Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
MacAttack

Zero Punctuation: Brutal Legend Review!

Recommended Posts

Yahtzee-of-Zero-Punctuation, who has previuosly heaped praise on Psychonauts and Tim Schafer, has now turned his baleful gaze towards Brutal Legend. Here's the link:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1044-Brutal-Legend

And now that you've seen that, what do you think? Having not actually played the game, I'm not exactly in a perfect place to comment, but I get the feeling that he wasn't as negative as he could have been (see some of his other reviews for examples). It's clear that he didn't actually like the game very much, but that he did praise some aspects of the game (story, writing etc). Any opinions from anyone else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yahtzee's always fun, and I find myself agreeing with him alot of the time, so it's always interesting to see where he stands. I think I agree with two major points of his - the story's not as well-structured or well-realized as in Psychonauts, and the game doesn't always do a good enough job of clueing you in to important mechanics/world features. The first is pretty inevitable in an open world game, as the storyteller's control over the player has an inverse relationship to the player's freedom to roam, and Psychonauts was a much more linear game. The second is a pretty solid complaint. I went through half the game not knowing how to unlock the legend statues, and I know of people who got as far as they possibly could without realizing where or what motor forges were.

As for the RTS complaints, meh. As a consumer, if I'm going to spend sixty bucks on a game, I'm going to do a little research, and the fact that Brutal Legend had RTS elements was common knowledge. Speaking as someone who's played RTSs in the past, I much prefer Brutal Legend's more visceral, hands-on approach to the genre, and I'm currently addicted to the multiplayer. Different strokes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The review was pretty spot-on... Too many aspects of the game are poorly explained, and if you're not an RTS fan, then the RTS aspect may very well turn you right off. If we connect the dots though, it becomes abundantly clear that if things were better explained, then one would not only have a much easier time following along, but they'd also realise that your avatar's direct involvement in the RTS battles brings with it a whole new aspect to the RTS genre that not only offers something fresh to RTS fans, but gives non-RTS fans a reason to take a second look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OOHHH JEEZ WATCHING NOW

~later~

Ahahaha okay I laughed at many parts of it, but I still slightly disagree with some bits. Yahtzee is a funny guy, but remember, he has his own opinions, and I'm not letting that get in the way of what I think is an awesome game. I love the review, just don't agree with it, of that makes sense 8U

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and I know of people who got as far as they possibly could without realizing where or what motor forges were.

That's their own fault then really; the relic raiser is explained very clearly in the tutorial, and you pass a couple of motor forges in the first few quests, so they have no excuse IMO. The hornthrower wasn't as clear though, but then again it's supposed to be a small extra which probably only interests people that explore the world to its full extent anyway, who will stumble across the hornthrower sooner rather than later.

I'm with you on the RTS thing though. You can't not read reviews and then complain about not knowing something was in the game. Personally I also really like the stage battles, but I guess pure hack&slash; fans wouldn't enjoy them as much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though I love the game, I do agree that Yahtzee had some good points. I especially laughed when he mentioned his friend being unaware that you could use the car in stage battles, as that didn't occur to me until like the second-to-last battle of the game, and when I realized it, I was like, "well that would have been useful to know."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was disappointed to see Yahtzee fall into the same "ZOMG it was an action game now it's an RTS!" trap that so many reviewers have fallen into as I thought he was smarter than that.

His point about sandbox games is a good one in general but for me, a huge part of Brutal Legend's appeal, especially later in the game when the world opens up, is just driving around, listening to music and admiring the art design while finding collectibles. Granted it helps that I'm into metal, so maybe this is totally lost on people that just want to get on with it and resent having to actually spend more time in the world than absolutely necessary. I've tried to imagine BL as something like a more simplistic, linear game, like either a God of War-type or even a traditional "Tim Schafer Adventure Game," which so many critics have demanded, and frankly the more I think about that, the more boring such an idea becomes to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree so much about the "doesn't tell you what you need to do" thing.

I didn't realize where the motor forges were until right before the first tour bus segment. (I am very glad I found it then and not later. That mission would have been painful without a weapon.)

I didn't realize where Mount Rockmore was until after I had beaten the game. I only noticed because I saw the stairs on the hand thing.

And the most painful one of all:

Right before the final boss fight, (spoilers) I had taken down the two heads and didn't know what I was supposed to do next. I ran around a bit, (noticing that all of my units were gone, all of his were not, and I couldn't spawn any more units,) when his units started attacking my stage, so I panicked and tried to kill all of them, then I thought the game was glitched because I couldn't spawn anything so I restarted the level. I DID NOT ENJOY FINDING OUT THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DRIVE THE DEUCE INTO THE LAST HEAD THING AFTER LOSING THE BATTLE SEVERAL TIMES AFTER I HAD TECHNICALLY ALREADY WON. :| (end spoilers)

DF should have mentioned the RTS thing before the game was released, as well. Although this may have been intentional on their part to increase sales among people who don't like RTS games... NO! BAD TURTLE! DOUBLE FINE DOES NOT TRY TO MISLEAD ITS CUSTOMERS! ...right?

Regardless, I did enjoy the game despite all of its many faults. Just not as much as Psychonauts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the fact the final boss wasn't strait out like that I found to be a joy compared to all. I thought, wow that was neat surprise. Though I agree with his points about having to search around, but as a whole I think Tim sacrificed some things to make a game he would love and will be marketable. Still a bit pissed off about doing the 3 months later pass only to have everything speed towards the end when the first half happen so naturally.Though this is the first game I have ever wanted to beat everything so I could see everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DF should have mentioned the RTS thing before the game was released, as well. Although this may have been intentional on their part to increase sales among people who don't like RTS games... NO! BAD TURTLE! DOUBLE FINE DOES NOT TRY TO MISLEAD ITS CUSTOMERS! ...right?
They did mention it, a lot. It was in most of the previews that I saw. I could see someone not knowing if they just played the demo and didn't look up anything about the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally think Brutal Legend is a game that almost needs two seperate reviews. One for the fans of Tim Shafer, unique, quirky games and one for the general public.

Tim Shafer crowd mostly agree the game rocks, hence I would give it a 9 for this crowd. The general gaming public on the other hand, while they might find something they like about it, they see many flaws, so for them I would give it an 7 or 8.

Anyways, I've never heard one of this guys reviews before, but the combination of his accent with how fast he talks makes the beginning minute or two of his review hard to follow. I do however agree with some of his points, such as the game giving you no clue how to "free" the Bound Serpents or the Legends. On top of that, as I read on some random forum the stages actually have a health meter in the form of 10 stage lights, each time one light falls thats 10% of your stages health that has been lost. Now why the fuck did the game not tell us this important bit of information?

Dont get me wrong, I love Brutal Legend, Its defeintly one of my favorite games of all time, but there are many small oversighs that make me think it could have used just another month or two in development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The demo could've used the first part of the headbanger mine mission, just to show the part of a strategic aspect. But honestly people, they've been saying about strategy aspect in all videos, previews and reviews up to date. You have to be god-damned THICK in the head not know about it.

There's basically two types of gamers you can be:

You can be a Tim Schafer fan; then you've got to be following the game, watching movies and articles, or you're NOT A TRUE FAN.

You can be a normal gamer, and not a fan, then you've got to do a research of the game, to find out if you like it before you shell out 60 bucks for it, or you're a COMPLETE MORON.

It's just one or the other, and in some particularly advanced cases both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd been following the game since the first trailer and I knew it had SOME RTS parts but I had no idea that about 90% of the game was stage battles.

So excuse me if I'm an idiot then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly followed Brutal Legend sence its announcement back in October 07, I looked for news on BL nearly everyday from announcement up until release. Even thru the period when Activision dropped BL and they were looking for a new publisher and there was nearly no news for a few months. Even after all that, reading nearly every article, every interview, every review. I knew there was going to be RTS in it, but I never anticipated that the RTS was going to be as big of a portion of the game as it was. Sure, during the RTS is still is hack n' slash with Eddie, but I feel like it was purposely not showen as much to sell more copies, but I dont blame doublefine, I blame EA.

Either way, I dont care, because Brutal Legend came out, it rocked my socks off and I absolutely love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, granted, its hard to estimate the amount of RTS from just the interviews and articles (and I'm not gonna even mention the less known news about unit lists and such, since most people outside the boards would not have even heard about them). But even in the interviews Tim Schafer had clearly stated, that the game started as a multiplayer strategy, and only later had a single player. He also mentioned three different sides with different units and tactics each, which is also a good indication of the prominent RTS elements. And even if you managed to miss that, come on, the multiplayer videos (released a few months before the game on the major gaming sites and then EA WEBSITE) should have been the dead giveaway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, granted, its hard to estimate the amount of RTS from just the interviews and articles (and I'm not gonna even mention the less known news about unit lists and such, since most people outside the boards would not have even heard about them). But even in the interviews Tim Schafer had clearly stated, that the game started as a multiplayer strategy, and only later had a single player. He also mentioned three different sides with different units and tactics each, which is also a good indication of the prominent RTS elements. And even if you managed to miss that, come on, the multiplayer videos (released a few months before the game on the major gaming sites and then EA WEBSITE) should have been the dead giveaway.

Good points, I seen the unit lists and all that good stuff you talked mentioned. I guess I just figured the mutliplayer was gonna kinda be its own thing. I guess I just never put all the pieces of the puzzle together as far as figuring the amount of RTS that would be in it.

As I said tho, I dont care, I love the RTS elements and the Hack n' Slash elements. I just think they still didnt properly let the general gaming public know just how much RTS was in it. I think it was handled poorly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As other people have said, I think the whole "It's an RTS" thing is overblown. The legitimate criticism is the that the game doesn't do a very good job of having you experiment with all your options within the context of single player mode, or indicating what you have to do... I mean, everything doesn't need a big flashing sign, but things could be alot clearer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As other people have said, I think the whole "It's an RTS" thing is overblown. The legitimate criticism is the that the game doesn't do a very good job of having you experiment with all your options within the context of single player mode, or indicating what you have to do... I mean, everything doesn't need a big flashing sign, but things could be alot clearer.

Exactly, mate. One of the very few flaws this game has is the fact that it's single player is way too short and doesn't have enough stage battle missions to really get the player up to date with the RTS mechanics. I mean there's just 7 stage battles in the whole game! And only 4 of them have honest to god 2 stage, capture resources battle. The first few times I've played Dry Ice, Wet Graves mission I was totally destroyed, and only managed to get through it by heavily exploiting the Deuce. But when I've tried this mission recently, after playing many multiplayer battles, I've completely dominated the PC with aggressive expansionist tactics.

So yeah, the game could have done a better job at explaining different battle mechanics, like the need to be really aggressive and capture all geysers as soon as possible, or stuff like serpents and motor forges (though I didn't have any trouble with those, but that's probably because I've watched a few videos where Tim explained all about them).

But when you get to understand the basic way of playing the game starts to really reward you.

Up to this day I keep finding the new depths to the multiplayer. For example, a single group of roadies, sent to the enemy stage at the right time can turn the tide of the entire battle. And the mobility of fire barons allows you to use single groups of them really effectively (not in rushing, I try not to do that) as the merch booth raiding parties on big maps, allowing you to choke the opponent's resource flow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I mean there's just 7 stage battles in the whole game! And only 4 of them have honest to god 2 stage, capture resources battle. The first few times I've played Dry Ice, Wet Graves mission I was totally destroyed, and only managed to get through it by heavily exploiting the Deuce. But when I've tried this mission recently, after playing many multiplayer battles, I've completely dominated the PC with aggressive expansionist tactics.

This is something I found rather odd. On various forums I noticed many people who had trouble with the stage battles and maybe its due to the afroementioned problem of the game no "explaining" how things work to you as well as it could have, but i personally felt the game was a cake walk on normal. I never died on a stage battle, they never even got to my stage. I think in the end battle they destoryed one of my merch booths.

I guess I am curious as to why so many people seemed to have a problem. I would assume that its either because they arent good at RTS, the game didnt give enough explanation as to what to do or how to play or they didnt use the avatar as much as they should in the RTS portion or some combination of all of the above.

Maybe I just kick that much ass! Haha, I kid, kid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the game on Brutal is a bit more difficult, but it is easier then the practice Ai battles against them on Brutal. So I would think beating the Ai in practice battle be your best bet to prove your stuff then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I mean there's just 7 stage battles in the whole game! And only 4 of them have honest to god 2 stage, capture resources battle. The first few times I've played Dry Ice, Wet Graves mission I was totally destroyed, and only managed to get through it by heavily exploiting the Deuce. But when I've tried this mission recently, after playing many multiplayer battles, I've completely dominated the PC with aggressive expansionist tactics.

This is something I found rather odd. On various forums I noticed many people who had trouble with the stage battles and maybe its due to the afroementioned problem of the game no "explaining" how things work to you as well as it could have, but i personally felt the game was a cake walk on normal. I never died on a stage battle, they never even got to my stage. I think in the end battle they destoryed one of my merch booths.

I guess I am curious as to why so many people seemed to have a problem. I would assume that its either because they arent good at RTS, the game didnt give enough explanation as to what to do or how to play or they didnt use the avatar as much as they should in the RTS portion or some combination of all of the above.

Maybe I just kick that much ass! Haha, I kid, kid.

I think you kick ass.

I similarly did not have a difficult time at all with any of the stage battles in the single player mode. While not so much a strategy game person, I had experience with Guilty Gear 2, and that may have helped.

I started on difficulty Brütal and never lost a stage battle. The only battle I would consider a near failure would be the first Drowning Doom encounter as I was overwhelmed with dozens of Gravediggers, but the story of the game just allowed it to progress, me thinks. The only aspects of confusion I had were trying to figure out the serpents, Legends, Buried Metal, and Motor Forges. For me, it was that it took me a while to recognize what the Devil Thorns looked like.

However, while I found the single player Stage Battles to not be any trouble, I still find every multiplayer battle to be a challenge, which is why I will be playing this game forever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I the only one that "gets" the stage battles in the game? I "got" them before Tim posted a long explanation as to how to play his game. I "got" them afterward.

Look, I understand some people are saying "this isn't my thing." I'll even forgive a few for not reading the manual and then throwing hands in the air with "HOW DO I UPGRADE UNIT?" questions... But I can't relate to the aspect of criticism that focuses on Stage Battles as the weakest link.

Dry Ice, Wet Graves went like this for me: (this is boring, don't read)

I built a few basic units while upgrading my stage, and ordered the hit on the first geyser. While the guys were killing the slug, I was on the other side of the stage, dropping into a group of my enemy's units (see? no spoilers!) and playing FaceMelter. While the units opposing me were getting their everloving shit rocked, I built more units and upgraded my first ones. I summoned the flag, and as my troops arrived to pick off the last of the failforce opposing us, I ordered them to rock another geyser while I flew to the opposing side and took out two enemy units who were trying to be all "heroes." I flew back and immediately summoned a merch booth and my rally flag, built more units and rocked the opponent's stage.

Time for the entire battle? Less than 10 minutes, on the first try, playing it on Normal. Amount of ass kicked? BARELY COMPREHENSIBLE.

Now, I'm a pretty big Double Fine fan, and I've certainly tried to like some parts of Brütal Legend that I didn't want to like (like, uh, 90% of side quests) - unsuccessfully, I might add. I've had issues with the way the story is told, and I'm certainly of the opinion that the game has plenty of weaknesses that its predecessor did not have. But let's get one thing straight:

Stage Battles can be utterly awesome and full of BYAH.

It's hardly Double Fine's fault that you can't rock the Stage Battles as well as I do. (Disclaimer: married, full-time graduate student who still has yet to beat the game due to doctorate programs applications, probably play games less than you these days, but I have played (and loved) this one game called Sacrifice, which ought to be mentioned more.)

Sad truth:

"No Stage Battles" = "WAAAAH, stupid God of War clone, hack'n'slash, who are you trying to impress, too easy, eff this."

"Interesting Game Mechanic that doesn't get used much and requires you to think outside the box" = "WAAAAAH, SO HARD, STUPID GAME DOES NOT TEACH ME, I CAN'T BEAT IT THEREFORE IT'S AWFUL." (I'm well-aware of the false dichotomy I'm creating, and if you are, it's probably not aimed at you.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is exactly what I tell whiners. If you take away the amazing RTS parts, you have Nintey Nine Nights. And if you go play that, you will be bored out of your mind and will miss BL dearly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am I the only one that "gets" the stage battles in the game? I "got" them before Tim posted a long explanation as to how to play his game. I "got" them afterward.

You are not the only one. I applaud Brütal Legend for its creativity, and only ever died during the final stage battle against Doviculus. I bought the game for full price on launch day and have been completely satisfied. It's worth noting that I didn't read any of Schafer's posts or watch any of his videos until I'd already completed the single-player campaign. The only truly valid complaint I've noticed isn't even particularly specific; it's not that the stage battles are too esoteric, or that the scavenger hunts are overdone, or even that key elements can be easily missed... It's that too many aspects are not effectively or consistently communicated to the player. Whether it's the nuances of the stage battles, the logistics of unlocking legends and freeing serpents, or understanding how the Motor Forge works; as intuitive as these things may seem to many of us - especially after the fact - the response from the general public seems to be that almost everyone has been hung-up on at least one of these things for some period of time... For me, it was unlocking legends and freeing serpents.

Sad truth:

"No Stage Battles" = "WAAAAH, stupid God of War clone, hack'n'slash, who are you trying to impress, too easy, eff this."

Sad indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been defending BL on all fronts for a little while now, but man, it all comes down to "Bitches can't handle the metal."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add in my own defense for the game (Though with what's being said I don't really need to add much):

I never really SAW the problem with the RTS aspects, they felt like they were apart of the game itself, they were fun for me and I adjusted just fine. It was a fun change to from the usual platformers/actioners I'm use to playing on a regular basis. It stands out amongst the other games because of its metal decor, sense of humor and attempt at something NEW over the usual action games as of late. I so far haven't really understood all the fuss over how 'klunky' the RTS battles were. I've never played an RTS before and I understood what the game wanted me to do pretty quickly. I was able to defend my stage and crush the opposing force readily without too much instruction. I came into the game with a blank slate so I guess that could be why I'm not shocked or angered over it aka: 'Its two mixed genres! How dare they mix genres of games together! An RTS in my hack and slash? Poppy cock I say!' I just rolled with it and had fun.

About the complaints about about the game not explaining to you what was going on, I had a gripe with that at least once but usually I still found myself ENJOYING the game and not really finding problems with it not telling me every single detail. It was nice to play a game that didn't hold my hand the whole way through but also wasn't 'WRONG WAY! DED!' hard ether. It didn't penalize me for not exploring everything or doing every side mission like. It let me have free reign of the world which I gladly grabbed onto. I explored, fell in love with the world I was surrounded in. Even if I had no idea how to free serpents or view legends I still found myself bopping around having fun.

So yeah, my whole post a total rehash of what you guys had to say, but I wanted to add my tarnished nickle into the pile. Enjoy, it could be a wooden nickle for all I know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[…]I wanted to add my tarnished nickle into the pile. Enjoy, it could be a wooden nickle for all I know.

I like your phrase. I'm going to start using that now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...