Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a surprise hit when it released back in 2013, and now this indie darling has transitioned over to the current generation of consoles with very little enhancement. However, it’s still a captivating and beautiful experience, and what little additions have been included in this re-release certainly makes it the definitive version of this marvellous tale.
You take control of two brothers, each mapped to a different analogue stick and trigger button, and must lead them through perils, solving cooperative puzzles in order to find a cure for your gravely sick father. It’s a fairly traditional tale in line with the Heroes Journey, but one that quickly surprises and delights with its unique world, clever puzzles and exceptional storytelling.
Despite no text and only Simlish-esque ramblings to go by from the characters, still an uncompromised and delightful story is told. Through the unintelligible nattering and gestures you can clearly understand the gist of what the characters are communicating, and experience the tale as deeply and as emotionally connected as you would any other. It’s a remarkable achievement that speaks to the quality of the design. However, this does mean the story is succinct, leaving you with only 3-4 hours of content to enjoy, but this is certainly a question of quality over quantity.
A charming aesthetic, similar to painted miniatures, draws you into a world of giants and odd creatures as you venture into the wild woodland, caves, icy tundra, settlements and structures of this strange land, visiting a number of different locations in search of the miracle cure for your father. The focus is on simple, cooperative puzzle solving, figuring out how to use each brother’s strengths to overcome an obstacle. This takes the form of such tasks as the little brother holding on to the big brother to swim across small bodies of water as the little brother can’t swim, or the both of them grabbing hold of an object to push it out-of-the-way. None of them are particularly cerebral but they’re thematically appropriate and cut above the usual clichéd cooperative offerings found elsewhere.
This re-release increases the resolution to a crisp 1080p, and eliminates the rough edges of objects and textures with a smooth frame rate to boot. Additionally the soundtrack and a developer’s commentary is included to round out the package. It’s not the most content rich experience, then, but it’s the ideal version for those yet to try this terrific tale.
Indeed then that sums this release of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons up: an excellent opportunity for those yet to play the title to experience it at its very best, but not much to entice those who have played it before. It’s an exceptional example of storytelling and world building, with some of the best cooperative puzzles outside of Portal 2, but replay is severely limited and the enhancements are nice but not essential.
Thanks to Xbox and 505 Games for their support
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