It’s pretty common to see a video game release alongside films these days, and Disney PIXAR’s latest film, Brave, is no exception. While most of these video games are very easy to play and complete, you do get one game every now and then that tries to go the extra mile and offer something a little different. Brave: The Video Game has taken this route and come out with some rather surprising results.
Being an adaptation of the newly released film, Brave follows the story of Mérida, a young Scottish girl residing in the Highlands of 10th-century Scotland, who has cast a nasty curse on her mother - who has now been transformed into a bear. When her mother escapes the castle, in which the family resides, Mérida is determined to undo her wrong doings and turn her mother back into a human again. With the help of a local witch, who cast the curse in the first place, Mérida must travel through the Ring of Stones, which acts as the game’s hub, to rid the Highlands of the evil curse that has been cast by the bear lord, Mor’du.
To battle the evil that has spread across the land, Mérida has her trusty sword and bow. Both work in a very different way and add a nice bit of variety to the battles you’ll be constantly in throughout the ten or so levels in the game. Pressing the X button (on Xbox at least) simply swings your sword but you can also unlock some slam abilities to take out large groups of enemies quickly. The bow works very differently and is actually controlled using the right analog stick turning Brave into a dual stick shooter! This may sound crazy to people who have played more ‘serious’ dual stick shooters, but cranking the game up to the ‘Brave’ difficulty can provide a serious challenge that even the most seasoned gamer will have a hard time completing first time.
Add to this the four charms that the game has to offer and you’ll be surprised just how complex Brave can become. The charms you collect are based off of the four elements: earth, fire, wind and ice. Each enemy you come across will have a weakness to one of these elements so it’s up to you to quickly switch through the charms and take out the enemies before they send you to the abyss.
As the game progresses you will have some encounters where you will face enemies from all four elements which can really test your skills. To give a little more ‘oomph’ to your attacks you can also unlock a variety of charged and power attacks, which can be purchased at the merchants found throughout the lands by using the coins gathered from fallen enemies or by smashing the scenery to bits.
It’s a shame there are only a few levels in Brave because the combat is actually really fun and as already stated, the ‘Brave’ difficulty adds that level of complexity you don’t see in film adaptations. The story telling is also missing. Aside from some mini cut scenes every now and then, it’s not really difficult to understand what’s going on. The levels are quite long, and although linear, do feature some nice puzzles throughout and you’ll need to leave the beaten path in order to find all the collectables and weapon upgrades. The art style of the game is actually very pleasant and despite not being able to see the detail on your character most of the time, due to the camera being so far out, the scenery is always nice to look at and the effects from the four elements go down well.
While the game ends once you have finished the story, you can bring in a co-op partner, who plays as a wisp, for some extra fun times. This does not really change the overall experience, and it will only make the game become slightly easier due to two of you attacking enemies at the same time. While the social aspects of co-op are a welcome addition, you will reap the most enjoyment from simply cranking the difficulty to the ‘Brave’ setting and adventuring on your own.
While there are plenty of games coming out in the next few months, which many you will have your eye on, if you can spare the coin one month and fancy a mellow title with a charming story and detailed battle system, Brave: The Video Game may just be the game for you!