Brutal Legend – Demo Impressions


I’m a big Tim Schafer fan, really, I am. It’s just, well, I’ve never actually played any of his games, not really. I played the first hour of Full Throttle on a friend’s Mac back in the day. I still intend on buying the Monkey Island remake at some point, but you know, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Grim Fandango looks cool.  I always wanted to get Psychonauts, I did, and if an xbox 360 hard drive didn’t cost more than getting a toe by 3pm, I would have the hard drive space to buy it and play it right now.  As it is, though, I’m a huge Tim Schafer fan from a distance. I like the idea of Tim Schafer. I love his thoughts on the future of gaming, particularly on the phenomenon of the half-tuck. But again, I hadn’t ever really experienced Tim Schafer hands-on, not really.

But today, I played the Brutal Legend demo, and it blew my mind, people. Mostly? Because it met my expectations of how badass Tim Schafer is.  I had followed the game pretty closely, read the previews and interviews, and if we are to judge just this demo? Tim Schafer has achieved everything he set out to do.  And everything he told us would be there? It’s there and it’s glorious.  Well, for a demo.

And yeah, it’s just a demo, so I’m not going to wax poetic forever, but here are some awesome bulletpoints, pointing out the awesome that I noticed:

1. That front-end menu! It’s a record cover, and it opens, and there are… menus. I’m not doing it justice. It’s the perfect way to start off a rock journey.
2. The world! I remember reading that Schafer was setting out to create the world he grew up seeing on metal records, and goddamn if you don’t cut up demons with your axe through a real-life metal album-cover. There’s no better way to describe it, and it’s awesome.
3. Jack Black! Let’s be honest, I love Jack Black, but Jack Black can become annoying, because he’s always pretty much Jack Black, right? But just like Tenacious D worked back in the day, and just like School of Rock made it work again, Brutal Legend appears to be made specifically for J.B. More than that, Jack Black seems created just to voice Eddie Riggs.

I was smiling wide, like a little kid listening to metal for the first time, the entire journey of the demo.  When a joke was made, I laughed, genuinely laughed.  The storytelling, even in the demo, is top-notch.  In five minutes, you see why it’s great to be Eddie Riggs, and why it sucks to be Eddie Riggs–all at once–and then you see him die.  And you’re genuinely worried, you feel genuine emotion.  Then suddenly you’re trying to fight your way through hell, maybe just to make out with a goth chick. I don’t know, but I was along for the whole ride, and I was not pleased when the demo came to a close. I want this game now.

Am I gonna buy Brutal Legend on day one? Man, I’d love to, but I’m broke.  Am I gonna keep being a fan of Tim Schafer? You bet. Maybe from afar, maybe from a distance, but you know, I’ve got to get a paycheck someday, and then, well, hello Brutal Legend.


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