What I came away with after beating the game in about six hours (granted, I didn't embark on many of the battle- and racing-based sub-missions, but I did do quite a lot of exploring) was the opinion that Eddie Riggs is a truly awesome character, along with a sense of wonder at the fantastic – and very metal – world Schafer and crew had created. Unfortunately, I also came away with a questioning of why so much of the game felt like a b-side to the hit single that had been its first couple of hours.
If you've played the demo, you know exactly how the game starts off. And, truly, this small slice of Brütal Legend contains some of the finished product's very best laughs -- and had me eager to find out what happened next.
The scenery changed, but the game simply stopped surprising me.
Schafer's last game, Psychonauts, is filled with story, gameplay and dialog moments that are among some of my very favorite gaming memories. In the case of Brütal Legend, those sorts of things vanish early on, providing me at best with, "Hey, wasn't it cool how the final battle was a little different than all the rest?"
The overall experience just doesn't live up to its billing.
But it's also evident in that fact that one-on-one combat as Eddie -- this really cool guy with a giant battle axe and a guitar that shoots electricity -- is rote, rough and nothing special, no matter how many magic guitar strings, axe enhancements or combos I purchased.
The single player game ultimately feels like Double Fine tried to force the RTS concept it had come up with into an adventure game. Yes, it's lovely; yes, its presentation is top-notch; yes, the voice talent and soundtrack are pretty amazing. The overall experience just doesn't live up to its billing.