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In Case You Missed It – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Sometimes a game just slips under the radar. Whatever the reason for this occurring, be it bad marketing, classification problems or a strange concept, some games just fail to find their audience. Here at Player2.net.au we want to highlight these rough gems and that is where “In Case You Missed It” comes in. Some games just deserve a second chance.

In Case You Missed It – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Every now and then a studio completely takes me by surprise. It doesn’t happen often and in this day and age of instant news and reviews it is becoming harder and harder to do. So when Starbreeze announced Brothers: A tale of two sons I was completely taken aback. These are the guys and gals that brought me two of my favourite FPS’s of all time in The Darkness and Riddick yet now they were making a small XBLA game that focused on puzzles, story and brotherly love. Well let me tell you that Starbreeze have knocked it out of the park and created one of the most original and entertaining experiences in recent times.

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The most unique feature for this game is the control scheme. It had me controlling both brothers at the same time, each being assigned to one of the thumbsticks. This method of movement opened up some wonderful puzzles including one inspired section that found me using each brother in turn as an anchor, swinging the other by their attached rope to the next ledge. This is just one example of how well thought out the puzzles are. The controls unfortunately also bring the game’s only negative into light. It is quite difficult to get used to controlling both brothers at once and some of the interactions with the environment can be touchy. This resulted in my death quite a few times when perhaps a little tightening of the movement systems could have enabled a smoother experience.

But I am pleased to say that the negatives end there. The story, while simply told, is both touching and enjoyable. Starbreeze has managed to tell a story with no spoken word, yet despite that it grabbed me from its simplistic beginnings all the way through to its bittersweet end.  A deft and subtle hand is displayed here and not once did I feel the story was underdone or the emotion laid on too thick. It played right to the heart both my relationship with my own brother and the relationship my two boys share. I could almost see my sons taking on this impossible journey, making this a game that I truly cared about and that is something I can’t say about many games

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The world was also a feast for my eyes. The obviously Tolkien inspired scenery continued to amaze me as I turned each corner. From dark caves to ice rivers, from a dark night in the forest to a stunningly beautiful garden, wherever my journey took me I was constantly impressed. At one point when the characters were silhouetted against the night sky with the Northern Lights illuminating the background I had to just stop and take it all in. It was a truly beautiful scene that was both artistically and technically inspiring.

I simply cannot say enough good things about Brothers. To state that the game surprised me would be an understatement. From the puzzles to the art style I cannot find fault and I think only the coldest of heart could be unmoved by the touching story. The game is short (about 3 hours) but that is the perfect length for the experience on offer. It is a game that actually benefits from being played all in one session as it only enhances the story and adds to the emotional impact. Despite a few control issues I heartily recommend Brothers to anyone that needs a little more wonder in their lives and in my experience that is just about everybody.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is available for cheap on Steam, XBLA and PSN so there is no excuse not to experience this amazing journey.

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Matt Hewson

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