I like being surprised, I go into each year in the hope another uniquely stunning game might remind me of how wonderful and emotionally touching video games can be. We are surrounded by the norm, and don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the norm. I like a good first-person shooter like the next guy, but over the past couple of years I've realized that the game that truly stick with me are the games that tug at my heartstrings, gives me goosebumps and makes me appreciate just how magical video games can be.
Introducing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Developed by Starbreeze Studios in collaboration with Swedish filmmaker Josef Fares, it tells the tale of two brothers attempts to help save their sick and poorly father. Thus begins an adventure that continually surprises despite it's short length of a few hours. From the beautiful artistic design to the small details scattered throughout, not to mention the wonderful use of the games main mechanics, Brothers is certainly memorable and provides a tale that packs so much in such a short amount of time.
Mechanically speaking Brothers is a simple game, but one that can be a little tricky to get your head around. You take control of each of the two brothers using the left and right analog sticks, so you're basically controlling big brother and little brother at the very same time. This can be a somewhat difficult thing to get use to at first, though Brothers rarely puts you in a position where precision is ultimately required so it's not a big deal. Starbreeze have used these mechanics in some real ingenious ways to, especially in regards to many of the games main puzzles, which rarely outstay their welcome. It all results in an adventure that continually provides some smart and well thought out puzzles that only add to the overall story being told.
Visually Brothers is a strikingly beautiful game, from the wonderful clean artistic designs of the environments to the imagery you'll witness as you go on your travels into spectacular and dangerous lands. Without going into spoils, Brothers strikes you as a game that's been developed with love and care, nothing feels out of place and you'll certainly find yourself stopping and taking a seat on a bench to witness the spectacular views it as to offer. This visual design is matched by it's outstanding sound design, with the inhabitants of the lands you travel speaking a made up language that's able to communicate emotion scenes well without sounding disconnected. Special mention must also be paid to the game's soundtrack, which is one of the best I've heard this year.
It's worth noting that I did come across some issues related to the PC version of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which are fixable but still a shame and doesn't make the best first impression when it crashes on you two or three times in a row. But like I said, a fix is possible and hopefully the developers will be quick to fix this issue that seems to be affecting some PC users but not all. All that said, these issues did little to spoil my overall enjoyment of this fine puzzle adventure game. It's most certainly one of the most memorable games to hit this year and whilst some will find it's tale a little too short, those that appreciate this sort of game must give this one a go. Brothers uses what it has to offer wonderfully well, from the well thought out puzzles that take full advantage of the mechanics, to the sublime artistic and audio design. It all results in one of the most memorable games this year and a must play in my book.