Game Review: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Rating: ratings-5

I picked up a lot of games toward the end of 2013 thanks to Steam, and I was particularly excited about Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I played the demo of the game on the Xbox 360 before, and it immediately got me curious.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons title frame

The demo told me next to nothing about the game’s story – it just started off with two brothers passing through a village. Aside from the simple yet stunning visuals, what interested me most about the demo was the gameplay.  You use the left joystick and trigger buttons to control the older brother, and the right joystick to control the younger brother. You could have the two brothers interact with objects and other people, and help each other solve puzzles and pass through obstacles.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons demo screenshot

When the game went up on Steam sale during the holidays, I bought it the moment I saw it. My initial impression of the game left me completely unprepared for the emotions I would feel because of the game’s story and the brothers’ interactions with each other.

Warning: This review contains some spoilers. I kept them as vague as possible, but tread carefully if you haven’t played the game!

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - The brothers find out how they can save their father

The story’s main idea is simple: two brothers go on a quest to save their father’s life by bringing him healing water from  a magical tree. How the story plays out is what makes it memorable.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Flying on owlcat

The brothers travel from ordinary villages with ordinary people and animals to ogre-infested mines, a giant castle, and grisly battlefields. Some of their experiences are pretty fun, but others are gut-wrenching tearjerkers…

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Saving a grieving widower from hanging himself

…or are just plain disturbing.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Valley of Dead Giants

Throughout their journey, they have to work together navigate through different terrains, get past obstacles, fend off attacks, and generally just survive. And really – the brothers literally can’t survive without one another. If you keep them too far apart, they’ll stop following your commands and just stand there hollering at each other.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Big Brother saving Little Brother from drowning

It becomes painfully obvious throughout the story that Little Brother is more dependent on Big Brother than the other way around, but Big Brother never seemed to mind.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - The brothers embrace after Little Brother almost drowns and wakes up from a nightmare

Even though there was one scene where Little Brother was starting to think Big Brother blamed him for what happened to their parents, Big Brother always had his back.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Little Brother dejectedly follows Big Brother and the girl

…except when a girl came along. I won’t go into detail about what happened, but let’s just say that the notion of “bros before hoes” would have really helped the brothers out.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons screenshot - Big Brother comforts and encourages Little Brother

Toward the end of the game …you know what, never mind. I don’t want to spoil the last part of the game – you really, REALLY have to play it to fully appreciate how beautiful and meaningful it is.

Final Verdict:

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a short, sweet, and absolutely brilliant game. Its gorgeous storybook-like visuals, unique gameplay, lovely music, and a thoughtful storyline come together to create a beautiful, emotionally-charged experience that will leave a lasting impression on anyone’s heart. The only reason I’m not giving it a full 5-heart rating is because it’s too short!

I really don’t mean to sound like such an sentimental sap about the whole thing, but seriously; play it, and you’ll understand.

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