There once was a time where more buttons meant better and more immersive gameplay, at least that’s what my friends almost ten years ago used to brag about, how about what game uses virtually all the buttons on your keyboard, or what game required those and the numpad as well. Not that I think any game used an ungodly amount of buttons anyway except as macros, but, well, that was so long ago and somehow I had believed them. The game I’m about to review uses exactly two buttons and the two thumbsticks and has one of the most redundant names in video game history. That game is Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons.
Developed by Starbreeze studios who developed well known games such Payday 2, Syndicate, and both Chronicles of Riddick games. Released in August of 2013, Brothers A Tale Of Two Sons garnered so much praise that I was a little skeptic of all the reviews and had to give it a go myself.
Brothers A Tale Of Two Sons follows the story of, well, two brothers who embark on a journey to get water from the tree of life for their sick and dying father. Throughout their journey they encounter an assortment of dangers including the local bully, a farmer’s dog, a pack of wolves and so on.
The game plays a little like a twin stick shooter and nothing like one. You’ll literally have to change the way you think about controlling a character in order to be able to control your two protagonists in Brothers. The big brother is controlled via the left thumb stick and the L2 button, and the young brother is controlled via the right thumb stick and R2 button. Now this made me more than once use the left stick thinking I’m controlling the younger brother because I was looking at him, and my brain was thinking that the left stick moves the character and the right stick moves the camera, as any top down, third person, or over the shoulder game would play, but Brothers demands that you learn to have your brain focus on the two brothers at the same time, moving each in a different direction at times, or in the same direction when they’re carrying something together, or when they’re running away from a monster.
Brothers A Tale Of Two Sons is heavily puzzle based, and they’re all very fun to go through. There was this one puzzle where you had to keep the big brother hanging on to a chain while the small brother raced across a platform to help his older brother get to the other side of the area which was admittedly very fun to get through. The boss fights are also all puzzle based, there are no weapons in this game, you won’t be wielding a sword and hacking through a bunch of enemies, the big fights all rely on good timing and mostly common sense.
Some of the puzzles in the game are not mandatory and those are the things that grant you the trophies, and they’re mostly very fun to go through, like reuniting two troll lovers together, or reuniting a mama turtle with her baby turtles.
Also, before I wrap up the gameplay section, there’s a particular nod to a particular indie game at the end of Brothers that I really liked, also, not sure if it was intentional or not, that same part references Dark Souls as well.
The game is set in a fantasy world that you are not given a lot of information about, but everything looks stunning and very nicely detailed, between the small cottages the brothers lived in to the big hulking castles where the giants dwell (which was another prod at Dark Souls, Anor Londo, anyone?) but there’s not much else to say since the graphics are not particularly impressive or anything, but it does look really nice.
The game’s soundtrack is nice but not stellar, I won’t be looking for the soundtrack anytime soon, not because it’s bad but mainly not that memorable, except at certain points in the game.
Another amazing thing about the audio work in Brothers A Tale Of Two Sons (I just love saying that name over and over, not sure why) was how their regular speech is a weird language, it’s not English, it’s not Latin, it’s not anything, but I did detect hints of Arabic here and there. Nevertheless, the game is done in a manner which will have you understand everything going on through the circumstances, the tones of the brothers’ voices, and even what they’re saying, even if it’s not making particularly any sense language wise, it’s strangely understandable.
Recap and Final Verdict:
Brothers A Tale Of Two Sons is a very emotional journey that connects you deeply with the two brothers, even with the language barrier, you end up caring for them and their adventure, my only issue with the game is that it ended a bit too soon, three or four hours long, it could have been a bit longer without being a drag since I genuinely cared for the brothers by the end of the game. If you won’t mind the short length, by all means, buy the game, if you do, I would still urge you to give it a shot, maybe wait for a sale or something, but it is definitely worth your time.