Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Review

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Genre Adventure / Platforms PSN, XBLA, Steam

Developer Starbreeze Studios / Publisher 505 Games

Platform Played On PC

Yes, you can finish Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in four hours tops. No, the game doesn’t feature a multiplayer, nor any other modes – be them offline or on – besides its campaign. That being said, Starbreeze Studios’ latest title is one of the most touching adventures in recent memory. Do you want the short version? Buy it. Now! For more details, read on below.

Brothers focuses on the story of a family torn apart. After the death of the children’s mother, their father falls ill. His salvation comes in the form of a special tree, so it’s the brothers’ duty to start searching for it.

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The story doesn’t get any deeper than this, and the narrative is also kept to a minimum. Because of this, A Tale of Two Sons doesn’t feature any voice-acting, resorting instead to a similar “chit chatter” found in games such as EA’s The Sims. This approach to verbal interaction might sometimes be goofy – especially when the game is trying to portray a particular sense of gloom – but more often that not, it’s actually fun guessing what the brothers are talking about, based on their surroundings. It’s a nice little touch that adds to the game’s charm.

At first glance, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons might look like a lighthearted fairy tale. For the most part, it actually is, but make no mistake: dark moments are also present. Whether it’s a farmer trying to hang himself because his family died in a terrible fire, or a disturbing dream in which big brother is trying to kill little brother (maybe because he blames him for their mother’s death?), through these powerful and emotional moments, Brothers reminds you that the world is still a painful – sometimes unforgiving – place.

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A Tale of Two Sons’ environments are as varied as the brothers’ activities. Contrary to its very simplistic game-mechanics, each part of the game features its own unique activities. Sure, turning levers and hanging above cliffs is the norm everywhere, but Brothers also presents you with more exciting, or simply fun moments, such as riding goats, flying with a kite, rowing a boat, or simply interacting with the world’s inhabitants. All these activities take you through forests, caves, mountains, snowy castles, and other environments.

When interacting with certain objects or NPCs (non-playable characters), each brother acts differently. While little brother will simply toy with a woman’s broom, big brother will help her clean. While big brother will simply stare inside a well (maybe contemplating at their journey ahead?), little brother will disregard any sense of emotion, and simply spit inside. Little brother is joyful and naughty, while big brother is more serious and focused on their task at hand.

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Cooperation is key in A Tale of Two Sons. For example: one brother needs to get a dog’s attention, while the other sneaks behind him, and vice versa. Only little brother can enter through bars, while big brother is the only one capable of pulling levers. In order to reach a higher ledge, big brother will give little brother a boost, after which the latter will throw the former a conveniently placed rope. It’s a joy seeing the brothers work so close together, even though controlling them at the same time can get a little bit awkward.

Brothers also features a few puzzles, but they aren’t brain-taxing by any stretch of the imagination. That, coupled with the fact that A Tale of Two Sons features so many checkpoints, and invisible walls, shows you that the game is meant to be seen as an experience, rather than a standard game. As such, the title can easily be finished in about three or four hours. It’s short, but it also doesn’t outstay its welcome.

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On the presentation side, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ visuals are nothing to write home about, though its atmosphere is perfectly matched by an exceptionally heartwarming soundtrack. There are some odd moments here and there, such as the brothers’ floaty movements, but when both brothers are seen peacefully sitting on a bench, grasping at their journey ahead, all is forgiven.

Verdict

It’s unfortunately a short adventure, but Brothers is a title which no one should overlook. It’s a sometimes dark, but generally lighthearted journey of two brothers in search of their father’s salvation. It’ll make you laugh, but it’ll also definitely make you cry. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons represents the definition of short, but immensely sweet.

Pros

+ A Very Powerful and Emotional Journey

+ Varied Environments and Activities

+ Amazing Soundtrack

Cons

- Too Short

Score 9.3

In addition to being a PC editor, Vlad Pintea is also a chief of news and reviews here at Analog Addiction, and sometimes he even speaks his own mind. You can contact him via e-mail at vlad94pintea@yahoo.com or vlad94pintea@gmail.com, on Skype, Steam (all at the same name: vlad94pintea) or Facebook (Vlad Pintea). Have a good day, and remember: stay calm, and keep on gaming!

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