Rock out with Brütal Legend for free today

brutal

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.

14 Comments

  1. Yachmenev says:

    Not to knock of an effort too much here, but reading that feels like the author is overthinking this a bit, with that kind ofa a minireview for a free game. :P ‘

    Anyone who feels like there’s anything with the game that draws the attention should just get it, add it, and try it out for themselves.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    I really enjoyed this game. I think it got unfairly panned for not being what people expected but the RTS stuff was actually great if you didn’t go in expecting cartoon metal God of War (blame EA for marketing it wrong).

    My only problem with the game is that side missions are mostly underdeveloped and repetitive and the lack of story campaigns for the other factions. Apparently the original scope was much bigger and it definitely felt like there was supposed to be more, as the final battle feels like it comes out of nowhere. That, and an uneven difficulty curve… they could have tutorialized it a bit better.

    But man, the imaginative characters and world, driving around in your hot rod, melting faces with guitar solos, the music, the art… it’s really something.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Absolutely. This is one of the most underrated games I know. I’ve never considered myself a particular metal fan, but this was like a musical education. Roaring round the world blasting Die For Metal was something else.

    • Konservenknilch says:

      Yeah, I had a blast with as well. I went in with zero expectations, not having followed any pre-release news, and went more with gut feeling about the look&feel of the thing, the artstyle, Schaefer, Black and all that stuff. Basically it seemed to be a playable metal cover illustration (not even my kind of music), which turned out to be pretty much true.

      True, the gameplay was so-so, but not bad either. Just driving around the gameworld (oh that fantastic gameworld), killing stuff and listening to music was reward enough for me. Characters, animation, voice-acting, all top-notch. The weakest part were probably the band battles, but since it’s a rather easy game anyway, I didn’t mind them so much.

      It also helped for sure that I grew up on hybrid titles like Sacrifice (another hidden gem), Battlezone, Uprising and all those. The elements don’t always come together all that well, but still make for a unique and entertaining mix.

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    Drib says:

    I had a ton of fun with Brutal Legend, both on the Xbox initially and later on the PC.

    Yeah, there’s problems with it. But it’s also great fun tooling around the weirdo metal-themed world in your car, fighting demons and freeing dragons or whatever.

    It’s certainly worth the current price at least, and I’d recommend it to anyone who like third-person-faff-about games.

  4. mitrovarr says:

    I enjoyed this game, but it feels like it didn’t realize the potential it had. The game world is great, and there are some really great elements to the plot, but it feels like the dev team never really decided what kind of game it should be. All of the hacky-slashy bits are incongruous with the RTS bits, and fighting moves use up all the buttons, so the RTS controls suck. They desperately needed to tie it down to one genre or the other and jettison the half-baked other half.

    Also, as mentioned, the story campaign is way too short and doesn’t realize the game’s potential as an RTS at all. There are three army types and you spend at least half of the game fighting the alternate human army, leaving like 1-2 battles at the end for the demon army who is the game’s actual antagonist!

    The excellent game world, good music, and decent story is well worth the price for admission (when there was one) but it could’ve been great, had the team been a little more disciplined and been willing to tighten up the focus.

  5. mac4 says:

    Also free as of yesterday I think, MDK over at gog: link to gog.com .

    Should last just under 24 more hours.

  6. Durgendorf says:

    I played it twice to try to figure out how I missed unlocking the Overkill song.

    I’d love for them to take another stab at this to work the work out, but I feel like action rps hybrids always just devolve into mashing your was of units against theirs next to a control point until one fully dissolve.

  7. mac4 says:

    Now free at Humble, lol. Guess Black Friday madness or something: Sanctum 2, link to humblebundle.com .

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