Gaming time for me is often limited for family reasons so while I would love to immerse myself in a huge 150 hours plus world of exploration, I don’t often have the time so instead delve into the large collection of arcade games available on Xbox live for a shorter experience. This has led me to play some utter tripe but also some beautiful masterpieces but which category does “Brothers” fit into?
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an adventure/puzzle game brought to us by Starbreeze Studios, more known for games like Syndicate and The Darkness, which tells the story of two brother’s quest to find a magical tree where they need to collect water that will save their dying father. Having already been shown an emotional scene detailing the demise of the boy’s mother, the importance of saving their father is intensely felt.
With that emotional burden upon their shoulders you set off on your quest through beautiful villages and lands encountering raging seas, trolls, giants, caves and battlegrounds.
The world you are in and the characters you play, Naiee and Nyaa, speak a fictional language so clues you need to gather are portrayed in the action being displayed on screen and not understood verbally and this adds so much to the game, focusing your attention on the expressions of the characters and preventing your eyes from leaving your television screen for too long a period thus drawing you deeper and deeper into the world of the game.
The games puzzles are not very difficult and will likely be obvious to you at your first attempt which helps the stories forward momentum but adds little for gamers looking for a challenge.
The unique controls, where you control one brother with the left trigger and analogue stick and the other with the right, are picked up relatively quickly and other than a few moments of sorting your hands out, work just fine and also add to the game by having you constantly working beside both characters rather than jumping from one to the other.
The soundtrack is beautifully crafted to perfectly reflect the intensity of each different area you are in and exploring.
Graphically the game is reminiscent in design to Fable and there are many jaw dropping moments of beautiful scenery. I honestly couldn’t fault the look of this game. I find it to be one of the most appealing visual experiences I have had in a long time.
The real morbid beauty of this game is the story which is the polar opposite of the bright and beautiful lands you explore. The story is dark and depressing telling visual tales of death, loss, ancient battles, torture and even suicide balanced off by the beauty of the brother’s dependency and loyalty to each other.
The only downside I felt was that the game is pretty short, with me completing it within 4 to 5 hours. Having said that, I have played many games that are 20 hours long without 4 or 5 quality hours within them so it is just a minor complaint brought on more by the fact that I didn’t really want it to end.
Slightly too simple puzzles and a short game but a hugely rewarding experience and a brilliant tale told brilliantly. Reminding me of Limbo in colour, the games dark tones in a beautiful world make this my favourite Xbox arcade game to date and one I hope you all get to experience.
Just try not to shed a tear at the end………………………..
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
The Final Score - 9/10
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