Well, it's been a few weeks since I took Brütal Legend out my 360 in frustration, and I just haven't felt like going back to it, so, here's my review:
For some background, Brütal Legend is the latest game from Tim Schafer, who comes from a background of making some of the greatest adventure games ever at Lucas Arts, and is also responsible for the simply amazing Psychonauts, although I never finished that one either. You take on the role of Eddie Riggs, the greatest roadie the world has ever known, Riggs is so metal he just can't stand the modern music scene. During a freak accident, he is killed, and wakes up in a fantasy metal world, where music is power, and everything has spikes. The setting is really where Legend rocks it to eleven, the entire world looks like someone magically brought to life every metal album cover from their high school music collection, the animation is almost on par with a Pixar movie, which is a little incongruous to all of the gore and profanity.
The gameplay tries very hard to defy classification, and does a good job, the closest comparison I can come up with is Guilty Gear 2, which I might be the only person I've heard of that's actually played it. Another close call is Dynasty Warriors, although there's a much heavier emphasis on real time strategy elements. The problem is that a lot of the gameplay elements are slowly introduced, to the point that you may have liked what the game was, up until they added in the last aspect, which then changes the way the game plays going forward. At first you're just running around hacking stuff up with your axe, and blowing eardrums with your other axe, and then you get some helpers for some missions, whom you have to issue commands to, then it becomes a sandbox, with you driving your kickass car across the awesome countryside going mission to mission, until finally you come to a point where everytime you have to fight, you summon a stage, and have to create units, manage resources, and take command, all while running around yourself to issue orders.
It was one of the final stage battles where everytime I would respawn I would run to the fight, and instantly be killed by something I couldn't even see, after consulting a guide, I was simply told to do what I was already doing, just harder. After that, I just couldn't muster the interest to go back, which is too bad, because I really want to see the ending, and hopefully reconcile the total dickishness of the Riggs character towards the love interest, but I guess I'll just have to youtube it or something.
Really, I would much rather watch this as an animated movie, with Ozzy Osbourne as the Guardian of Metal, and the principal villain being an obvious parody of David Bowie, there's a lot of amusing material for anyone that's at all a metal fan, but as a game, it's just too flawed to merit a full playthrough.