Split Attention in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Get the first details on this somber fairy tale that puts you in simultaneous control of two adventuring brothers.

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How well can you multitask? If you've ever had trouble scratching your head while patting your stomach, perhaps Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, also a third-person downloadable adventure game comes from the mind of Swedish film director Josef Fares, can help you start thinking in parallel.

While Brothers stars two protagonists, it is not a cooperative game. Instead, you are expected to control both avatars simultaneously. This is done by dividing the controller in half. The left directional stick and shoulder buttons control the older brother, while the opposite stick and buttons control the younger (or is it the other way around?). For players experienced with modern games--where only a single avatar is controlled--this two-person mechanic may feel a bit…alien.

All interactions are contextual, and there are no prompts for intractable elements.

The brothers are on a quest to find a cure for their dying father. Along the way they can interact with various people and items. These interactions differ depending on which brother you use. For example, the older brother generally wants to speak with, or aid, others. The younger brother loves playing tricks or making people laugh. In the picture above, you see a girl playing with her ball. Taking the ball gives you an opportunity to play a surprisingly tricky game of catch with the brothers and hone your skills.

The game does not include traditional combat, but will have boss encounters of a sort.

To help you adjust to controlling the brothers, the game has several asynchronous puzzles. One example involves a menacing dog, shown above. The brothers need to cross the field, but the dog will attack if they try to run past. Working together, one brother can distract the canine while the other brother moves up to the next hay bale. By taking turns in this way, they will eventually outwit the canine.

Fares couldn't stress enough the importance of using a traditional controller when playing Brothers.

The dog example is about as close as the game gets to traditional combat. Exploring the world, talking with villagers, and solving puzzles take precedence over hacking and slashing. It is a very relaxed and slow-paced game, but that doesn't mean it is boring. "I value my time and the quality of experience," Fares noted. "Any [puzzle] you encounter will not recycled a second time."

Take a little time off the main path, and you might find a pack of rabbits: three black and one white. The black rabbits are all clustered together, and when the white rabbit tries to approach, they all hop away. Should you feel sorry for the lonely white rabbit, you could dip it in the ashes of an expired camp fire. The soot-covered rabbit will then be able to happily join his kin.

The game's fictional language leaves some of the interactions, and story, open for interpretation.

If helping poor rabbits and playing catch doesn't sound like a fun time, Brothers may not be the game for you. And Fares is perfectly OK with this. "This game is not for everyone," he admitted, but he hopes that those who do enjoy it can make some sort of connection with it. You should be able to finish this game in one sitting, he noted, since the game is only three to four hours long. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is set for release during the spring of next year on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and PC.

Discussion

0 comments
tgwolf
tgwolf

I sure hope that this isn't one of those mediocre games, the 'somber' part sounds like this game might have some potential.

vadagar1
vadagar1

looks cute :3 and interesting

starduke
starduke

That said, the game does look interesting. However, I suck at multitasking, I'm much better when I can focus on just one thing and go all out on it. I'll probably check the game out, but I'll also probably suck at it.

starduke
starduke

"Traditional controller?" Which one is that? PS3? Xbox 360? Xbox? Wii? Gamecube? Dreamcast? SNES? NES? ECT? There's so many!

bigdrew172
bigdrew172

I might just get it because I love to support games that try something new. Plus I have no problem with slower moving games!

Frostbite24
Frostbite24

 @Gelugon_baat 

Why would we slam the use of controllers with analog sticks when we can use a plethora of them on our PC including a 360 controller and a PS3 controller?......

lindallison
lindallison

 @Frostbite24  @Gelugon_baat 

 

I've witnessed many a PC gamer ranting on forums about M&K being the only choice for a PC title.  Personally I like analog a lot, probably the most 'hardcore' games on my PC like DCS: A10c and IL2 1946 require analog in the form of stick, throttle and pedals for serious play... 

 

 

Frostbite24
Frostbite24

 @Gelugon_baat I've actually never seen anyone INSIST on using keyboards and mice only. I have seen people say they feel it is the most responsive and intuitive setup for some genres of games though. There is a striking difference there, wouldn't you say?