drowned

2009 was literally years ago in videogaming. When you play games like Crysis 3, Guild Wars 2, Tomb Raider, and Wargame: European Escalation, it feels like 2009 is to 2013 what 1995 was to 2009. But playing Brutal Legend on the PC makes 2009 feel like 2013, which is especially surprising considering how long this game languished in development limbo/publisher hell. Wasn’t this a Playstation 2 game at one point? That’s nearly two Playstations ago!

But on the PC, one of Brutal Legend’s greatest strengths — its artwork — comes alive with new clarity. All the imaginative majesty of Tim Schafer’s metal dreamworld in high resolution glory! From up high, the multiplayer maps look glorious. From down low, all the delirious weirdness is weirder than ever. Not only does Brutal Legend look nice on the PC, it has the system requirements to prove it. 500MB of videocard memory is a hard lower limit for Brutal Legend and an unreasonable expectation for a three year old game, even one that looks this sweet. It’s a shame Brutal Legend won’t run on most of the computers in my house, since this would be a fantastic LAN game. And although this was originally a console game, couldn’t someone at Double Fine have come up with a workable mouse-and-keyboard option for the radial menu? A convenience on a gamepad doesn’t have to be a stumbling block for a mouse and keyboard.

But overall Brutal Legend is better than it’s ever been, both as a single-player open-world game unlike any you’ve ever played and as one of the best unique takes on real-time strategy since Sacrifice.

5 stars
PC