him blowing on his fingers to cool them down.
Using a combination of slashing axe attacks and guitar solos, I did manage to take down the Demon Nun. At this point, we get to see some classic Schafer humor as we need to use the Demon Nun’s travelling carriage to get me to the next part of the level, but it is powered by prayer. So Eddie gets down on one knee and starts letting out with one of the funniest monologues I have heard in quite some time. Pray is probably not suppose to be funny, but the things that come out of Eddie’s mouth are priceless and hilarious.
At the bottom of the trail, we gained a new attack, called the Earth Shaker, that allows me to jump in the air and slam down on to the ground. The attack really helped with pushing enemies out of the way as they started to gang up on me. I also noticed the environmental damage at this point in the game. It seems that almost all of the environment can be destroyed. I was not sure if the environment can be used to kill enemies, but one thing that you can use is your teammate and possible love interest, Ophelia. After you meet Ophelia, in another funny cutscene, you can then use her to help you attack by pressing a button. She launches herself off of you to attack an enemy, and is a capable fighter on her own.
My time with the demo concluded at this point, and I have to say that right now, EA has a true hit on their hands come October. The game seems to mix up enough of the action and adventure elements, and Brutal Legend’s setting is something new and different, that should be golden with a touch of Schafer’s inevitable magic that makes his games so much fun to play. Thanks to Ben Swanson for getting us some time on the demo, and look for Brutal Legend on October 13th.