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Game Info:

Brutal Legend
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Published by: Double Fine Productions
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action, Strategy
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Rated M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes   
Price: $14.99
(Humble Store Link)

Have you ever had one of those friends who would never shut up about a certain artist or era in a genre of music? Have you ever had a friend who would not stop talking about a certain celebrity no matter how clear you made it that you just didn't care? That's what Brutal Legend was for me: a celebrity ego boost, a metal head's fantasy land that really overstated this genre of music. I’ve worked in music for a few years now on the side, and I respect all genres even if it's not my personal taste in music. Yet metal can and has been a lot more than what it was in the 70’s. This is Brutal Legend.

Brutal Legend stars Eddie Riggs, a old school heavy metal roadie down on his luck, working for a modern rock band. Due to a stage accident and a small bit of blood on his belt buckle, a metallic demon teleports him to a world of hellish creatures, skulls, and rock. He discovers that humans are enslaved by General Lionwhyte and a demon named Emperor Doviculus. By uniting with other humans and building the IronHeade army, Eddie Riggs takes the show to these foes of freedom.

Now while the story may interest some, the gameplay is depressingly average. You  have melee attacks and you can summon lightning strikes with your guitar. Throughout the game you'll unlock combos that give you knockback attacks, area of effect strikes and strong melee blows. You'll also find tab slabs, ancient stones that teach you guitar solos. These solos will give you powerful attacks to wipe out units or particular buffs. Some of these songs will just rally your living troops to your location or set a rally flag for new units to run to in the megastage battles. Megastage battles are the real time strategy components of the game. You and an enemy army will face off while you summon units through your grand stage. You must build merchant booths to channel fans as a resource to summon units. Victory is obtained by destroying the enemy megastage or outlasting a wave of enemies. Other then that the game consists of mostly exploring the world for collectibles and completing missions to buy upgrades from Ozzy Osbourne.

Brutal Legend
Highlights:

Strong Points: A decent hack and slash with a lot of clever ideas, It has a unique take on the RTS genre
Weak Points: The story will only appeal to the most hardcore metal fans, everything else has been done better by games before or after this one
Moral Warnings: Heavy Metal equals Heavy amounts of demonic symbolism in this game. You'll have blood and f bombs up the wazoo but you can censor things

When you're not in a RTS style battle, the hack and slashing through enemies is just easy and boring. Once you get your first solo attack, facemelter, most enemies are a joke to deal with. Changing the difficulty of the solo game will not affect enemy health, only damage. This was most likely because, aside from one or two bosses, the enemies you face are all summoned enemies from the RTS parts of the game. One of the collectible things you can do in the world map, freeing snake statues, will increase your health and health regeneration by the same amount no matter the difficulty. If you are having a hard time, just go free a few more to get stronger. The game took me about 12 hours to beat on normal difficulty.

The story reminds you how “great” Eddie Riggs is. I am sure Jack Black, the voice actor, loved it. The story and the world is way too metal for its own good. Statues of iron crosses, blades and guitars are everywhere. The world has amps and stage gear littered all over. Plus you can't go five minutes in this story without being reminded about the power of heavy metal. The other characters you meet, such as Lars, Ophelia and Lita are all boring. They are just there to add to Eddie's ego boost. Even when Ophelia drinks from the sea of black tears to become a evil emo zombie queen thing, you'll just be reminded about the ham-fisted love story between her and Eddie. If you don't love metal or Jack Black, you'll find this story to be a generic hero story. He's summoned from Earth to an alternate world, brings people together, saves the day and gets the girl.

Brutal Legend
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 68%
Gameplay - 10/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 18%
Violence - 1/10
Language - 3/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 0/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 0/10

Multiplayer is long since dead but you can face the AI. You can play as Eddie leading Ironheade, Drowned Ophelia leading Drowning Doom or Doviculus leading Tainted Coil. You face off megastage against megastage; first stage to fall is the loser. Changing difficulty only makes the AI smarter. Though each faction has different units and guitar solos that your leader can use, none of these factions stand out in a unique way. You don't feel like a commander leading an army, you're just pressing buttons to watch people do the work for you. Even if the leader gets involved, it feels hollow. I can't judge the balance of this mode due to lack of human players.

The thing with stereotypical metal tropes is that it still affects the moral score. You'll have pentagrams, demonic symbols and gore up to your knees with this game. That also includes sexualized BDSM style portrayal of demons. You have plenty of foul language to deal with too. You can tone down gore and censor swear words if you wish. This game loves to celebrate rock and roll yet I feel this genre of music wasn't all piles of corpses, sexualized bdsm demons and blackness. However Brutal Legend really likes to remind you how brutal and dark metal really is.

For gamers out there, it might be fun once yet you won't find much of a reason to play Brutal Legend twice. If you're not a fan of metal, you probably will enjoy this game even less.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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