Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Brutal Legend: Game Design Review

Brutal Legend by Tim Schafer of Double Fine productions is a hybrid game. Half of Brutal Legend is an action RTS game most similar to Battlezone and Sacrifice to teach you the controls of controlling the main character.  The other half is a sand box where which you drive around in to find stuff and play missions. The stuff and upgrades will carry over to the RTS portion.

What I liked:
Atmosphere- It's a Tim Scahfer game so of course it has a wonderful atmosphere and brilliantly creative metal world!

Music- Lots of awesome music. I didn't actually metal music but if I did, I would be in metal heaven.

3 unique factions- When I actually tried the RTS portion of the game by playing a single player battle I was actually quite impressed by the actual three different sides which were different enough with a variety of tactics and units.

What I didn't like:
Boring overworld- lots to do but I found it a bit pointless. It didn't grab me like Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row. The overworld feels empty, too big and the sandbox missions very bland.

Worse, the spells/skills that you can use in battle have to be found, but good luck finding them as they are hidden! Generally you'll find one per location you visit, but I just didn't have any particular desire to go driving around the area find them so I only had 3 or 4 at the end of the game. To it's credit, you really only need a handful to finish the game.

RTS hobbled by the controls- It's just hard to create groups or feel like you're having a solid strategy aside from making sure you have a balanced group. According to an interview with Tim Schfar you're suppose to play it as an action game guiding a mostly single group to victory.

Comparing it to Battlezone and Sacrifice, both games are way more fun and deep when it comes to strategy. Actually I think Sacrifice is mostly controlled chaos but at least it didn't have tedious overworld driving like Brutal Legend. Instead Sacrifice had branching levels and choices.

Lack of campaigns- You only get to play one side, the Ironhede side which is a bit of a shame. I think playing all three factions in the campaign would have mixed up the monotony of the game.

I do think Brutal Legend is worth playing once simply because the atmosphere, graphics and writing are simply amazing. But the lack of good RTS controls and boring sandbox make this game hard to recomemed to replay. Still, its an interesting if confusing mish mash of a game that is somehow still pleasant in the end. I still prefer Sacrifice and Battlezone still however and would recommend playing those first.

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