Brütal Legend, Double Fine’s heavy metal action-RTS hybrid, is completely free on the Humble Store. It was also free yesterday, so let’s pretend I told you about this 24 hours ago. Once you grab it, it’s yours to keep. You’ve still got a day and change to pick it up, so get on it.If it’s not already in your library, then you’ve been missing out, though it is a tad uneven. Half of it is an over-the-top, kinetic action game, and that’s ultimately the good part. But then, after you’ve worked your way through the story of Jack Black’s roadie-turned-saviour, you’ll unlock the RTS half, and it’s… not great.
I’ll let Alec, who reviewed the Brütal Legend PC port in 2013, take over.
It’s not an RTS: there are RTS bits in there, and like the driving elements and the open world aspect those bits just don’t quite stand up on their own. The ever-flipping, ever-spinning buggy you can summon to drive at any point is frequently a headache to control, while its weapons’ unreliable auto-aim rams home that sense of not really being in control. The strategy bits are too badly hampered in the name of making them work on a gamepad, with the opportunity to add much-needed stuff like per-squad control and hotkeys (I know, I know, I’m making RPS a parody of itself) for the PC version sadly not taken. The battles look great and there’s a wide variety of reliably silly, art-staff-gone-wild units, but I quickly found myself dreading the irregular junctures they’d arrive at.
Brütal Legend, then, is good in spite of its not insignificant issues. Like so much of Double Fine’s output, a lot of that is down to the exceptional world and immediately likable characters that populate it. Black is as loud and energetic as he’s ever been, and for the classic metal fans among you, he’s joined by the likes of Lemmy and Ozzy and their peculiar in-game alter egos. And what a world they reside in; it’s like someone built a world out of heavy metal album covers. Not surprisingly, it’s got a killer soundtrack, too.