Monday, October 05, 2009

Brutal Legend PS3 demo

So I downloaded the 1.5Gb of demo and was thankful for the 200+Gb of space I now possess in my PS3. So exposition at the start, I like the style of graphics, I like the story, I like the amusing choice of whether to allow swearing or to bleep it out and the choice to allow gore or not. Then into the game and hmmm.

Press X to use your axe and Square to use your other axe (guitar) with Circle to block. Okay no problem there and then it says press [] + X to perform a special move. Is it just me, but I hate those combinations. Okay I can press X, I can press Square, but to press both together means either having my hand crouched over the pad like a demented spider and using two fingers, thus a) giving me hand cramp and b) neglecting the right triggers; or I have to try and mash both buttons with my thumb across them.

I suspect the latter is the preferred method except due to the fact my thumb is jointed I tend to hit one of the buttons a fraction before/after the other and it registers sequentially rather than simultaneously. So I can't perform them. I have exactly the same problem with Batman Arkham Asylum and the special combo moves, maybe it is just me.

Anyway fortunately you also get special moves that rely on sequences so phew.

Okay standard third-person beat-em-up stuff with a lock-on to keep you facing the right way, baddies at this stage telegraph their moves so you can block. Couldn't see a health meter anywhere [shrugs].

Okay combat tutorial over you get to pilot a ... thing down a bone slope, more fighting plus tag-team stuff and then a neat Guitar Hero type riff to get your car. Car tutorial and a boss fight.

Ah the boss fight at this point we discover the first minor downside of the game - what the hell am I supposed to do? You get told you can use the nitro function of the car for added speed with a downside of loss of steering. At which point old big and ugly starts blasting you with nasty breath and using the nitro not only doesn't get you out of the way, but slams you into a wall. You see the arena you're in is circular and the nitro boosts you in a straight line - see the problem there? Anyway after the halitosis attack the boss will try and squish you flat. Ah now to use the nitro to get from being flattened. Yay!

What's that use circle to perform a quick turn while steering - um okay; why? Oh Gruesome's got himself stuck to the ground by three um tongues. Okay I'll try and ram them; that succeeded rinse repeat for the other two.

Your companion heads-up the gate that was blocking your path, but Gruesome isn't quite down for the count and she distracts him to allow you to um... yeah what am I supposed to do? Well he forms a kind of bridge am I supposed to use him to jump the gate? Nope. Meanwhile I'm getting calls of Hurry up and then finally an instruction to lower the gate. Yay, how do I do that? More panic and 'use the counterweights' oh yeah okay I knew that. You mean these counterweights here, the ones I can't reach through these fences or find a 'activate' pop-up to do anything with? When all else fails Special Thumb Move oh that worked.

Okay snap judgement - it looks fun, the story looks fun, the game looks fun, even taking into consideration the Thumb Move the combat is fun; yet there's a small nagging feeling that this hasn't quite run through the fall gamut of play-testing.

A buy this now game? No not really. A buy this game in a couple of months at half the price. Yeah most likely.