So I Just Played: Bothers - A Tale of Two Sons

Posted by Tarfuin (52 posts) -

This is going to be a delicate entry to write for a couple reasons. First, the game is, in terms of hours to completion, pretty short. That means my inclination would be to go into greater detail about the specifics of the game. Second, the story is truly something to be beheld, and I'll have to do my best to avoid giving anything away the best I can. I take this task very seriously because I truly think Brothers is a game everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy. It does so many things well and is truly unique in a number of different ways.

Here comes the most vague and unrevealing plot desciption I can possibly give. This game features two brothers going on a long and dangerous quest to retrieve materials that may save the life of their terminally ill parent. You play as both brothers as they go through their adventures together. They encounter hardships, emotional and physical trauma, and that's about as much as I'm comfortable saying.

Two brothers. Seen here feeling emotions about things.

It's frustrating to write about a game that relies so heavily on story just as I'm sure its frustrating to read about the same thing. Luckily there's something else that immediately grabs your attention the moment you pick up the controller and start playing, the gameplay.

You play as the Brothers, both of them, at the same time. The simplicity with which they achieve this is pretty elegant. Your left analog stick and trigger controls brother the elder, and your right analog stick and trigger controls brother the younger. It honestly seems so simple and intuitive, but for the life of me I can't think of a single game that has had you controlling two characters simultaneously, and certainly not with this method.

It can be more than a little disorienting at first and will definitely require some getting used to, but you'll get there. Personally, I found that my pea-sized brain simply could not manage these two characters unless the left-stick character was on the left side of the screen and the right stick character on the right. My brain simply would not allow me to have those characters switch sides without causing one to immediately plummet to his death.

Pictured: The only alignment of the two characters my brain will allow.

Once you learn to position the characters in a way that's comfortable for you, the puzzles and movement really start to feel cool and unique. On a basic level you're solving relatively simple traversal challenges with puzzle elements, but the introduction of two moving pieces allows for some unique design that stays pretty fresh throughout this game's relatively short duration.

It only took me a little over two hours to complete the story, but the impact that story had left me verging on tears on at least two or three occasions. This game is heavy, and as someone who does not have a brother, I can only imagine it will strike a chord with you much more deeply if you do. One of the final impressions Brothers gave me was one that left me absolutely awestruck. Again, without trying to get into too many details, the game manages to use a mechanic of the controls to build the significance of an extremely emotional moment. This was pulled off unbelievably effectively and is something that I find truly rare and incredible.

*sniff* "Will someone please get the hell away from me with those onions!!!"

It's not a long game, and from a gameplay variety standpoint it probably doesn't have a lot of replay value, but I managed to pick this game up for about 7 bucks and my first playthrough was easily worth twice that in terms of the impact I felt. I'd gladly recommend this game to anyone, but you definitely have to be ready for a heavy emotional commitment.

#1 Posted by Cincaid (2959 posts) -

Pretty much agree on all accounts. Extremely sad, but very worthwhile to experience, story. Had me in tears a few times, but maybe I'm just extra sensitive. :(

#2 Posted by Aegon (5852 posts) -

Yes, having a little bro of my own definitely made this a more emotional experience. And yes the moment you're speaking about (LT) is the most impactful in the game.

#3 Posted by Tarfuin (52 posts) -

@aegon: If you don't mind my asking. I'm still refining my skills writing these "reviews". Do you think I found an acceptable line with this one of not giving away too much?

#4 Edited by Aegon (5852 posts) -

@tarfuin said:

@aegon: If you don't mind my asking. I'm still refining my skills writing these "reviews". Do you think I found an acceptable line with this one of not giving away too much?

I think so, but of course with this game the line can be more difficult to find. Personally I know that both I and a lot of others were able to guess correctly as to what would happen from miles away. That didn't matter though, because the way it was dealt with was still special and unique.

#5 Posted by Tarfuin (52 posts) -

@aegon:

@aegon said:

@tarfuin said:

@aegon: If you don't mind my asking. I'm still refining my skills writing these "reviews". Do you think I found an acceptable line with this one of not giving away too much?

I think so, but of course with this game the line can be more difficult to find. Personally I know that both I and a lot of others were able to guess correctly as to what would happen from miles away. That didn't matter though, because the way it was dealt with was still special and unique.

Cool. Thanks for the feedback!

#6 Posted by CByrne (288 posts) -

I really like these games that have fairly relaxed game play and tell a story, one of the most powerful things about this game is that it tells a story with out any dialog, which I didn't notice until the 2nd chapter. That for me was really striking on how effective they made that.

This is a game they should show to senators during hearings.

One of the major themes that struck me while playing was Women aren't to be trusted... I had a ball with this because my lady friend was near me when I was playing. For some reason, I didn't see it coming, but was suspicious of how crazy she was jumping on the snow and ice.

If you like books and stories It's good, if you like action probably pass. Same thing with gone home, these games aren't for everyone but I accept them with open arms. Steam big picture works decently with this, I finally see the promise of it.

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