Video Game Review – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)

STEAM-Brothers

Summary

Guide two brothers on an epic fairy tale journey from visionary Swedish film director, Josef Fares and top-tier developer Starbreeze Studios.

Control both brothers at once as you experience co-op play in single player mode, like never before.

Solve puzzles, explore the varied locations and fight boss battles, controlling one brother with each thumbstick.

A man, clinging to life. His two sons, desperate to cure their ailing father, are left with but one option. They must set out upon a journey to find and bring back the “Water of Life” as they come to rely on one another to survive. One must be strong where the other is weak, brave where the other is fearful, they must be… Brothers.

This is one journey you will never forget. (Steam)

Review

Here’s a word of advice for you. You could make a great game, if not one of the most fantastic games ever, be praised by critics and fans alike, and still fall into obscurity. Why is that? It is because it gets overshadowed by something else.

Let’s look at the facts then. Brothers was released in August of 2013. Gone Home, Saints Row IV, and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn also came out that month. Pokemon X & Y released that October, as well as the first episode of The Wolf Among Us. Both the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 burst out of the gates in November, and by then this little indie game had fallen into relative obscurity. These things just happen. We jump from one shiny gem to another and hope to catch them all without realizing that a few had already slipped past us.

To be honest, it slipped past me as well.

I heard about it a long time ago (if you can call 2013 as “long ago”), and I decided to pick it up Steam’s Summer Sale last year. I promptly forgot about it until last month. What awaited me was a beautiful and heart wrenching experience.

The first thing I noticed is that there is no discernable dialogue. All of the characters speak in a fictional language and (thankfully) have very brief conversations. This, coupled with the game’s sparse use of cutscenes, allows the game to tell its story through its gameplay instead of short movies inserted to provide exposition or extensive amounts of conversations with NPCs. Instead, it is told in what you do. Your actions are the story. That is my favorite part of this game, and it will set the bar for just about any other game I play from here on.

Brothers is also one of the few games that tries to make a unique game instead of tweaking an existing genre (*cough*everyFPSever*cough). The controls for the brothers are tied to each side of the controller (which is needed to play). Big brother gets one side, Little brother gets the other. Trying to control both at the same time is somewhat difficult, but it chooses to slowly ramp up the difficulty by providing more challenging puzzles and encounters.

For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I will say that I don’t often cry over video games, but this one brought me to the brink of tears. The story is bittersweet in all the right ways and is more akin to a Nordic myth than a fairytale. The ending will never truly leave me, and the characters, though they never said a word I understood, will be remembered.

The Good

  • Uses its gameplay to tell an expertly crafted story
  • Three to four hours are all that is needed to play this game.
  • Plenty of hidden secrets to find
  • That ending is a tearjerker

The Bad

  • There are a few bugs here and there. I actually fell through the ground once. It was awkward.
  • Due to the lack of dialogue or exposition, it can sometimes be difficult to find out what to do.

The Iffy

  • The game gets extremely dark at times, and those with squeamish stomachs will have some difficulty with this one.

Conclusion: Buy it, if you dare. Games like this one are rare in our Remastered/Sequelized world. Games that bring something new are being relegated to the indie developer, which automatically gives it a small fanbase. Taking a chance like this was worth taking, though, and I would love to see the developer come out with even greater games.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s