Review – Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons – PS4

Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is the story of two brothers on their epic quest to find medicine for their poorly father. You control both brothers throughout a variety of environments and situations in the fantasy world that they live in. At its heart it is an adventure 3D platformer. It is not a puzzler but does involve some problem solving. It is a simple game, driven along by its story, which is strange to say as the characters don’t speak in a real language. The story was emotional, but much as I wanted to love it, I’m so sad to admit that it didn’t quite strike the chord with me.

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The controls couldn’t be simpler, and yet somehow can be so difficult! The left half of your controller controls one brother and the right half controls the other. Even then, it’s only the thumbsticks and the trigger buttons. It is such an obvious way to do it yet feels absolutely unique and honestly can be surprisingly tricky. The more you go on the more you get used to it but even by the end, I still kept getting muddled up. I felt like I was playing the piano at one point. People with good coordination might get the hang of it quickly but even if you can’t, you can’t really go too wrong. The game itself was surprisingly easy. I completed it all by myself without having to google anything, which basically means that anyone could play it, as I usually get stuck on something. Don’t go into it expecting a challenge.

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The game took me somewhere between 3-4 hours to complete, all in one session. Throughout the game there are themes of teamwork and brotherhood, but the whole story is tinged with an underlying feel of tragedy, sorrow and was even disturbing at times. All of these feelings were produced by the moving environments and the haunting soundtrack. There is no platinum trophy but it took me maybe an extra 30 mins-1 hours to 100% it. There aren’t any trophies for the main storyline but I suggest playing through yourself first without thinking about them. I only got 1 on my first playthrough. Then when you are finished you can go back chapter by chapter to mop them up.

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The graphics weren’t particularly good but granted, it is a game from the last generation and it is more about the style than the graphics themselves. It retains an animated style which compliments the storytelling. There was one particular environment that I loved and without spoiling anything, it made me feel really small. As for the rest of the game – the camera angles weren’t the best, you could only move them as and when allowed. I encountered three glitches but they were mainly all graphical, nothing game breaking. Quite immersion breaking though as one happened at a crucial story moment unfortunately.

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As much as I can understand the people that loved this game and were truly moved by it, I hate the fact that I am not one of those people. I just felt that, to me, certain plot elements felt a bit forced. I have been impressed and had so many feels from so many other story driven games, I think my expectations were a bit high. Having said that, I thought the world was really intriguing. I think I would have preferred a bigger game with speaking characters to show off the story in its glory.  Personally, if I could go back, I wouldn’t buy this game. However, if you can get it for a couple of quid it might be worth a try, and I think it would be a great PS Plus game (if I hadn’t already bought it of course).

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Update – Years later, I am reading this back and I am quite shocked at my reaction! My opinion of the game has definitely increased over time, and I never even mentioned that this game has a moment that makes it worth playing. Ultimately I am very glad that I played it, and there were some powerful moments, they obviously just didn’t live up to my expectations at the time.

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