Starbreeze Studios made a frankly astonishing game when they crafted Brothers A Tale of Two Sons. It takes the path of Journey, the much celebrated PS3 game in that it delivers a magical experience for several hours and cuts out all the padding and filling. I would argue however that where Journey placed your emotions with unknown players, here Brothers really pushes your buttons with a singer player co-op experience like almost no other and it potentially is more potent.
You see Brothers lets you control two characters at once, playing two brothers out to find medicine for their sick dad for fear that they’ll have to bury him next to their mum. Each one has an analogue stick to move each brother about and a shoulder button to interact with the world around them. Each action, puzzle and move is made by pressing the button close to something to trigger it off. That will be climbing, carrying, swinging, bashing, rolling and shouting. There are tons of things to do and see and the fact the achievements/trophies are all for discovering non story related extras says a lot about how the makers want you to go and play. The way the two interact differently to the same things is beautiful and you gain so much character from these snippets and their nonsense language.
Where Brothers excels as a gaming experience is that as soon as a gaming mechanic is introduced and used, it’s discarded never to be used again (except running and climbing but even they change). One minute you’ll be swimming and clinging onto each other for dear life (the smaller brother can’t swim) and the next you’ll be playing distract the fat animals to get through a field only to be tying up trolls in the next scene. It keeps everything fresh and unique in a world that forever changes and develops as you trek from villages to mountains to horror night forests and then through the ice frozen sea. To talk about what you;ll get up to is to spoil a lot of the fun so I’ll leave it uncovered but the tasks are varied and hold a lot of surprise. The controls are simplistic too which ensures you’re focused entirely on the world and task at hand.
Lastly its emotion and immersion that raise this game to the highest levels. The world is fascinating and the characters interactions make them the cutest duo since Yorda and Ico. It’s that kind of genuine connection that makes you will them on and as they face greater peril and things don’t often go to plan you’ll be desperately trying to get them back together again.
– Fascinating single player co-op experience that hasn’t been fully pushed for years
– Beautiful visuals and audio
– So…SO emotional
– Absolutely no fluff or filler content at all
– You have no heart
Having played this and been utterly entranced by its magic, it would criminal not to mention this as one of the best story driven experiences of gaming history. I cannot recommend this game enough. Seriously…. no seriously.