Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the first game to be featured in Microsoft’s 2013 Summer of Arcade promotion. With comparisons made to adventure greats such as Fable and Journey, comes a tale about two brothers on an epic journey to save their father.
Published by 505 Games and developed by Starbreeze Studios (behind The Darkness) comes a single player story driven adventure game where you control the two brothers in one unique way. For the first time you control the brothers using both analogue sticks, i.e. the older brother is controlled with the left control stick and left bumper while the younger brother is controlled with the right control sick and bumper.
The game plays in an isometric view where the camera is top down, you can move the camera around with the right and left bumpers; all of this helps you see the world and also the two brothers better.
The game is paced across seven chapters that will take you across a journey of fun, laughter, distress and there is also a unique world to explore. Sometimes little adventurers would like to just sit down on a nearby bench and take thought of everything that is happening, and you will see plenty of benches nearby. You’ll find plenty of puzzles to solve throughout the game, each requiring both brothers to get past them. The big brother is strong and brave while the little brother is weak and scared, both of them must work together and survive this epic journey. Along the way you will come across mountains covered in snow, a place where the remains of the last fallen are left; and even a rather invisible troll. All of this sounds like something out of a story book and it is indeed just that.
The chapters of the story flow as you play along the journey, it keeps you glued to your seat as you do not know what is expected next. The art direction is something special. It really shows the world like no other. The Swedish game and film director, Joseph Fares, has attempted to create a game merging what he loves most about films, with the unique story telling tools a video game can provide.
The graphics shows off a beautiful colour pallet of the world and it really lets you get immersed in it. If you look closely, some of the cut scenes remind you of some events from Harry Potter, and that is truly saying something. Brothers has a superb soundtrack too, which helps you feel more immersed in the world and also the characters. The game can be completed around four hours and it is best to play it through in one sitting to get the full effect.
There is nothing much to say about the game being bad. There are the usual camera angle problems you come to expect from an isometric game. For instance, when you control both brothers at the same time along a narrow area, the camera will move along with them, but then it will move around to make it harder for you to move the brothers properly. Letting the camera expand out from a narrow area to show the player the unique world better would have helped improve this.
My other issue with the game is that it does not use any captions with English subtitles, so it can be hard to understand what the brothers are saying. At times you end up having to try and figure out what the story is all about via their actions.
With the Summer of Arcade started by Microsoft this is one that will be remembered for a long time, and I would not be surprised if it won an award at the VGA’s soon. Starbreeze Studios have started the Summer of Arcade off in style. This game is a beautiful adventure with Scandinavian music and scenery that is really a blessing to see as an Xbox Live Arcade game. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a small game but is also a wonderful and beautiful adventure to sit and play through. Joseph Fares has really shown how a small dramatic story can have an effect on the player (you may even have a tear at the end of the game), showing off the bond between the two brothers. For the price of 1200 Microsoft points this is a great little game to play and enjoy.