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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

by The Media Diorama

Brothers conjoin the familial bonds of male siblings to conquer a melancholic, domineering and adventurous tale of life and death, whilst employing ingeniously designed puzzles to truly test the bindings between brothers.

WHAT I LIKED

+ A mother drowned at sea, a father succumbing to an incurable illness and an arduous quest to the Tree of Life. The sorrowful world of Brothers undoubtedly crafts a poignant yet palpable tension between the player and the carefully constructed world. The events these two siblings face, such as a pack of ravenous wolves stalking them and a rampaging giant attempting to crush them, test the very intricacies of their relationship, with each level dramatically progressing their bond. Before you know it, the epilogue arrives and you’ve subconsciously become invested in their journey. And yes, it’ll rip your heart out.

+ Sidestepping round perilous cliffs, mounting billy goats and even hanging on a glider. Each of the seven chapters is thematically, aesthetically and paced differently from each other. The world and its levels create an entire character within itself, making for an exploratory albeit linear quest.

+ Taking inspiration from various tombs found in the beloved ‘Tomb Raider’ franchise, the obstacles these brothers must face instigate several strategies in order to overcome them. From co-operative climbing to mechanical manipulation, each puzzle felt refreshing and regularly changed the pace of the game while still inspiring teamwork.

+ Each brother is controlled by one of the analogue sticks (played with a controller) instead of consistently switching between as found in many other similar games. Bravely relinquishing the true co-operative experience and sticking with a single-player journey cements the innovative controls that, whilst take some getting used to, grants each brother a metaphysical link with the player. Especially during that epilogue where the controls are somewhat changed (I was silenced for a good ten minutes after the game ended…).

WHAT I DISLIKED

Graphically the world looks beautiful, gorgeous even. The character models however were too stilted and polygonal, juxtaposing the luscious world they inhabit. The ‘Sims’-like verbal communication between them heightened the outdated vibes even further, to which a non-speaking narrative would’ve enhanced the emotional investment towards the siblings more efficiently. The first half of the game admittedly lacked this required investment, which may turn several players away from the simplistic story.

Carrying that sheep across the bridge took forever…

VERDICT: 8/10

Boys playing with a ball, to which I come along to steal the ball and throw it down a well…