Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I first heard of Brothers (they have a nice parallax site by the way) when I was searching for games for my new iPad Pro. With such a huuuuuge iPad I figured it would be a waste not to spend a bit on the nice graphically-impressive games. There was even a sale on it in the App Store recently, but Jack convinced me to buy it for the PS4 instead because the controls probably wouldn’t be as good on iPad – in the screenshots you can even see that they are on-screen “virtual joysticks” that end up blocking the game. The game’s been out a few years, but only came to PS4 and iOS this year.

The game is about two brothers going to get something that will somehow heal their sick dad, and each brother is controlled separately with L2/R2 and the two analog sticks. There are certain things only one brother can do – the older one is stronger, the younger one can fit through smaller spaces, etc.

I kind of had trouble getting the two brothers to walk together, but it may just be because I suck at controlling them. I kept forgetting which stick controlled which brother. In cases where they would fall off a cliff if I forgot which one was L2, I had to stop and think very carefully before I did anything. I ended up getting really tense and gripping the controller really tightly, trying to make sure I didn’t kill anyone.

They don’t speak a real language, just a gibberish language. To be honest, I had no idea what we were looking for throughout the majority of the game (actually until we got to it) – the older brother would show people a scroll of what he was looking for, but I never got to see the scroll. Maybe there was some visual clue near the beginning that I just totally missed.

It was pretty interesting, and I finished it in two plays – it was very short. The first play was relatively normal, just two boys on an adventure and a troll or two, but in the second play things started getting weird and sort of creepy – I don’t like creepy things!

I’ll use spoiler tags for this part just in case.

Spoilers here!

The second play, I started off where the wolves come after you and started seeing the dead bodies hanging from the trees. I was actually surprised that nothing jumped out at me in the graveyard. I really didn’t like the giant battlefield though – giant bloody dead… well… giants, everywhere with arrows sticking out of them. I hated pushing on the arrows stuck in their bodies to move them out of the way, especially when one of them dropped an arm holding an axe that just chopped the leg off the dead body. Why was that necessary? What does that add to the game??? Nothing even wakes up and attacks you like I kept expecting. Freaky spider lady grossed me out too.

There were parts that just made no sense to me – what was that where the younger brother was hallucinating about the giant woman? What exactly was going on there? It didn’t seem to matter to any of the storyline later.

I actually enjoyed the end, not enjoying that the older brother died but enjoying that a game allowed an ending that wasn’t an ideal happy ending. It was kind of intense and unexpected that they actually have you control the younger brother dragging the older brother into the grave he dug, and you actually go through the motions of pushing the dirt over him to bury him.

Unfortunately our experience was slightly ruined because there seemed to be some sort of bug – laying on the floor near the dead brother was the black shape of what looked like a dead bird. In fact it was right next to the grave, so it was strange to drag the brother through this random black shadow you can’t interact with.

When the younger brother reaches back home and needs to cross the water, I actually thought it was a bug that he wasn’t doing anything when I used his usual R2 button. It was a nice touch that you actually have to use the older brother’s button, like he’s there helping you in spirit – I thought there would be a ghost version of him like the ghost mother.

Overall it was a pretty good game, apart from the random creepy stuff that didn’t seem to add anything to the game.

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