Brutal Legend Multiplayer Hands-On

The fight for heavy metal supremacy has spilled over from the campaign and into multiplayer stage battles.

At its core, Brutal Legend is very much an action game. Throughout the course of its violent but humorous single-player campaign, you play as the metal-obsessed Eddie Riggs who runs around a mysterious realm cutting a large swath of destruction through all manner of demons. As you get deeper into the campaign, however, you'll be introduced to Brutal Legend's Stage Battles, which take all the action from earlier in the game and add a distinct layer of strategy to the bloodshed. Eddie develops the ability to spawn troops and lead them into battle using a variety of squad commands as tries to manage various control points on the battlefield. Those Stage Battles are the foundation for Brutal Legend's multiplayer, which we recently got our first chance to check out.

Balancing the action and strategy in Brutal Legend's multiplayer depends on a number of factors. The matches can be as straightforward as one-on-one battles, or if you want to add some more chaos to the proceedings, you can go up to four-on-four battles. The other big factor is your choice of faction. The three groups you can play as consist of Ironheade, Drowning Doom, and Demon Coil. Ironheade is the simplest and most accessible of the bunch; it comprises units that Eddie controls during the single-player campaign. Choosing this faction means you've already got a head start on how the factions work, and for the most part, there's no real trick to the way you control them. Demon Coil has the steepest learning curve because of the way you need to work through hierarchy units, which are troops that control other troops around them. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is the Drowning Doom, sporting a goth rock look that contrasts Demon Coil's demonic aesthetic and Ironheade's heavy metal vibe.

The basic layout of each multiplayer match is a rock concert turned into a warzone. Your team base is the stage, complete with pyrotechnic setups, massive speakers, and the works. You fight over control of fan geysers, which spout the currency required to build units. You're always gathering fans whether you've captured any geysers or not, but the more of these points you take, the more quickly you'll collect fans, and by extension, the more units you can build. Once you've amassed an army you're confident with, you can then charge the enemy's stage, destroy it, and achieve victory. Of course, you can do this right from the get-go without even bothering to capture fan geysers, but that's probably not the best idea unless you've at least worn down your enemy a bit.

Ironheade's look reflects the delicate sensibilities of Eddie Riggs.

Everything you do is controlled from the perspective of an avatar, just as you would control Eddie during the single-player campaign. The main difference is your ability to take to the air at will, clicking the right stick to start flying anywhere you want on the map. It's definitely the easiest way to navigate your surroundings, but if you want to get your hands dirty, you can always land on the ground and take up arms against any of your enemy's units. Flying around is a good way to scope out the battlefield, seeing what your enemy is building and which fan geysers belong to whom. You'll also use this avatar to issue squad commands, including follow, halt, and attack, as well as move to a beacon you've set.

The units fall into the category of either infantry or vehicles and ranged or melee attackers. They're also tiered, so you'll start with basic troops and unlock more powerful ones as you spend fans on upgrading your stage. The Ironheade faction includes the headbanger melee units and razor girl ranged class, which Eddie often uses in the campaign, with crazier units unlocked after tier one. You'll soon be able to control the fire baron (a fast-moving motorcycle class that throws Molotov cocktails), the bouncer (a heavy melee combatant), roadies (stealth units with giant speakers for heads), and the metal beast (a fire-breathing cross between an ogre and a gorilla). All of these units can either fight on their own or be mounted by your avatar and controlled manually.

In addition to the Ironheade faction, we spent a bit of time with the Demon Coil side. Some of the units available to this faction include the skullraker (a headless heavy melee combatant with a giant ball and chain for a weapon), the screamwagon (a support vehicle that will buff other nearby units), the warfather (one of the hierarchy units used to train other units), and the pain lifter (a massive artillery vehicle that launches a bomb resembling a spiky ball covered in mouths).

Demon Coil is geared toward more advanced players.

No matter the faction, all of these units sport a slick, bizarre, and really interesting look to them, showing that Brutal Legend's art design is definitely one of its best traits. It's a good thing this cast of characters has so much personality because the trademark humor that permeates the single-player story is largely absent in multiplayer, which puts a lot more focus on the gameplay. We had a good time with the limited number of matches we played, but the big question now is whether there's enough depth to the multiplayer to keep players engrossed in online matches well after release. You can answer that question when Brutal Legend is released on October 13.

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Discussion

106 comments
ramman24
ramman24

you wanna know why I think this game is gonna be great because whenever someone posts something negative about the game they receive twenty thumbs down in one hour. HAHAHAHA (Go METAL!!!!!!)

gamingrules198
gamingrules198

is any1 gonna be online in november?? coz that wen i`m gettin it

ibewood
ibewood

Jericho66, Tim Schafer said in an interview (a gamespot interview I think) that the development of the game worked the other way around, they came up with the idea for the multiplayer first and then developed the single player. Besides, the multiplayer gameplay is included in the single-player, just against AI.

ballsackeristic
ballsackeristic

brutal legend and uncharted 2 release at october 13th. broke!

Jericho66
Jericho66

Ridiculous, take a really good single player game and load it with a mltiplayer, suppose the critics would complain if u dint have multiplayer but they'll prob complain at launch about the shallow multiplayer element. Time will tell, just please no online achievments, they are the bane of existance in my opinion!

Liponade
Liponade

oh my friggin god i did not know how multiplayer!! looks sweeet

halo-lover
halo-lover

kool its like commad an conquer but u move them instead of clikin at the area... heavy metal is ma favourite. cant wait

talshiarr
talshiarr

AOL...lol people actually STILL use that dinosaur? There is life out there past AOL. If you're not enjoying games because they don't work with AOL, maybe it's not the games you should be complaining about.

custerke
custerke

This game looks pretty awesome but also kinda funny at the same time. Its too bad this games is based around Metal music, cuz I hate that and every other type of music similar to that.

rht992
rht992

I was really really looking forward to this game until i found out i can't play EA games online after wasting money on 1943. Why do so many of the best looking games have that cursed EA behind them. I can't buy there games anymore if the online doesn't work with Aol

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

@ darklord dragon it will be M because the Dropped the F word like 5 times in one of the trailers plus its gory. But Ozzy is getting into games lol first a WoW Commercial now this and Blizzcon Live Performance lol

Rhen_Var
Rhen_Var

Huh, a multiplayer game that was a different form of gameplay compared to the singleplayer? Talk about "not being tacked on"

Gooffyme
Gooffyme

Anything with Jack Black in is cool,but add the prince of Freakin Darkness and you have CHAOS!! Cant w8 for this games!!!!!

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

why wasnt anything attacking him? hope that was just cuz the AI isn't finished or something..

gamzrsweet
gamzrsweet

looks badazz and now this just made it uber bad azz cant wait

badhoagie91
badhoagie91

Day One Purchase! \m/ Heavy Metal Forever! \m/

SandboxAddict
SandboxAddict

I am most definitely thinking that i will quite possibly buy this game for almost sure somewhat ultimately. Oh, and by the way: I am selling these fine leather jackets...

kickballer
kickballer

This looks better then I thought it would be.

BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

Yeh I agree with christian-E it could go either ways.. I hope it is going to be good because I love metal :D

trenno2529
trenno2529

shweet. looks pretty average, but i'll still buy it.

score89
score89

Tim Schafler is like the fat Tim Burton of videogames

christian-E
christian-E

This game is either gonna be rlly good or rlly bad

Allegedman
Allegedman

Great can't wait to battle metal posers there needs to be a 4th army of emo kids. that would just really ruin but hy you can go against them and kill em. that would be the cool thing since you can kill emo kids in single player

freemini
freemini

I will definitely buy this game!

BeardedToddler
BeardedToddler

They started on the multiplayer before the single player so it is not going to be an after thought thing.

starbead
starbead

Not entirely sold on the MP idea. Could be great, but could also be an unnecessary waste of resources. I'd like to hear that the SP game isn't going to clock in around 10 hours when I hear about MP.

Niner0
Niner0

This looks so sweet

CommonFable
CommonFable

I love games when you have your own army,dont you?

theholyemu
theholyemu

@NooDLes Thats because MW2 is MW1 with updated graphics,new maps and a new campaign. Besides the updated graphics it sounds like GTA4:TBoGT. $15 DLC. Brutal legend will be amazing, im buying the first day it comes out.

BatrozX
BatrozX

Awesome, just what I like in a game, TONS of surprises.

godofwar97
godofwar97

This game looks FANTASTIC! Lets hope its a good game and not like (for eg) killzone for ps2 which didnt turn out to be the halo killer it was set out to be. I know it sounds like ive gone of track but i was just using killzoneas an example.

razor990
razor990

This game keeps looking better and better!

NooDLES-666
NooDLES-666

Yeah they are really on the ball for intriguing people about this game. It is gonna be sick. If only they would release more on MW2 or GTA4: TBoGT

Waiting_4_U
Waiting_4_U

I can't believe how it seems like every week we find out about more awesome things in this. Awesome!

NiteShadeX
NiteShadeX

It's interesting to see a multiplayer that incorporates a few RTS ideas. Similar to GoW+BF. Reminds me a bit of the now cancelled Tiberiums multiplayer.

_Venom_Project_
_Venom_Project_

jadefury27 Posted Aug 14, 2009 10:22 am CT "oh man. if ozzy's in the game i hope you can add subtitles to the cutscenes. lol." LOL

jadefury27
jadefury27

oh man. if ozzy's in the game i hope you can add subtitles to the cutscenes. lol.

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

this game is shaping up to be a pretty kick -ass game.

iceberg82
iceberg82

I love doublefine studios!!! This multiplayer is going to make this game kick ass beyond expectations!