Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Articles RSS Feed | Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Emotional Games That Will Hit You Right in the Feels Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:00:02 -0500 Caio Sampaio


Video games are becoming more complex and so are their narratives. It is natural that developers and writers collaborate in order to work toward the true potential this medium has to deliver.


The titles listed herein are only some of the examples of games that can evoke strong reactions in their audiences. As games continue to invest more into narrative, the number of examples will only continue to grow over time.


Games are powerful experiences and the best titles in this industry are by no means behind of the best books and films of all time, especially when it comes down to emotional engagement.

To the Moon (2011)

Developed by: Freebird Games


You do not need complex graphics and detailed animations to create an emotional experience. This game is an example of this.


This 2D game became famous on YouTube for making YouTubers cry, as it tells the story of two scientists whose job is to visit people who are in their final days of life and grant them their final wish.


The method, however, is unorthodox. They use a machine to enter the minds of their clients, in order to modify their memories, so they die believing their wish has been granted.


In To The Moon, the two scientists visit a new client. An old man whose dream is to go to the moon. To accomplish this, they travel through the memories of this old man, to know what to modify, in order to make him believe he went to the moon before dying.

Mass Effect 3 (2012)

Developed by: BioWare


The Mass Effect franchise is one of the best examples of how much a player can care about fictional characters and the last installment of the trilogy is the perfect embodiment of this assertion.


Through its dialogue branches and morality system, players spend three games developing deep bonds with their favorite characters and sometimes, even diving into romantic relationships with them.


In the game that marked the finale of the fight of Commander Shepard against the threat of the Reapers, an ancient race that aimed to harvest organic forms of life, players continued to develop bonds with the characters, but it all lasted until the very last mission.


I will not go into detail, in order to keep myself from giving away spoilers, but the fate of your beloved squad during the final push against the reapers will depend on the choices made during the game.


I must admit that my squad fell on the battlefield in my playthrough and seeing them dead, because of my actions, after three games of bonding sent me into one of the toughest guilt trips I have ever underwent.


One of the best example of how games can create guilt in a player. Needless to say, I dropped many tears.

Life is Strange (2013)

Developed by: Dontnod Entertainment


The first choice-driven narrative of this list. In this adventure, players control Max Caulfield, a photography student in an Academy of arts.


Fate plays its role in the story. While saving the life of her best friend, Chloe Prince, who she has not seen in years, she discovers she can rewind time.


This reunited dynamic duo starts to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Amber, a close friend of Chloe.


As players dive into the story, they learn the dark secrets of what they believed to be just a common small town. Most importantly, they need to make choices and as the game progresses, these do not fit into an obvious "right or wrong" category anymore.


This game offers some of the most difficult choices in gaming, ranging from picking the right dialogue options in order to talk a friend out of suicide, to choosing whether you should accept the request of a terminally ill friend to remove her from life support and put her out of her misery.


This game has moments that will linger with its players for a long time, if not for a lifetime.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)

Developed by: Konami


The third game of this storied franchise took players to where everything began, controlling an American soldier named "Naked Snake," who is traveling through the forests of the Cold War era Soviet Union, circa 1964.


Starting with a simple mission, Snake receives the objective of rescuing a Soviet scientist who wishes to defect to the United States. And of course, the mission goes awry.


Snake's mentor, a legendary soldier code-named "The Boss," defects to the Soviet Union and encounters Snake in the forest, recapturing the scientist and delivering two stolen American-made mini nuclear warheads to the Soviets, which were used to nuke the laboratory of the scientist.


The Soviet Union declares that the United States were responsible for the incident, but the Soviets gave to the Americans the opportunity to prove their innocence. 


Snake received a new mission, return to the Soviet Union and eliminate the traitor, his mentor, The Boss.


Emotions fly high in this game, as Snake clearly opposes his mission to kill his master, but he proceeds with his orders and infiltrates the forest after her.


For how long will he ignore his feelings, in order to do what is right?


This is the emotional conflict of the game and as players learn how deep the relationship between Snake and the Boss is, they will share the same inner plight as the protagonist, considering whether they should use their minds and do what is right, or follow their hearts.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013)

Developed by: Starbreeze Studios


No words, only feelings. This is the premise behind the narrative of this game that tells the story of two brothers out to save their terminally ill father. The only way to keep him from succumbing to his mysterious illness is collecting water from the "Tree of Life."


Throughout the game, players explore the beautiful universe of this title, as they listen to the masterful soundtrack composed by Gustaf Grefberg that can, at times, hit you in the feels itself.


And although the characters speak in a fictional language that is incomprehensible to the player, players are able to easily understand their emotions through deduction and context. What's more, the story and each characters' personalities are conveyed through gameplay, thus creating an inventive experience that mixes gameplay and narrative with mastery. 


Due to this, players easily connect with the characters and feel empathy for them as they seem to be an extension of the players. Combined with a powerful story, this game can certainly make you drop few tears.


Throughout the years, many works of art have become famous for evoking strong emotional responses from their audiences. This holds true for literature, film, television and more.


Video games can also create a vast range of emotions, but due to their interactive nature, they can evoke feelings that no other form of entertainment can, including pride and guilt, the latter of which is particularly effective in eliciting waterworks.


If you are a fan of books or movies, you have certainly experienced the trauma of either reading about or watching the death of a character you cherished dearly. It certainly did not feel good.


In videos games, you control the action, and even if you are playing a game with a linear narrative, in which you have no choices, it is your input that drives the story forward.


When a character dies as a consequence of your actions -- even if you had no choice -- it is natural to feel guilt. This remorse multiplies the sadness by a factor of 10. Interactivity give to players a sense of agency and this makes the experience more emotionally effective. You are not just reading or watching a story, you are participating in it.


With this said, here are five games that mastered how to use the interactive nature of video games to create powerful emotions -- and ended up hitting players right in the feels.


Warning: spoilers for the following games ahead:

  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
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  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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  • Life is Strange
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  • Mass Effect 3
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  • To the Moon
  • \n
10 Games You Can Finish In Just One Weekend Wed, 29 Jun 2016 09:47:48 -0400 Brandon Morgan

A lot of gamers don't have the time to devote to 100-hour single-player campaign, which is what we see in a lot of recent role-playing games. (We're looking at you, The Witcher 3!)

Thankfully, there are plenty of titles out there in the world with relatively short campaigns. You can complete any one of these ten games in just a single weekend! If you marathon the story mode, then perhaps you can finish two or three in the same time span.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

If you're looking for a truly heartwarming, fantastic tale that revolves around two brothers traversing a mystical world filled with giants and other creatures, then A Tale of Two Sons is what you're after. The game can be completed within 3 or 4 hours, which makes up a single sitting for most people these days.

Basically, the left and right joystick on a controller will control one of the brothers, respectively. This particular mechanic may be a little disorienting at first, but once you get your bearings, the gameplay is a breeze. A few small puzzle are also scattered throughout, but they're pretty simple to beat.


Journey, a PlayStation exclusive title, is the type of adventure game most people can get behind. The story mode will take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours to finish.

Throughout the gameplay, the player will climb and evade various dangers, make a few new companions, and explore the wonderful world that appears to be in a state of flux.

A single light shining in the sky will guide you to the top of the mountain.


Deadlight is an interesting indie game about a man on a quest to find his wife and daughter in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The game is set in a 1980s version of Seattle, and allows the player to focus on an exploration style of gameplay instead of hardy combat like most zombie games.

The 2D/3D mixed game will take between 4 to 5 hours to finish in its entirety. Some puzzles may give you a bit of trouble, but overall the game is really streamlined and easy to pick up and play.

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is a personal favorite in the adventure genre. You, the player, have total control over the movements and direction you take. The story is quite philosophical, and has plenty of comedy interjected within the dialogue.

While you may not be in total control of everything that happens, the ride to the end is well worth the time it takes. You can usually see all of the endings within 1 to 4 hours, though that may vary depending on how long you take to move through the stark office hallways.

Of course, there are multiple endings to discover, and some will simply lead to your demise. So be wary of your choices or what turn you happen to make early on.


Sure, you could play Portal 2, but the original is just something special to enjoy. This 3D puzzle game is best played with a buddy or your significant other, but make sure they have anywhere between 3 to 5 hours to sit down and complete the puzzling story.

There are multiple mazes, a few logic puzzles, and a quirky robot to contend with. Be sure to power up your portal guns beforehand!

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a violent thrill ride fueled by drugs, sex, and more than a little splattering of blood. The 8-bit top-down title should make you cringe on more than one occasion -- and not just because of the difficulty, which can get downright mean sometimes. If you have a good 5 to 6 hours to spend, invest that into this violent rabbit hole.

The player has no idea why they are being given these missions, but you will require a quick trigger finger to accomplish each of them. 

If you tend to rage-quit video games easily, then perhaps you should skip this particular game.

The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us is probably one of the best choose-your-own-adventure titles released by developer Telltale Games. The title is split up into five different episodes, each one ending with a little cliffhanger to pull you into the next. You can complete all three in anywhere between 10 to 14 hours.

While the end-game tends to be a bit scripted, the choices you make to get there are totally dependent upon you and how you're feeling at that particular moment. Each choice generally comes in the form of a dialogue option or a quick-time event.

Mirror's Edge

The first Mirror's Edge is a wonderful first-person platformer that focuses solely on free-running, which is often referred to as parkour by the French crowds. The single-player game focuses on nonviolent confrontations, which means you won't be wielding any firearms or swords to topple. There is no Mature content included, so even a teenager can take some time off from school and beat it within 10 hours.

Some of the gameplay tends to be on the tough side, so be prepared for a few difficult spots here and there. 

If you enjoy this one, you can also pick up the recently released reboot, Mirror's Edge Catalyst.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Silent Hill is an iconic survival horror franchise, so it is safe to say this is not for the faint of heart. For those with an iron stomach, however, you can beat Shattered Memories within 7 to 8 hours, depending on how long it takes to complete a few puzzles and run away from enemies. Trust us, you won't be fighting them all.

This is a psuedo remake of the original game, with familiar characters and a plot line that is pretty similar overall.

If you're looking to reinvigorate your love of the survival horror genre within the span of just two days, then this is a great start.

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line is one of those shooters that simply makes you think about the actions portrayed. While you have no direct control over what happens to the characters or the civilians in the game, you will receive a front-line ticket to this wild ride.

The psychological mechanics within the single-player campaign should make anyone stop and wonder for a second or two. The shooting is overall pretty simple and fluid, though it can feel clunky depending on the weapon you're using at the time.

Overall, you can complete the game in around 7 to 8 hours.

While there are plenty of video games you could complete within a weekend, you certainly couldn't do better than these ten. Each one should leave you with a memory or two.

What are your favorite games to beat in a single weekend? Let me know down in the comments!

The 7 parenting skills I developed by being a gamer Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:32:24 -0400 The Soapbox Lord


It’s interesting what parallels that one can correlate between parenting and gaming after some thought. While there are other parenting skills gaming has influenced and sharpened, I found these the most interesting and important. Now if you’ll excuse me, I probably have some fingerpainted dogs to clean off the walls…


Loving Something that Isn’t Perfect


We all enjoy games, but we know there is no such thing as a perfect game. It is impossible. Every game is flawed in some way. While we may be able to overlook the flaws even the greatest games have, some of gamers even enjoy games that have issues. We know they are far from perfect and they have issues, yet we still love them and hold them dear to our hearts. Now how in the world can that apply to parenting? Rather easily, it turns out.


The most important thing you can do as a parent is love your child. You could provide your child with everything they could ever want or dream of, but without loving them, they would not be content with their life. While there are other important skills tasks you have as a parent, few come close in importance to loving your child.


A parent’s love is dumbfounding, terrifying, and stronger than adamantium. However, children are far from perfect. Hell, kids are basically little adults with no life experience. They will make mistakes, they'll have 'bugs', and they'll frustrate you sometimes. The thing is, no matter what our children may do, we parents will continue to love our children; just like we gamers will continue to cherish our flawed, but enjoyable games.


Organization is Awesome


I tend to be a bit anal with some things. My movie, music, and game collections are all alphabetized. I have also somehow organized my colossal Steam and libraries by genre. No easy feat, I assure you.


I have also organized my book collection as well as my shoes, clothes, and my MMO inventories, and our Guild Bank, and you get the idea…. Having games organized allows you to easily find the game you just have a hankering to play, otherwise you are stuck rummaging through a pile of assorted games with no clue as to where that elusive game is! I've learned a thing or two about organizing damn-near everything.


As a parent, being organized is a must for everyday life as well as when you want to go somewhere. Organized clothes ensures you aren’t dressing your child in winter clothes in the heat of summer (you’d be surprised what happens when you aren’t awake yet). Having your child’s toys organized allows you to easily lay hands on that particular toy when they ask, “Where’s my favorite action figure block?!” While it may not always be easy, staying organized is a great skill for parents and gamers alike.


Ignoring the Haters and Dealing with Bullies


Like many people, I have had my fair share dealing with bullies, harassers, and those mean-spirited haters. Thankfully, dealing with people like this will allow me to help my daughter when she encounters these toxic creatures. While I hope and pray she won’t encounter them, it seems an inevitable passage of life we all must face.


We’ve all been there before. Playing our favorite game when someone decides to take it upon themselves and be the ugliest person they can be, usually in the form of sexist, hateful, and derogatory remarks.


Believe it or not, dealing with these people online helps determine how you will deal with similar people in real life. The exposure to meanies and bullies online will help you to deal with future incidents in a positive manner, and help you teach your kids how to rise above the negativity.


Shrugging Off Critics and Their Unwanted Advice


I’m convinced the moment you become a parent you gain an invisible bulls-eye for unwanted advice and criticism. I am all about useful, helpful, and constructive advice, but useless and hyper-critical advice from random strangers or even people you know? No thanks, mate.


Once I was walking towards my daughter with a bag of chips I was snacking on in hand. Someone told me, “Don’t feed that baby chips!” The joys of parenting! Thankfully, due to countless backseat gamers, I know how to shrug off this sort of uninvited backseat parenting.


The above story is probably also familiar to anyone who has ventured into the realm of online multiplayer. How many times have you been minding your own business fulfilling the role of your character only to receive criticism? “Why are you going top with Jinx?!” “Don’t use your abilities yet!” "Don't heal that baddie!" And so it goes.


While some of the things said online might be more akin to harassment and bullying (which we will get to), a lot of it is in a similar camp to the unwanted, not very helpful advice. By being constantly exposed to it, you learn how to deal with, ignore, deflect, or whatever it is you do. The important thing to remember is to not let it get you, either when playing games or parenting.    


A Willingness to Try New Things


As a parent, it can be difficult to get your child to try new things. “It looks gross! I don’t like the way it smells. This place is different!” And so on. Kids can be very picky, especially when it comes to food. Thankfully, my daughter is a miniature vacuum cleaner at the moment and rarely finds something she will not eat. (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.) As parents, we want to ensure our child experiences things they might not otherwise. Great things can arise when you leave your comfort zone. Variety is the spice of life after all.


Fellow players also know how important trying new things can be. Some of my favorite games include Spec Ops: The Line, To the Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. All three games are drastically different and stretch across multiple genres. Without being willing to try something different from my usual taste, I would have probably never played these amazing games. How many times have we played a game we thought was strange because our friend or a critic we respect recommended it?


By trying new things, we allow ourselves to be open to a wide variety of experiences and whatever may follow. Sure, you can play the same yearly iterations of Madden and Call of Duty, but you miss out on great games such as Brothers, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Transistor, and Bayonetta.


By being a gamer who embraces variety and is willing to try a wide variety of titles, I know the importance of variety and hope my daughter will grow up appreciating variety as well. Hopefully she will never be a picky eater too! 


A Thrifty Gamer is a Thrifty Parent


If you play games, chances are you are a bargain hunter, even if only a small amount. We are always hunting for deals and steals in order to play as many games as possible for as little money as it takes. Steam Sales, Humble Bundles, bargain bins, and yard sales are just some of the tools in our repertoire we use to get those cheap deals! (I even wrote a guide on how to be bargain gamer for consoles.) Many players shop smart, are frugal, and know how to do as much research as they can to find the best deal possible.


Having a child can be quite expensive. Car seats, beds, clothes, diapers, and the many other necessities add up quick. However, being a thrifty gamer absolutely transfers into being a thrifty parent.


I could buy that brand-new Graco carseat for $300 (these things are expensive), or I can get this other one someone returned, in like-new condition, for only $100! I have found myself constantly calculating the cost of individual wipes, diapers, and more in an effort to make the best buy and stretch my funds as much as possible. My constant bargain-hunting for games has allowed me to find great deals on things for my daughter. Stay thrifty my friends! 


Patience is a Virtue


One of the most important qualities you can have as a parent is patience, especially with younger children. Kids are curious and will get into EVERYTHING. It’s just a fact of life. You can turn your back for an instant and turn around to discover your child has fingerpainted animals on all of your walls. While kids will always do things they are not supposed to and they will disobey, we still must remain patient with them.


Anyone who has played any game has had to learn patience. Those of us who grew up playing the frustratingly difficult games of the NES generation know what I mean. Most games require some degree of patience in order to be successful. Players who are fans of notoriously difficult games such as Super Meat Boy and the Souls series, among many others, are well acquainted with our friend patience. Now if you are constantly breaking your controller in frustration, you might want to work on that… 


I have been playing games for my entire life so far with no end in sight. Over the years of playing games, I have learned many things about myself and the way I experience media, as well as what genuinely affects me on an emotional level (among countless other things). I recently discussed the benefits kids acquire from playing games.


Now imagine my surprise when I realized all that time playing games has actually taught me to be a better parent. Crazy, eh?


Believe it or not, there are certain skills you can develop by being a member of the gaming culture at large. While not all of these develop strictly from playing games, per se; they are all interconnected and have developed in some way through the years due to my time with games and the culture. So, how can your game time now possibly translate to being an awesome parent later? Let’s find out!    

[Rumor] Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons may be coming to the eighth generation consoles? Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:42:47 -0400 Dalton White I

Some online “proof” exists that Brother: A Tale of Two Sons, an adventure game created by Starbreeze Studios and originally released in 2013, might be making an eight-generation debut. Recent tweets by Twitter user lifelower reveals screenshots of German ratings listing, filed under the publisher 505 Games Italy.  The screenshots list a 12+rating for the game for a possible release on PS4 and Xbox One.

the tweet that may hint at the next generation

It is unknown if these ratings are real or fans creating a little hoax....or fans just hoping the game will jump onto the newest generation of gaming consoles.

The original game was a lovely creation that blended gorgeous visuals, a story featuring deep themes of maturity and independence, and a superb soundtrack. The controls for moving both the older and younger brothers simultaneously could be finicky at times. However, similar to thatgamecompany’s Journey, the style with which Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons visually and cleverly conveys their simple yet touching tale is something that is truly rare to find among games today. 

Brothers Gameplay Shot

If Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons does come to the newest generation of consoles, it should be a game that many gamers should embrace, especially with some updated graphics and tweaks. 

Dragon Age: Inquisition Wins Game of the Year, but Nintendo Dominates the 2014 Game Awards Sat, 06 Dec 2014 07:59:48 -0500 Esteban Padilla

Awards shows have never really been the strong suit of the video game industry. From G4’s G-Phoria to Spike TV’s VGAs, many have attempted to throw a good end-of-the-year event, and they have failed to draw in the same prestige and large audiences that music and film awards shows do. But that didn’t stop Geoff Keighley from trying.

Without the network support that he previously had from Spike TV hosting the VGAs (now defunct since they retooled the titular event to the more trailer-filled VGX), Keighley decided to personally fund an entirely new gaming awards show. 

Backed by the holy trinity of gaming - Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft - along with a slew of other industry heads, the inaugural Game Awards was set to be a different kind of video game award show, more focused on bringing together developers, journalists, and fans from all aspects of gaming. In fact, the new format allowed for free submissions, giving indie and small developers a chance to really shine alongside the big industry players.

The result: a more intimate evening with video game lovers from all walks of life rubbing shoulders together and enjoying their trade without the slog of sponsorships and blatant pandering seen in other events.

The Big Award of the Night

Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay Screenshot

Screenshot of Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay, which was voted as the Game of the Year.

The elusive Game of the Year title, went to BioWare’s Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Although the game has been receiving generally positive reviews in its first few weeks of public release, it has been under a fair amount of criticism for its filler content, and was not as highly regarded critically as some of the other contenders, such as Dark Souls II and Bayonetta 2It should be noted that the panel of judges included developers and journalists alike, so maybe BioWare’s solid track record influenced the decision. 

Other games that performed well at the Game Awards include:

  • Hearthstone (Best Mobile/Handheld Game)
  • Far Cry 4 (Best Shooter)
  • Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Best Narrative AND Games for Change awards). 

A full list of the nominees and winners can be found here.

Despite popular fan opinion...

Mario Kart 8 took home both the Best Sports/Racing Game and Best Family Game awards for the evening. 

Nintendo didn’t win the Game of the Year award for Bayonetta 2 or the Best Mobile/Handheld Game award for Super Smash Bros 3DS. But before you start feeling like they were robbed, you should know Nintendo walked away with four awards, including:

  • Best Fighting Game (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U)
  • Best Sports/Racing Game (Mario Kart 8)
  • Best Family Game (Mario Kart 8)
  • Developer of the Year

Special mention should go to the Best Fan Creation and Best Independent Game awards, as they both involved properties closely associated with Nintendo (Twitch Plays Pokémon by Anonymous and Shovel Knight respectively).

As if winning 4 out of the 18 awards available to developers wasn’t enough, Nintendo also took control over the screen time. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé himself was there to do what he does best, which is get us excited about games we’re dying to play already.  Along with opening the evening with footage from Mario Maker (seen here along with every other trailer and footage clip shown at the Game Awards), we were treated to the world gameplay premiere for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., Nintendo’s new 3DS title that looks like their take on XCOM: Enemy Unknown - if it borrowed some of Borderlands’s aesthetics and threw in a healthy dose of steampunk design choices, that is.  

Eiji Aunuma demonstrating horseriding and exploration gameplay for the Legend of Zelda Wii U title to Shigeru Miyamoto.

As exciting as this was to see, it probably paled in comparison to the headliner event of the evening: the Legend of Zelda for Wii U gameplay footage.  The game is set to be released sometime next year after the Majora’s Mask remake for 3DS and Star Fox Wii U title.

To top it all off, Nintendo finished the event strong with a combined Legend of Zelda music medley involving American rock band Imagine Dragons and the prolific Koji Kondo, who is responsible for just about every iconic Nintendo earworm tune you’ve ever heard.

To top it all off, Nintendo finished the event strong with a combined Legend of Zelda music medley involving American rock band Imagine Dragons and the prolific Koji Kondo, who is responsible for just about every iconic Nintendo earworm tune you’ve ever heard. 

The event signed off with a collaborative acoustic performance of Imagine Dragon’s breakthrough hit “It’s Time,” which really demonstrated the more personal and unorthodox tone of the evening. 

That’s not to say that no one else made a big scene at the Game Awards.

The Metal Gear Online gameplay footage was one of the highlights of the evening.

Several other trailers and games were announced (again, all of them can be found here), including new titles from Gone Home’s creators and Hazelight Studios, well-known for indie darling Brothers: A Tale of Two Songs

We also got to see gameplay footage for Metal Gear Online and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (which won Most Anticipated Game that evening). Not to mention everyone’s favorite gamer violinist, Lindsey Stirling, also offered her own musical contribution with her (beautiful) rendition of the Dragon Age: Inquisition theme. 

But being able to open and close the first Game Awards really showed Nintendo’s pull in the gaming industry and their prowess as a titan of gaming.  Good game, Nintendo, good game.

10 Great Games Under $30 To Stuff Your Stockings Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:29:22 -0500 Coatedpolecat


Another great title by Starbreeze Studios and published by EA. Syndicate is a reboot from 1993 and is now a first-person tactical shooter laced with great weapons and fun co-op play. This is another game that went under many peoples radar and deserves a shot before the current generation of consoles officially ends.


Starbreeze Studios was known for it's awesome FPS The Darkness before making this emotionally startling and innovative title. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was published by 505 Games and utilizes the controller to really immerse you into the story. Post release of the game, the designer admits to true events directly inspired this gripping piece, this is my personal Game of The Year for 2013.


Humble Hearts, which is basically just an artist/designer named Dean Doddrill made, Dust: An Elysian Tail. A game that captured my heart and re-vitalized my faith in 2D action/platformers. Published by Microsoft Studios, this game has a very distinct look and feel to it. With combos into the thousands, this is a must play for anyone who enjoys the genre.


Bulletstorm is a fun FPS that has a distinct arcade feel, the kind where you get points for shooting a guy in the groin, and then finishing him off with a swift kick into a gigantic man-eating plant. This odd mash-up of a game comes from an odd pairing with Electronic Arts (EA) as the publisher, but People Can Fly and Epic Games actually made the product. If an abundance of foul language doesn't bother you, then this is just a fun shooter to have.


Valve self published and made one of the best, and unique first-person shooters (FPS) to date with Portal 2. This game has no real violence, just simply overcoming increasingly complex physics based puzzles. Hurling yourself across a room has never been so fun, and with a co-op buddy, the good times almost never end.


The Fallout series needs little introduction, but the latest entry from Obsidian Entertainment, Fallout: New Vegas has all the makings of what has made this franchise sell so well in the past. It's color's are a bit brighter than the normal drab environments associated with post-apocalyptic games. The gameplay as always is so much fun, and with multiple outcomes, the replay ability is almost endless.


High Moon Studios recreated my childhood in a playable format. From chapter to chapter you embody legendary Transformer's like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Starscream just to name a few. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron was published by Activision. And those multiplayer lobbies are just as busy now, as the day it launched.


Mistwalker and feelplus launched Lost Odyssey in 2007-2008 and was published by Microsoft Game Studios. This JRPG took around 40-50 hours to complete, and with a wonderfully written story and score to make it as smooth of a ride as the timed combat was. Be sure to grab this game if you see it.


Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is probably one of the most overlooked third-person hack-n-slash/shooter of the generation. The game is very basic in its story and graphic fidelity, but one of the funniest games around. For some reason it's greatly satisfying. Relic Entertainment created this underdog and was published by THQ (who's out of business now).


The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is one of the best Role-Playing Games (RPG's) I've played in a long time. CD Projekt RED is the studio who developed The Witcher 2, and was published by several companies; Atari, Namco Bandai Games, Cyberfront, Warner Bros. Interactive, and Spike Chunsoft.This glorious game will see a sequel on next-generation consoles, so be sure to keep an eye out for it's release in 2014.

Game of the Year - Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Sun, 18 Aug 2013 16:00:19 -0400 Coatedpolecat

One Heck of a Send Off

Starbreeze and 505 Games have really outdone themselves with this masterpiece.  The story is simple: you start as two brothers, one older and one younger, who are trying to help their sick father.

This game came out for the last year of Summer of Arcade on the Xbox 360 before the Xbox One releases. This title deserves all the praise it has received and I hope the sales ultimately reflect the critical acclaim.

The World

The characters in this beautiful scenic land speak no actual language. I believe Mr. T says it best with the phrase "jibba jabba". The story that unfolds is expressed through body language, hand gestures, and emphasis on so-called "jibba jabba." It's heavily conveyed through their tone and volume - like whispering vs yelling. The scenic backdrop also adds relevance to all the pointing and yelling.

The environments are near seamless and varied from lush green forests, desert like environments, to iceburg infested waters - all with astonishing Bob Ross-esqe beauty. At one point you have a perfect view of something resembling the Aurora Borealis, and it's absolutely breath taking.

As you traverse the beautiful landscapes to acquire the cure for your father, there are plenty of objects, animals, and people to interact with. The older brother and the younger brother will react differently with all of those things. For example one may know how to play the guitar, while the other just fumbles with it. Testing the different reactions each brother gave was always interesting and fun.

My thumbs don't work this way!

The lands you explore here make for a solid and fun adeventure/puzzle/platformer. The way you navigate these varried terrains happens to be the most unique aspect of the game. I've never played anything resembling a story that translates so well through the controller. The older brother is controlled with the left thumb stick and LT button. The younger brother with the right stick and the RT button.

The unique controls offer moderately difficult puzzles that help highlight the superb level design. Each new obsticle or problem helped solidify the bonds between both my thumbs and the brothers. The gradual marriage of the "single player co-op" is a true demonstration of how execellent the game is balanced. It gives the player a true sense of emotional growth and exploration. I found it a welcome change, not a gimmick.

There were moments that made me genuinely smile or laugh. Followed by moments that made me really sad, even teared up at multiple points. These impactful experiences were brought to life by superb design and story telling. You should spend some time sitting at the randomly sprinkled benches, as they allow for a change of pace while providing the best vistas I've experienced on my Xbox 360.

It's my Game of the Year

Game designers of all kinds attempt to achieve this level of connection, immersion, and integration with the player and controller, but so few achieve this feat. Starbreeze and 505 Games have not only met that goal, but have now raised the bar.

For all the wonderful games I've played throughout 2013, this game resonated with me. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons speaks to the connections we have with each other, as humans. Joy, love, happiness, laughter, loss, fear, and sadness are celebrated through this 3-4 hour experience.  

That said, the ending completely took me by surprise. To avoid spoiling anything I won't go into detail, as this all transpires within a brief amount of time.But again, the merging of both the controls and story are really driven home.

Editors Note: I would recommend coming into this game as blind and ignorant as possible. I played the trial and looked at a few achievements, only in hindsight do I wish that didn't happen. The best way to experience this wonderful game would be to set aside a 3-4 hour block of time and play it all the way through. Not doing so doesn't fully take away from the experience, but the game seems designed around that idea.


E3 2013: Xbox Live Summer of Arcade Preview Thu, 13 Jun 2013 12:09:32 -0400 Alan Bradley

Microsoft took advantage of the generous E3 spotlight to announce its Summer of Arcade lineup, the Xbox Live Arcade promotion that highlights some of the service's best summer releases.  Summer of Arcade is a good way to showcase downloadable titles (previous entries include standouts like Braid, Bastion, Limbo, and Castle Crashers) and Microsoft has traditionally included some incentive in the promotion to purchase multiple (or all) of the featured titles. Here's a more in-depth look at this year's slate:


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Marking the second time a TMNT game has appeared in the Summer of Arcade (the first being 2009's Turtles in Time Reshelled), Out of the Shadows is a promising new take on the traditional brawling formula. Now fully 3D with a stylized new art style that's significantly grittier than previous entries, Out of the Shadows is a more mature take that draws inspiration primarily from the comics rather than the kid-friendly cartoon series.

The game mechanics have also grown up, and Out of the Shadows features powerful super moves, taunts, and a robust experience and leveling system that lets you power up your turtles by defeating enemies. Whether you're actively using them or not, solo players will be able to level up all four of the eponymous turtles and switch control of them on the fly, or up to four players can battle cooperatively locally or online.


A remake of the classic 90s platformer, Flashback tells the story of future-FBI agent and bloodsport reality TV contestant Conrad B. Hart, who's lost his memory due to a series of mysterious events that slowly unfold over the course of the game. Unlike the original and it's fixed, single-screen approach, the remake will allow players to scroll seamlessly through environments like lush jungles and neon-lit future cities.

The original was a gorgeous looking game when it was released on multiple platforms in 1992, and the remake upholds that tradition. The settings in particular look hand-crafted and beautifully detailed, with clever use of glass and lighting to draw out certain elements or fade others into the background. The art design reflects that Flashback is a labor of love, which is unsurprising given that five members of the original development team are on board crafting the remake.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

A surprising entry from Starbreeze, a studio best known for shooters and brutal first-person melee (Syndicate, Chronicles of Riddick), Brothers is the story of two boys on a quest to retrieve medicine for their sick father. The unique puzzler charges players with controlling both of the brothers simultaneously, navigating tricky environmental challenges in a linear, 3D world.

And a beautiful world it is: bright, vibrant, and colorful, and featuring unique creatures and characters set against gorgeous backdrops. Rocky overhangs and towering peaks are contrasted by the brilliant blue-white rush of mountain streams and waterfalls, tumbling into serene pools splashed with dazzling sunlight. If the gameplay is on par with the visuals, Brothers promises to be a wholly engaging experience.

Charlie Murder

Drawing on elements from Castle Crashers, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and their own Dishwasher, Ska Studios is set to deliver a side-scrolling brawler defined by a cartoonish art style and bloody hyper-violence. Charlie Murder puts players in control of the title punk rocker, bashing and slashing his way through hordes of enemies (and in at least one instance, giant sharks) in a bid to reach the Punk Rock Hall of Fame.

The game features RPG elements like loot and leveling and will allow up to four players to battle alongside each other or compete for dominance in arena PVP. For fast-paced, savage side-scrolling action and an art style that's chaotic and at once gritty and silly, Ska Studios is unmatched. All signs indicate Charlie Murder will pick up right where The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile left off.