REVIEW: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

brothers_a_tale_of_two_sons_cover_artYou can tell a filmmaker was behind the production of this game. It brings really interesting ideas, but also disregards some of the basics of game design.

It is a visually astonishing game with a compelling story, a beautiful world to explore and game mechanics with great potential.

However.

Each joystick on your game pad represents one of the brothers. You therefore control the two brothers separately. This is the driving force of this game and it is a very satisfying mechanic. It may be a little tricky at first, but you quickly get the hang of it and the game makes it intuitive to control them.

Nonetheless, it does feel like a lot more could be done with such a pioneering mechanic. In the end most of the game is getting through an obstacle with one brother and doing the same with the other. It could have been exploited a lot more. I know it could potentially make the game harder to design, but greatness is not achieved without risk.

screenshot-6Furthermore, at the start of the game, I found myself interacting with much of my surroundings. Like smelling flowers and pranking villagers. While this may add much to the story (hence the filmmaker’s influence), it does very little to move the actual game forward. But what makes it worse is that you only get to do it once. This means that a whole lot of effort has been put in development of these features that have very little consequence. Any game studio knows the importance of time and resource management. If you’re gonna have a feature, it better be worth it. Again, it seems like a waste of potential. They could have instead made these interactions and the animations that come with it part of the game mechanics itself – as recurring puzzle pieces.

It is inspiring to see the film and game industry coming together and sharing their skills and talents. Although this game isn’t the pinnacle of this fabulous relationship, it is a promising start.

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