Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On a Legend that was Brutal

Penny Arcade of course.

Ahh, Brutal Legend. I was pretty excited for this title, mostly because I've been waiting for something "original and unique" for a long time and I got swept up in the "Schafer Hype". I'm also a huge fan of heavy metal, and a hater of impure metal.

I'll admit the writing was clever and funny. . .for a video game, the more unique gameplay elements were fun and interesting. . .for a little while, and the art & sound direction was phenomenal. . .it really was. But, in the end the same thing happened with just about every other Xbox title I've been told to play and enjoy. I dropped $80 CDN, and got about 15 hours of enjoyment out of it. If I wasn't trying so hard to enjoy it, that number would be closer 5-10 hours.

With regards to the "RTS" sections (by which I mean, the elephant in the room), I learned to enjoy it once I got into the swing of how the game was "supposed to be played". You have to admit, there is something off about a great game designer's opus needing to issue a press release to tell people how to play the game. Now, whether this is a matter of the game being poorly developed/rushed (not enough playtest cycles IMHO), or people walking into the game expecting Starcraft and being disappointed when their mental models of RTS gaming don't match up with the actual game they're playing, is a matter of debate.

I think the fault lies on both sides of the coin. Gamers, like those who enjoy certain genres of film, music and literature, have to learn to walk into their entertainment with an open mind. Walking into a movie or seeing a new band with skepticism or rose-coloured glasses is going to have a huge impact on what you get out of the experience. Games are no different, yet public opinion seems to think otherwise.

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