A tale of two sons… I admit I don’t take the time to play many games like this, but I’m glad I took the time to play Brothers (at the recommendation of my brother, coincidentally). The Brothers’ world is like playing in a dream. I found myself taking quite a few screenshots, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the experience. The artwork and scenery were beautiful and powerful in a way most games do not achieve. I found my mood affected by the lighting, music, weather, ambient sounds, and the moods of the brothers and other characters throughout the story (in spite of there not being a single real English “word” uttered). I liked the unique dual-character control concept (while we’re on the subject, note that this game requires a gamepad on the PC). It took only a few minutes to get used to, and it added a unique and memorable feel to the game. I enjoyed the attention to detail in the environment (on the beaten path), and the interesting puzzles and mechanics involved with making your way through the world, escaping peril, and coming to the journey’s end. The brothers compliment each other, and the gameplay reflects their differences in size and strength well. I was definitely feeling the feels by the end of this journey. I had to punch a tree to feel better.
“Brothers will take you on a dreamlike journey
with emotional highs, lows, and an occasional awe-inspired stare.”
My complaints are few, but for the sake of a balanced review I’ll say that there were a few things that were a minor bother. There are no difficulty settings, so what you see is what you get. I maybe let one brother die 2-3 times on accident during the entire game (due to falling). The “combat” was as slow and easy as it comes, and the puzzles were pretty simple and obvious. Your path is linear, and there is little room for exploring besides the few achievements available in the game (you can easily get them all the first time through, with maybe 10 extra minutes of gameplay). I think I would have enjoyed the game more if the devs had chosen not to use gibberish throughout the game in the place of real dialogue, but to each his own. I think this was probably a low budget issue, but it still works. For the most part, you know exactly what’s going on and what the characters are feeling and saying, but I would have felt closer to the characters if there was a compelling script. The game’s end is powerfully emotional, but the gibberish detracted from the seriousness of the story in my opionion.
All-in-all, if you’re looking for an enjoyable, relaxing, short game to play in one or two sittings then “Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons” is an excellent choice. The powerful emotional journey more than makes up for the simple puzzles and easy gameplay.
Disclaimer: This is the first serious video game review I have ever written in my entire life. If you think it sucks, or you don’t agree with my opinion or scores then please give me some feedback! Seriously, any comments are welcome, I’m just eager to improve my analysis and commentary. Thanks!
Game Length: 3-4 hours of gameplay (including achievements and sightseeing)
Platforms: Xbox360, PS3, PC (Steam)
Price: $15.00 (as of Feb 2014)
Metacritic Score: 9/10 Critics – 8.5/10 Users
Achievement guide by YouTube User StrangeLuv:
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons
Art/Music - 9
Story - 9
Gameplay - 7
If you’re looking for an enjoyable, relaxing, short game to play in one or two sittings then “Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons” is an excellent choice. The powerful emotional journey more than makes up for the simple puzzles and easy gameplay.
Glad you enjoyed it! I’m of the opinion that the made-up language was not a budget limitation, but a deliberate decision to communicate with only body language and tone of voice. Either way, it was one of my favorite games of 2013.
You’re probably right, that’s just a guess on my part. I looked up Starbreeze Studios, and they appear to be headquartered out of Sweden – so saving money on not localizing the language of a script seems like a sound business decision to me, but that’s still just speculation.
As a deliberate decision, I think it works in the game’s favor in BOTH ways (artistically and financially). Admittedly, I’m a noob here when it comes to truly appreciating works of art. My background makes me think $ and strategy before art and design, but my tastes will develop!
Thanks for the comment, and the game recommendation in the first place! ATOTS was an excellent game; I’m glad I picked it up.
I agree with Brian that the nonsense language was likely a deliberate decision. Some games know how to execute the “show rather than tell” element more effectively than others, and Brothers is one of those games. The player can glean all the information they need from context, and any scripted dialogue runs the risk of sounding corny, especially in the more intense scenes. Besides, had it been scripted in Swedish, I wouldn’t have been the wiser! haha.
Good review though, I think you noted most of the important aspects of the game. Looking forward to more reviews! Thanks for the video linkback too, btw. Glad you found it useful! 🙂