I’ve been a huge fan of Tim Schafer and Jack Black for quite a while. So you could imagine my excitement when the first rumor of the two of them working together for Double Fine’s second game. It was around a year ago that Jack Black was seen walking around with a Double Fine shirt, greasing up the rumor mill. It became official when the November issue of Game Informer came out.
The game has had some publishing issues since then, with Sierra being bought by Activision. The title was then promptly dropped, only to spend months with no publisher until EA picked it up. Lawsuits ensued, then were promptly settled out of court. Now we’re a few painfully brutal months from the game’s release, ROCKtober 13th. That’s not to say we’ll have to wait un-sated these long weeks.
Today the full demo release of the Brutal Legend demo came out the Xbox 360(sorry PS3, tomorrow you get your game). The demo is over a gig and a half large. Rather than taking the best parts of the game from things you collect half way through, or one of the worst parts of the game(I’m looking at you Bionic Commando), they just take the opening segment of the game.
The opening screen is far from what I would expect from a game. It’s a simple record sleeve. Going through the different little options makes you go through the different parts of the record sleeve. It’s subtle, but a rather brilliant start menu for a game.
The actual game starts with a cutscene showing you who the main character, Eddie Riggs, actually is. He’s a roadie, one of the best, for a “heavy metal” tween band. I don’t quite want to spoil how, but Riggs is sent to another world, a twisted world of callous destruction. This metal landscape is amazingly well designed and rendered. It stretches on and on, and is dotted with grotesque creatures. The gore in the game is surprising, and toggled on or off at the first decapitation, a few minutes into the game.
The gameplay seems simple from the demo. One button is attack with battleaxe, another is attack with instrumental axe. You can string them together for knock up combos, or use them independently. Shock one enemy with the guitar, then slice the stunned enemy with the battleaxe.
Team-up moves with nearby allies can be quickly and easily set up for devastating results. The druid plow, Rigg’s car, is great to control, which it does superbly and as advertised. I’m worried about this simplicity, but upgrading the weapons will undoubtedly help this. The addition of squad control, which is not featured in the demo, will likely also make a huge difference in the gameplay.
Schafer’s writing shows in the demo. It’s much more subtle in the beginning of the demo, where Riggs is forced to be a subservient roadie. When Riggs starts slicing his way through S&M priests then the humor starts flowing. I was halfway tempted to just avoid progressing through the game just to hear Riggs awkwardly praying to a demon god while controlling a four legged skeletal… thingy. You definitely feel that Schafer feels liberated by the M-rating with the amount of profanity that you can, quite hilariously, turn off or on at the first F-bomb.
The voice acting is absolutely amazing. For a few brief seconds I was wondering if Riggs actually was voiced by Black due to the character’s deep calm voice. He did a great job for the demo, and I can only assume it continues through out the rest. Ophelia, Rigg’s love interest, is likewise well voiced, but more expected than Jack Black’s. The supremely metal soundtrack is featured in the demo, and it is beyond awesome.
Brutal Legend has got to be my most anticipated game this year, and the demo did not disappoint. I cannot stress how excited I am for this game. The demo is out now. If you have a gold xbox live account and an Xbox 360 you MUST DOWNLOAD IT. The PSN demo comes out tomorrow. I can only hope that, for once, a review copy for this game actually comes in this time.