Occasionally a game comes along that you just have to play. Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons is one such game. But what makes this one of those must plays you ask? Is it the storytelling? Is it the twin stick mechanics? Or is it because this is the game that is kicking off 2013’s Xbox Summer Of Arcade?
To be honest, all of the above and then some. No matter how long you’ve been a gamer, Starbreeze Studios have come up with something that you’ll never have seen before and it’s all rather good.
Brothers tells the story of two young siblings out on a story driven puzzle adventure in search of a cure for their dying father. But the way the developers have gone about a) telling such an emotive story and b) controlling two characters at the same time is a way of genius.
Our central characters are known by nothing more than Big Brother and Little Brother and whilst they have their own ‘The Sims’ type of speech, there is nothing throughout the game that vaguely resembles English. That’s not such a bad thing because actions can speak a million types louder than words and very rarely throughout the 4 hours of gameplay do you ever come to a point in which you don’t know what is happening or where you are heading next. That’s not to say the puzzles in your way are simple enough to solve mind. Whilst the first 20 minutes or so give off a steep learning curve once you’ve got your brain in the right place, everything falls into place nicely. Even the twin sticks control method works nicely after a little while.
Ah yes, the twin sticks. Should be a breeze eh? Two brothers, two sticks, two triggers, that’s all you’ll be needing to work your way through Brothers. Why complicate things if you don’t have to? Your left stick controls the more sensible Big Brother throughout the game whilst the left trigger enables his numerous actions. Similarly, the right stick and right trigger sends the mischievous little guy on his merry way. Each have their own specific abilities but bring the two brothers together and they’ll work nicely as one with all manner of double teaming actions. Much like the puzzles, once you’ve given yourself 20 minutes to get used to the controls they seem very natural indeed and it works flawlessly. It kinda makes you wonder why the whole ‘two characters, 1 joypad’ thing hasn’t been seen very much before.
Add in a beautiful setting (reminds me much of Albion in the Fable series) and some frankly remarkable musical scores that set scenes superbly and you have a game that keeps on giving. At least for a little while anyway because the whole thing can easily be completed within 4 hours. A few more hours of story telling would have been preferred and would make the 1200 points you would have spent on it seem a little more reasonable.
But this is of course the game that’s kicking off this years Summer Of Arcade so anything less than that price point would have been a massive shock to the system.
This is also a 400 gamerscore giver and at least half of those achievements will be gained on the very first run through as long as you’re prepared to go slightly off the beaten path to search for numerous little goodies. The rest of the cheevos can be picked up easily enough thanks to the option of playing any episode/level at any time. A welcome change from the norm doesn’t see any gamerscore given for completing the game but instead each cryptic achievement description will get you thinking and exploring a bit more than usual.
You may have wondered why I haven’t mentioned much about the story line during this short review. Well, to go into any more depth than I already have would be a killer. Trust me when I say it’s a hell of a story with jaw dropping moments throughout and it will constantly hit emotions and memories you had long forgotten.
In summary, it may be short (and because of that many may decide to give it a miss), but you really must buy this brilliant little game, if not now then at least once it hits a sale. It may take you a few minutes to understand what exactly is the deal with the controls but please don’t let that put you off as the story and it’s numerous twists are glorious.
Believe me, you’ll be missing out on something very special if you give up on it!
What we like:
- Control method
What we dislike:
- Length of story
- Nowt much else!