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Telling the tale of Eddie Riggs, the ultimate roadie, Brutal Legend on PS3 and 360 consoles is a heavy metal action game featuring the voices of Jack Black, Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and Ozzy Osbourne. Sucked into an ancient fantasy world populated by music-hating demons, players will experience some intense and brutal third-person combat as Eddie fights his way through the legions of hell, determined to bring real Rock n Roll back to the world. This is dialled all the way up to 11 in true Spinal Tap style.
Coming from the pen of Tim Shafer (Psychonauts and MOnkey Islands), Brutal Legend features the voice and likeness of Jack Black as Eddie Rigg in an incredible humorous romp through the world and culture of heavy metal music. After being drawn back through time to a mythical world where grotesque Metal titans rule the earth, you get asked to help an oppressed people and begin your journey to bring this world into the Age of Metal.
Although much of the combat is hacking and slashing with Eddie's 'The Separator' broad axe, there's a variety of ways to take on enemies including the demon-slayer guitar called Clementine and a customisable hot rod that's great for ploughing through the bad guys. There's also the opportunity to summon groups of 'Headbangers', devout followers that you can direct in battle through a series of Guitar Hero-style minigames.
The game features some of the most iconic and recognisable faces from the world of rock, with superstars like Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy from Motorhead lending their voices and likenesses to the game. Appearing as crucial characters, they add so much richness to the experience and are aided by an hilarious script that hits all the right rock metal buttons.
Written by Tim Shafer, whose writing credits include Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, Brutal Legend's humour really shines out as the game's highest point. Witty, funny and sharp with satirical observations on everything to do with Rock, Roadies and Heavy Metal, it's the central core of the game that makes it such a pleasure to play on Xbox 360 and PS3.
Not only do the characters fill the world up with personality but the environments are impressive, unique and chuckle-worthy. Instead of the usual fire and brimstone demon-riddled worlds, Brutal Legend is inspired by some of the most iconic album art ever created. The open-world is packed full of detail with mountains made out of guitar amps (and skulls) to huge gates counterweighted by massive V8 engines. It's also occupied by some interesting enemies beside the ubiquitous demons. Goths, Emo's and a collection of impressive bosses fill the game up with some innovative encounters and laugh out loud moments.
The game takes a different turn when you go online. Here the action is akin to a real-time-strategy game and it's actually the process of careful planning, rather than straight up brawling, that gets results. This is quite a refreshing change from the main game and it's good to see such attention lavished on something that could've been easily omitted. Although the individual mechanics can be overwhelming at times, with double-teaming and troop management requiring some serious brain-power, its well worth learning. With the humour still present from the single-player campaign, this felt just as essential to play as following Eddie Riggs in his adventures.
My only concern was having the main character voiced and modelled on Jack Black. But rather than being overbearing and too wacky, he brings the right kind of voice and character. The writing plays up to his talents and I found it impossible to keep a straight face when playing Brutal Legend for any period of time. His presence and the incredibly satisfying combat mechanics make this into the most hilarious experience I've ever played.
Add to all this a fully licensed soundtrack that brings some of the best Metal and Rock 'n Roll songs to bear and you have a rounded charismatic winner that's just as much a successful action game as it is a satire about the world of rock and heavy metal.
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