Anyway, let's talk about some games quickly. In fact one in particular, since I've just finished it: Brütal Legend. After the fantastic Psychonauts (as featured in our Bare Essentials gaming list on the right) the ever-misspelt Tim Schafer and never-misspelt Double Fine have been beavering away on this big homage to the epic heavy metal music of yore.
Despite being advertised everywhere as a free-roaming/driving hack n' slash game, people are going to be quite shocked to discover that that's only the first hour or two. Pretty much all of the rest of the game is a genre that we PC players know exist but console gamers have never heard of, hence why everyone's wrongly referring to it as an RTS game. It's nothing of the sort: it's an Action Strategy game. The biggest comparisons are to Sacrifice and the Reaper third of Giants: Citizen Kabuto. You're right in the middle of the action, but you're commanding troops on the fly too.
And sadly, this is where two things come in: 1. All types of Strategy game are much more at home on the PC because it's far easier to issue orders with the mouse and keyboard, a problem which makes ordering and controlling units very frustrating in Brütal Legend, and 2. Double Fine have no experience of this genre, and it shows.
They break one of the big Golden Rules of Good Gaming: if you get something new, useful, and vitally important, you need to be shown how to use it, and then be forced to do so to make sure you get the hang of it. Brütal Legend does not do this, and it doesn't do it often. If I hadn't been told by Kotaku that Rally Flags existed I never would've used them, and I never would've finished the game.
The style, humour, and story (despite an anticlimactic rushed ending) suck you in, but unless you're an Action Strategy Heavy Metal fan, you'll get frustrated fast. Brütal Legend's easy to fall in love with, but hard to love. At least for me.
- Chris Capel