grumbel's Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC) review

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Forgetable switch-puzzles in fairy tale land

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is best described as a single player coop game. You get two control two brothers on their adventures through a Fable'ish world. What sets this game apart is that it doesn't employ character switching similar puzzle games, like say Lost Vikings, would do, but instead gives you control of both brothers at the same time. One brother is controlled with the left stick, the other with the right one. The triggers are used to interact with the environment and LB/RB are used to rotate the camera.

The games puzzles follow the usual two-player puzzle game patterns for most part, e.g. one brother gets to push a switch to lower a bridge, while the other gets to walk across it. So while you do can control them at the same time, most of the puzzling is still very sequential. There are a few sequences that use both of them at the same time, but things stay simple enough that you never have all to much trouble controlling them at the same time.

The story, which is told without any actual dialog, aside from non comprehensive Simlish gibberish, is about how the two sons have to find a cure for their ill father. The mother on the other side died earlier on in an unrelated boating accident. The story takes the two brothers across all kinds of familiar fairy tale territory and feels a little reminiscent of Jack and the Beanstalk in parts, but stays very vague and non specific. There is no final bad guy to hunt or really even a sequence of events to the story, it's mostly just a collection of unrelated set pieces.

Overall this game stays rather unimpressive all the way through. The controls, while functional, can feel quit unresponsive. When you interact with an object, the game puts you in a mini-cutscene and these cutscenes always have a little delay before they get triggered and after them before you get control of your characters back, which makes you think that your stick isn't working or that you have mixed up the two brothers. Furthermore the cutscenes lock control of the other brother, which often just doesn't make sense and just slows the game down. When the two brothers are close together and you try to have both of them interact with an object, things also tend to get a little awkard and glitchy.

Graphically the game is nothing special, it looks like a top-down version of Fable for most part. Not awful, but mostly just uninspired. In the later half of the game things do get a little bit more interesting and the game sometimes switches away from the top-down perspective which make things look more interesting, but a few rare scenes aside, the graphics just feel like something you have already seen dozens of times, there is no unique style to them or effort to create atmosphere. The characters themselves also look extremely bland.

The big issue with the story of the game is that it doesn't have any flow and build up to it. The set pieces don't have any connection to each other and you just run from one two the next. Characters you have helped earlier in the game, are never mentioned again later on. You don't upgrade items, learn new skills or reach places that have been foreshadowed, so there is basically no sense of progression to the story.

In the end it's not an awful game, it only last around 2:30h and it throws enough new set pieces and gameplay mechanics at you to not completely bore you to death, but it all just feels far to arbitrary and it takes you an hour to get to the more interesting parts of the game, as the first hour is just boring switch puzzles.

The only thing that makes this game "special" is the ending, which tries to be all emotional, but given how there was no build up in the story that would have made you care about the characters, the ending fell totally flat for me. It felt cheap, manipulative and arbitary yet completely predictable at the same time.

Other reviews for Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)

    A touching story and a unique concept make Brothers well worth checking out 0

    On top of being a thoroughly enjoyable and charming experience, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons feels like a demo for an interesting concept: single-player co-op. A concept that may sound too messy to work, but an excellent control scheme allows it to work. A highlight of this year’s somewhat smaller “Summer of Arcade” line-up Brothers offers a touching story delivered in a very unique way for only $15, almost sounds too good to be true.Art style trumps technical power here The whole concept of thi...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Review. 0

    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 vi...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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