Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Tony49
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons (XBLA)
It’s raining outside when the sun should be shining. Kids are on the streets enjoying their six weeks off while parents are going mad trying to play entertainer to the chorus of “I’m bored” from those children. What does this mean I hear you cry?
Well this must mean summer is here and that also means Summer of Arcade has arrived on XBLA.
Today sees the first game released in this promotion with Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons, which is brought to us by Starbreeze Studios, the team behind the upcoming Payday 2, and is published by the guys at 505 Games.
The game also sees Swedish director Josef Fares make his first videogame, as he is normally a guy behind the lens of a video camera making movies that no doubt none of us will ever of heard of, but he seems a good guy from videos I’ve seen on YouTube. He spoke about how he wants Brothers to be a game that gives us a reaction to what plays out in the game, by that he means rather than just pressing buttons on a joypad we get to feel what these brothers go through in the game. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let us take a step back and let me explain what Brothers is all about.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is essentially a puzzle solving game with a light sprinkle of story put into the mix to blend it all together. But overall it is a game about exploring. You control two brothers who have already lost their mother to a drowning accident at sea, but the game kicks off with your father being very ill and needing urgent help. Once you are given a quick tutorial of the simple controls, the games path is set as you must find a cure to save your dying father from this illness. This requires the two brothers working together to overcome tons of puzzles and obstacles as they travel through a fairytale land to save their very sick father.
The way the brothers work together is one of the unique aspects in the whole game, as the game sees you taking control of them both via the one joypad, as this is a co-op game without the actual co-op. Big brother is controlled by the left analogue and the left trigger, while little brother is the right analogue stick and the right trigger, so the game is more a experience rather than having to kill tons of things.
There are things to protect yourselves as you progress in the story, but these come few and far between in the game and to be honest with you I feel the game would have just felt wrong with any sort of combat added to it. The controls were a little bit hit and miss at times, as I did have moments of crossing them over to their respected pad position so my mind would insist on not relaying that back to me which meant a lot of walking into walls and a few idiotic deaths. That being said it’s not something that stops you enjoying the game one bit, as you tend to get used to it the more you play it, but it will happen to you.
Away from the actual control mechanic and gameplay itself a few other things stood out for me that sometimes get over looked in downloadable games these days, music being one such thing.
Now without going into spoilerific review territory, Brothers takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions as you play through the game. You do become attached to the bond between these two characters, and the background music at times only helped this fact. With fantastic use of the music throughout, the game really does a great job of creating an atmosphere where the game is best played quietly and via some gaming headphones, as I loved whenever there was a intense piece of music played through my headset, as it somehow gave that moment more of a meaning.
Another thing that stood out was how beautiful the game was, and by this I don’t mean how colourful it is, but how well the world matches the story being told. It captures everything you would expect of a world full of trolls and giants and it really does feel like you are reading a fairytale like story as you play through each chapter of the game.
That being said with only seven chapters in the game it will feel a little short, as my run through only took about four to six hours, but the fact my gamerpoints came in at a low 100g tells me I need to go back and explore the world more. So if you take anything from the review make it be that, don’t rush through the game like I did for my initial review, but enjoy, explore, and be sure to capture everything this game world offers to you.
Overall Brothers: ATOTS is one of those games that I went into not expecting much out of, but I’ve come out of it fully respecting Starbreeze studios and Josef Fares for what they have done with this game. Think what games like Limbo and The Walking Dead did for the XBLA market and Brothers stands right alongside those for a game experience, and for me it’s already one of the stand out titles on XBLA this year. The Summer of Arcade has kicked off with a real Scorcher of a game, here is hoping the heat wave continues!
Summary: A wonderful gaming experience to be had, and will surely be highly spoken of from anyone that gets their hands on it. Brothers: ATOTS has kicked of the summer of arcade with a sure fire hit.