Be prepared to use a controller for Brutal Legend on PC
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It's been about three and a half years since Brütal Legend came out on consoles and it has finally found its way to the PC. It's almost the same game that we reviewed back in 2009 with clever rock-fueled writing that's backed by mediocre gameplay, but I think PC gamers will find it less enjoyable than our console brethren.
Brutal Legend (PC)
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Released: February 25, 2013
Rig: AMD 9850, with 5GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 480 GPU, 60fps average performance, Windows 7 64-bit
At its core, Brütal Legend feels like a strategy game, but it's controlled from a third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. It plays a little bit like Orcs Must Die!, but you also build and control other units, and the controls aren't nearly as well done. You have to move units around by pointing a marker in front of your character, and you can only move it around by changing where you are looking since there is no mouse cursor whatsoever. It's very difficult to get people to go exactly where you want them to and takes much longer than a traditional real-time strategy game would.
I tried to play with both a mouse and keyboard, and an Xbox 360 controller. The keyboard is barely usable as a control method -- it's highly uncomfortable to play it this way. Even the pre-rendered tutorial cut scenes show you how to play using an Xbox 360 controller. It does work well with a controller, so if you don't mind using one, I highly recommend playing that way. If you don't have a 360 controller for your PC, or you don't like playing games with a gamepad, you might as well skip over this one altogether.
Graphically, the game looks a little bit better than the console versions due to increased draw distances and a few other minor improvements, but it's not visually stunning. The art style is nice, which makes up for the poor graphics quality, but it's not up to par with newer releases. It looks OK for a game that came out in 2009, but it's 2013 now, so I think most people will expect more.
If you can look at Brütal Legend as a console game with similar graphics that is best played with a gamepad, you might find something here to enjoy. That said, I feel like anyone who might have been interested in this type of a game would already have played it on a console when it came out.
Brütal Legend on the PC seems like a huge missed opportunity to really refine the gameplay to make an all-around better game. There could have been quickbars to access powers instead of using a radial menu system, click-to-move mouse support, the ability to select individual units with the right-mouse button, and overall better camera controls and a mini-map. In other words, this could've been much more than a straightforward port.
It plays like a strategy game, but with a control system that feels awkward and foreign to anyone who is used to the genre on PC. That paired with lackluster graphics make it a very lousy port, and since it only scored a 6 out of 10 on Destructoid to begin with, you might want to skip this one.