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 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.
Game of the Year – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
An unforgettable and unique single player co-op experience. Beautiful environments and a story filled with emotion in an all around jaw-dropping journey.What Our Ratings Mean