Here are some tips on how to get the most out of Brütal Legend’s stage battles.
First, one thing to understand right off the bat - Brütal Legend: Brütal Legend is not an RTS game.
It is a historical fact that it began its life as an RTS game, inspired by Herzog Zwei. But then as we worked on it we simplified it, and simplified it, and focused it more and more on the player avatar and the combat. Every time we focused the gameplay on the action, it became more fun. The end result is something much more action-oriented, and I think, totally unique. If you try to play the stage battles in Brütal Legend as an RTS game then you will loose. First you will get mad, then you will scream, and then you will lose. But if you are open to a new kind of action experience, you will have a blast.
First, a note on the differences: In an RTS game you float high above the action, making one split-section strategic decision after another. You often command individual units to position them based on their heath and context. In Brütal Legend, you make strategic choices once in a while, but then you jump into the battle and slug it out in person. You can fly, but it’s mostly for quick scouting and transportation. You will spend a few seconds every once in a while popping into a menu to build troops or pick a guitar solo, but then you should be right back in the action. To play the game most effectively you need to be on the ground with your army most of the time, mixing it up with your axe, and your guitar, but most of all—using your Double Team attacks.
Double Team attacks are critical to your success in Stage Battles. Every friendly unit in your army has a move that they can only perform in conjunction with the player character. These moves are extremely varied, extremely powerful, and extremely fun to perform. Sometimes you might simply gain control that unit’s weapon—for instance, when a Razor Girl jumps up on your shoulders--but when you do so you increase it’s damage significantly. Other units, like the Bride, seem to be just passive, debuffing units most of the time (the Bride slows down enemy units) but when you Double Team with her she has a devastating lighting attack. More complicated Double Teams include the Frightwig, who Ophelia can pick up and throw onto an enemy unit. The Frightwig then wraps itself around the enemy’s head and causes the victim to join Ophelia’s side in the battle. (You can even use this to commandeer the enemy’s Rock Crusher!) The Organist is another passive unit whose Double Team attack allows you to gain direct player control over an enemy unit, giving you command over whatever attacks they normally have.
There are important strategic choices to make in Stage Battles. Should I spend my fans to upgrade my stage and gain access to more powerful units, or should I spend it now on cheap infantry? Which fan geysers should I fight for and which should I concede? What is the right time to block my enemies troop production with a Rock Block solo? Would anti-infantry units be better against the current enemy army, or should I switch to anti-vehicle? But these strategic decisions only take a second, and then you should get right back in the action. You should never be up in the air or away from the battle for too long.
Some people find it hard to split up the army and give individual orders to individual troops. This is kinda true, mostly because you shouldn’t be doing it! That’s how you play an RTS game, not how you should play Brütal Legend. True, there are times where you might want to split your army, but it’s not common. I play complete Stage Battles most of the time without issuing a single Individual order. Your army is most effective when it’s together. The AI automatically groups your warriors into battle formations where the troops support each other. Many of the units buff or heal each other. When they are together they can all be enhanced with a single Battle Cry (or other buffing) solo. And when they are all together and you are in the middle of them, that is when you have the greatest number of options for Double Team attacks.
So to summarize my advice for playing Brütal Legend Stage Battles:
Get in the center of the action!
Use Double Team attacks!
Don’t stay in the air too long!
Use Double Team attacks!!
For the most part, keep your army together!
Use Double Team attacks!!!
Don’t think of it as an RTS game!