Reader Review: Brütal Legend

Reader Review: Brütal Legend
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Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Mitch does, as he can’t take his eyes off Lars’ sword.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Mitch Alexander. If you’ve played Brütal Legend, or just want to ask Mitch more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Brütal Legend (Xbox 360, PS3)

Tim Shafer’s long-delayed action-adventure/RTS hybrid finally hits shelves, but is it as legendary as its title?


Story & Characters: Brütal Legend’s strongest points are its story, humour and characters. The voice acting is top-notch and the characters’ dialogue is as hilarious as it is compelling. The heavy metal in-jokes and easter eggs keep the game entertaining throughout.

Art Direction: While the graphics aren’t exactly cutting edge, the game does look fantastic with character designs and polished cut-scene animations that wouldn’t be out of place in a Pixar film.

Soundtrack: The head-banging soundtrack delivers in spades for the metal faithful. Besides the obvious inclusion of the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, Brutal Legend features great non-mainstream acts like Slough Feg and Testament lovingly mined from metal’s myriad sub-genres.


Gameplay: The mashup of RTS and third-person action simply doesn’t work. The third-person sequences are like God of War-Lite and the RTS elements are hampered by a simple but ultimately clumsy interface. While I appreciate what Schafer and Double Fine have attempted to do here, Brütal Legend’s gameplay is disappointingly average.

Secondary Missions: Like most free-roaming titles, there are numerous side missions available for explorers to track down and complete. All well and good, except there’s little variation between missions and limited incentive to bother completing them beyond weapon upgrades and collecting more Nerd Points for your Gamer Profile.

Short and Shallow: The story – as great as it is – is incredibly short and can easily be completed in 6-8 hours. The repetitive nature of the side missions and the RTS-based multiplayer do little to improve the game’s longevity.

While the game’s slick production and soundtrack help create an entertaining weekend’s worth of gaming, the flawed mechanics and short-lived story see Brütal Legend falling far short of its hype.

Reviewed by: Mitch Alexander

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • Its not a good sign to buy a game when the first thing under hated is “gameplay”

    i was wise in giving this a miss and waiting for borderlands

  • I agree with everything bar gameplay, which I find to be wicked fun – but then again, I never played God of War (though I don’t think that’s what they were aiming for).

  • I was going to miss it anyway. For some reason i just dont find this kind of thing ‘cool’ or appealing like everyone else does. I like a more serious game than this. I also dislike Jack Black.

    • Yeah man, by not being ‘cool’ like everyone else, you in turn become ‘cool’. Wait … but then you are being ‘cool’ which would mean you aren’t ‘cool’. Just stick with the frowning dude and wait for Razor Blade Hero to be released. I mean…whatever.

  • Hated

    Snippy comment about sucky wait for online games, usually wait for an 30mins trying to get a game. anyone else have these issues?

  • What the HELL is with short games these days? It seems i was just starting to get into Brutal legend when BAM, it was over. I hadn’t even gotten all of the solos!

    And don’t try and say ‘but there are all these side missions you haven’t done!’ i’m not going to race a demon, fire a cannon, or shoot lazers from my car 50 thousand times because the devs were too lazy to make the game longer.

    What ever happened to single player games lasting 8-10 hours minimum, with RPG’s double or tripple that. Where have all the Half-Lifes, the Diablos, the Dues Exs and Quakes gone?

  • Yeah the gameplay was pretty interesting. I actually didnt mind how they mashed up the action/adventure stuff and the RTS. My only complaint is the AI is far too easy.

    I actually found the story really let me down once you left the Bladehenge region (and go to the mountains). It becomes pretty linear and seems like they had to squish the last 3/4 of the game into the last half. Also I didn’t like the Goth land much, compared to the glorious metalness of Bladehenge.

    I just rented it, and I think most people should. Its not really worth the full price of the game. Maybe wait till its on sale somewhere. Its a pitty because it had so much potential. I think if they had stuck with the zelda dynamic of collecting solos (items) and such, that would have been a lot more solid basis for the gameplay.

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