Eddie Riggs is a roadie, and a pretty luckless one at that. He spends most of his time smoking cheap cigarettes and lugging heavy things around for the worst metal band on the planet. What serendipitous fate, then, that the whole not-but-actually-really-Linkin Park dies totally gruesomely right at the start of the game when Eddie accidentally awakens Ormagöden, “The Fire Beast, Cremator of the Sky, and Destroyer of the Ancient World”, ridding this world of a great and terrible evil and packing Eddie off to another one that needs some saving. Hey, it’s what roadies do. Also, this new world is much, much cooler than grotty old planet Earth because it’s every heavy metal album cover from 1978 to 2009 rocked and rolled into one gigantic landscape stuffed with massive swords, skulls, tombstones, panthers that shoot lasers out their eye sockets, and everything else totally ****ing metal and therefore totally ****ing awesome. If Frank Frazetta, Andreas Marshall, and Christian Wåhlin contrived somehow to subvert the very mechanisms of nature itself and somehow have a baby that’s also somehow an entire continent, this would be it. That would also be totally ****ing metal.
Brütal Legend is metal fan service, through and through. If you don’t get metal, you’re probably not going to get much out of Brütal Legend either. Me, I’m into my metal, and playing Brütal Legend is kinda like flipping through my CD collection and killing a bunch of stuff with a possessed guitar at the same time, which is also totally ****ing metal.
So anyway, the game’s a mashup of brawling, Guitar Hero, hotrod road hogging, and real-time strategy stage battles. That’s not only totally ****ing metal, it’s also totally ****ing unprecedented, and just like any progressive metal album trying to break new ground, it’s tripping up here and there (except for Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album, of course, which rules, and rules hard).
The brawling works out. It feels something like Overlord/Fable/Viking/that sort of game, so there’s a lot of running around in circles and chopping stuff up. As you explore the land, you’ll find new solos to play on your guitar, that are really just quick time events pretending to be a really innovative and ingenious approach to ultimate combos. Of course, the Facemelter is endlessly hilarious, so that’s okay. Eddie can also double-team with nearby allies, pulling an assortment of special manoeuvres that can be all the difference between epic win, epic fail, and totally ***ing metal.
The road hogging works out mostly. At the start of the game, the Druid Plow hotrod handles like a greased pig on the run from Mayhem’s stage crew, although a few performance upgrades in the Motor Forge goes some way to mitigating this later on. This doesn’t much make up for at least one early escort mission being exceedingly – and quite needlessly – frustrating, however.