I have half a long post about Brütal Legend kicking around on my laptop hard drive, and I may finish that one day, but it’s getting less topical with each passing day so I’ve decided to sum it up quickly instead. I think it’s a great game despite a few flaws, and I think it’s well worth checking out, but opinions on it are definitely mixed. I loved the world, and the story and characters, and I enjoyed cruising around in my hot rod listening to rockin’ tunes while soaking in the environment and looking for hidden treasures. I even enjoyed the vaguely RTS-style battles that make up much of the campaign’s latter half, even if many others didn’t.
One thing I’ll definitely say, though, is the Brütal Legend does a terrible job of teaching you how to play. It spends a lot of time teaching you traditional RTS moves, such as issuing orders to individual squads of troops, when what you should really be doing is building an army and head-long in to the jaws of hell right along with it, using your weaponry, your killer guitar solos, and even your kick-ass hot rod to gain the advantage. Meanwhile, it completely neglects to teach you some very basic abilities, like how to find Motor Forges, the game’s shops.
Despite those problems, I absolutely loved the game, and no trip to work in the car is now complete without cranking up a few tracks from the game’s phenomenal soundtrack, which have conveniently found their way on to my MP3 player.
Speaking of driving, Forza 3 is out, and it’s exactly what I wanted (and expected): Forza 2 with more content. A number of the cars and tracks are carried over from Forza 2, but they all look better here, and the new tracks and cars are great, particularly the point-to-point rally tracks that run through Italian sea-side villas and winding Japanese mountainsides. The new career mode is also a nice addition, giving the game’s sheer bulk of content a nice, easy-to-navigate structure.
Gameplay-wise, it’s actually improved more than I expected. The physics model is very impressive, and the developers have done a great job of tweaking the controls on the standard 360 controller; so much so that I’m playing without the ABS and traction control assists that I always seemed to need in Forza 2. The other big feature is rewind, which lets you stop the game and rewind it at any point in the race, ostensibly to undo the kind of horrible mistake that would otherwise have you restarting the race. Maybe it dulls the game’s tension a touch, but so far, rewind has been a godsend for me.