It’s been several years since Brutal Legend came out on the consoles to much fanfare over its style and setting, but more than a little controversy about its chosen style of gameplay. Well, now PC gamers can take a crack at the title – it’s out on Steam for a retail price of $19.99 USD, $24.99 to pick up the original soundtrack as well – and either version also has the Hammer of Infinite Fate and Tears of Hextadon multiplayer map packs included. There’s nothing new here in terms of story content or major gameplay revision, so while GT’s old in-house review stands the test of time in terms of content, the burning question is – did Double Fine manage to do a good job porting this game to the PC ? Well, there’s been bumps in the road on this title, but the answer for the most part is “yes”. And for a game as unique as Brutal Legend, that automatically pushes it into the “worthy buy” column – and a must-buy for metal fans who didn’t pick this title up when it came out on the consoles.
One nice thing about console-to-PC ports in the recent years is that there’s been a noticeable uptick in their general quality. Once upon a time these ports pretty much guaranteed you poor performance and subpar graphics, but for a variety of reasons this has become a rarer and rarer situation. Brutal Legend largely continues the positive side of this trend, though in this case this has a lot to do with Double Fine’s willingness to chase after bugs and problems being reported after the game’s launch. There have been complaints about the fps performance chugging a bit, and some loading issues – but at this point, most of the major problems seem to have been ironed out. A lingering issue I’ve experienced is the now-and-then presence of the Windows mouse icon on Brutal Legend’s screen when trying to play, which also pairs up with a lack of mouse responsiveness in the same situation. This isn’t constant, thankfully, and I haven’t experienced anything that could be called truly game-breaking.
So if the game is still standing the test of time in terms of graphics and environment – and, of course, it has a soundtrack that rivals the Grand Theft Autos in terms of quality content, at least if you’re a metal fan – what’s really left to wonder about is the gameplay question. Here I can report that Brutal Legend carries over nicely to the PC. Aside from the aforementioned occasional mouse glitch, running around with the standard mouse/keyboard combo is entirely serviceable. Not perfect or excellent, mind you – again, this game is largely a straight up port from the consoles, so it’s best to say that Double Fine adapted the game to PC controls more than anything – but the controls don’t get in the way of enjoying the game, and that’s about as much as I can ask for with this title.
That brings me to the multiplayer. Now, I want to give Double Fine credit – it really seems like they put a lot of effort into making the multiplayer part of the game. Creating a world as unique as Brutal Legend’s, making the story so interesting and fun, and adding on a functional multiplayer that even has three distinct-feeling sides is commendable. But at the end of the day, it just didn’t grab me. While there may not be many alternatives to Brutal Legend when it comes to the particularities of its story and single-player concept, there are an abundance of alternatives on the realtime strategy side of things. Again, I love that they went through the effort of organizing and balancing three distinct sides – but if I want to play that sort of game, I will play a game other than Brutal Legend.