Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Video games that try to tell more meaningful stories have begun not only to increase in number, but also in popularity, with the latest example being Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, coming from Starbreeze Studios, which has already appeared on the Xbox 360 last month and has just made its debut on the PC.
The new game aims at telling a fantasy story starring, as you can guess, two brothers, who go on an epic journey to save their disease-stricken father. They'll go through all sorts of adventures and the developer promises great puzzles, stunning environments, and much more.
Does the game deliver these things or should the two brothers retire from their adventuring? Let's find out.
Brothers focuses on two little kids, a younger and an older brother, each with different connections to their parents. The small one lost his mother at a younger age and this scarred him for life. The older one, seeing his father growing sick, is also deeply affected, so both will have to overcome their feelings and work towards the greater goal.
While I won't spoil anything more about the story, the two brothers will go through all sorts of adventures that grow in intensity and danger as they get closer to their goal – a mythical tree that houses a powerful cure for their father's disease.
The interactions between the two brothers are taken to a whole other level, as they don't speak in an actual language, instead relying just on different sounds to convey their feelings towards each other and during their adventures. While this can get a bit annoying, as some sound bites repeat themselves a bit too often, it also draws attention to the tones of their voices.
In terms of actual gameplay, Brothers is basically an action adventure with elements of puzzle platformers. What makes it stand out, however, is that you control the two brothers at once, using for each of them a thumbstick and a trigger on a controller.
On the PC, you can force the game to play with the keyboard but the experience is greatly diminished and certain actions, like turning levers or gears, is much harder.
This special control scheme, while making the game stand out, is quite tricky, especially for those who have a lot of experience with console games and inherently know that one thumbstick controls the character's movement, while the other handles the camera. Not even after a few hours do you get used to this new scheme but, eventually, you come to terms with it and at least don't end up causing one brother to move too much into a direction or get stuck in the scenery.
Speaking of environments, Brothers has a set of gorgeous levels, going from regular medieval fantasy villages, to more desolate sections and even snowy mountains and arctic environments, meaning you won't get bored with the same old scenery.
Exploring them is also pretty great, but there are quite a few moments where the puzzles are a bit too poorly explained or the solution to the challenge requires some serious out of the box thinking and quick maneuvering of the two brothers. Each of them has different advantages, as the older one can climb things faster while the younger can squeeze through the bars of a cage, for example.
In terms of graphics, the game is quite good, managing to make the most out of a visual style that's reminiscent of games like Fable, but it is also plagued by a few issues with the Unreal Engine, like texture pop-in. The two brothers look really great, however, as do the different characters and creatures they interact with.
The soundtrack is much more impressive, as the orchestral score is nothing short of moving and knows exactly when to accentuate the action on the screen and when to remain silent. The voices are decent but the repetition of certain verbal cues gets old fast.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a very impressive interactive experience, managing to combine some pretty good gameplay with a great story that will certainly resonate even more with players who have older or younger brothers or who have lost dear friends or family.
While there are a few problems, like some confusing puzzles, some tricky platformer sections, or the texture pop-in, gamers looking for something different should really try it out.