Simple, Morbid, Beautiful

User Rating: 9 | Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons PC

Brothers begins with a young boy on a dinghy helplessly watching his mother's last struggling breaths as the ocean swallows her. We then see the boy kneeling under a tree, streams of afternoon light breaking through its autumn leaves on a small precipice above the now calm, even inviting ocean. The boy sees an apparition of his mother and they share few words in the game's language; comprehensible only in its non literal aspects. These opening scenes set the tone for the game; one of a constantly intensifying symbiotic relation between tragedy and beauty, but with a simple story that requires absolutely no words.

I haven't seen Brothers' gameplay before. On a 360 controller, the left hand analogue stick and left trigger controls your older brother, the right hand controls the younger. I can't think of a game that has allowed you to control two characters independently and simultaneously, certainly not in a story driven game. You and your brother go on a linear adventure to find a cure for your ailing father, thinking on your feet and solving a bunch of easy but fun puzzles on the way, and stumbling across some side activities. The controls are in general quite easy to grasp but you can occasionally become a total mess until everything intellectually clicks, which actually works in favour of the game. It creates genuine panic and confusing, forces you to stop and think, then allows you to exercise perfect teamwork between hand and hand; brother and brother. The controls are more than a gimmick and explored in interesting ways and especially at the end, without giving anything away, sometimes brilliantly.

The game's artistic design is so complete and beautiful. Immaculate attention has been paid to sound and visuals ensuring that every element of every frame forms a stunning scene that looks as though it was painted by hand. The characters you meet along the way and the movement within the game's world make it feel so alive. I used Steam's screenshot tool so many times... as if my experience was in anyway unique.

Despite the game's simplicity in story and language the connection I forged with my characters and characters along the way was meaningful at the time. To me this is what really made the game excel. Definitely recommend to those with an open mind about what video games can be.