brothers tale

Life is one of the most precious gifts a person holds; yet every so often we are reminded just how fragile and fleeting this vibrant and cherished thing is. To take risks and make sacrifices for all that we love, is it truly worth it in the end? Most would like to think so…

Developer Starbreeze Studios and publisher 505 Games have created a beautiful and emotional journey in their newest title Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons. From the game’s first moments, players are met with tragedy as the youngest of the brothers mourns the memory of their mother’s passing to the great depths of the sea some time previous.  Interrupted by a shout from his elder sibling, he rushes to where his brother is holding up their ailing father and the two quickly rush him to the town’s doctor. Finding no immediate cure, the only way to save their father’s life comes with making a long, arduous journey across the land to a tree which harbors healing waters that may be their only hope in keeping what’s left of their family together.

brothers 12With only a map in hand and the company of each other, the two brothers set out on their fantastical tale, encountering many obstacles and people in need along their way. Whether it be assisting an outcast rabbit to join its brethren or comforting a man close to suicide after the loss of his family; the two brothers remain close by each other’s sides, ensuring their combined success and ever pressing onward to their ultimate goal.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this game lies within its simple yet engrossing gameplay element that allows the player to control both brothers separately and at the same time. In essence it is a co-op game played with but one controller; where the left joystick and triggers control the movement and action of the older brother and the right joystick and triggers control the younger sibling. Although many times the brothers are moving in tandem, there are numerous occurrences where each must set to their own paths and actions in order to allow the other to progress along certain paths and through obstacles. Timed levers, movement, and joint actions are the only things that allow the two to continue their journey as they do; a feat that would be nigh impossible as a solo traveler.brothers scene

While there is not an extreme amount of difficulty to the gameplay and it is easily accustomed to, what truly makes this play style special is that it creates a bond with both characters. The player does not simply control one and have the other follow or switch as they are needed, but is in complete control of both throughout the entirety of the game. The story is certainly the highlighted aspect of this title, yet somehow the gameplay mechanics draw you into it that much more and truly instills an emotional connection with everything the brothers are going through.

The lands traveled across during this fairy tale like adventure are beautiful and vast, and players will often find themselves sitting the brothers on benches strewn throughout the land simply to marvel at the gorgeous backdrops they are about to traverse. From sun touched mountainsides to underground mechanical troll lairs to snowy tundra and bloodied battlegrounds of giants, players will hardly feel limited despite a linear path being laid out for them. Oftentimes much of the environment can be manipulated as well to clear the way for the brothers to travel, adding a bit more than simply following along a designated line to get from point A to point B.

brothers-tale-sons-sad-tale-night-raqwe.com-06The story is beautiful, joyous and tragic and every feeling strikes deep within and remains. It is a feeling almost akin to playing Ico or Journey, where it does not take a known language to understand what is going on or feel the deep connection to everything that is happening to and around the brothers. They speak in their own tongue to each other and those around them and the devastation, fear, and laughter is almost tangible. It is an experience that will stay with you long after the credits finish, where the haunting soundtrack lurks within your mind and their tale stays buried deep within your heart.

Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons is a simple game on the outside with an underlying beauty and depth to be discovered. It is not action intense or even drawn out, but rather a beautiful story driven experience. Its 8 chapters can be completed within about 4 hours and is available on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 via download. This type of game is certainly not for everyone but I would encourage many to at least give it a try if not incorporate it into their library permanently. It is an excellent example of how games can create the same impact as books, movies or television shows – if not even taking it to another level entirely.

The most amazing part of a journey is not knowing how it will end, or how it will ultimately change who you are.

So take that first step; and let nothing be taken for granted.

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