“If you could change your fate, would ye?” – if you haven’t heard the annoying commercials by now for Disney Pixar’s movie Brave, then lucky you, but for those who are more than aware of the grinding Scottish accent of that red-haired child there is a videogame version…and unfortunately that voice is present throughout the whole complete game! Despite my personal annoyances and over use of the mute button, I found the gameplay quite surprising, enjoyable and reminiscent a little of the days of Crash Bandicoot on the PS1…but that voice is irritating!
There is however only so much of a squeaky Scottish voice one can take, but surprisingly the videogame tie in to Disney Pixar’s movie is enjoyable and entertaining for any age group. Displayed visually as an isometric platformer with camera angles that self-adjust as you progress it does appear to me more of a title suited to the Xbox LIVE Arcade. It’s not over lengthy and can be completed in less than 4hrs with visuals that are nothing to shout home about. It’s a basic platformer that doesn’t disappoint, but for just over £30 will you feel like it’s money well spent… if this is a gift for your child then yes! For you, if you enjoyed the arcade game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, this is pretty similar.
The developers, Behaviour Interactive haven’t gone down the same route as making the videogame follow the same story path as the movie – in the game itself, you do (as expected) take on the role of the main character princess Merida, but your whole entire journey is about breaking a spell that you placed upon your Mother that turned her into a bear. Not by choice, but tricked by an evil witch you are intent on finding a resolution to break the spell on the Queen, which will also see you battle your way through a mythical enchanted Scotland. Ultimately you will face the demons of the past and free your Kingdom for a brighter future without blight and evil beings. Trust, Pride and Bravery are constantly mentioned in the games dialogue, but using a sword and your Bow & Arrows you’re ready to take on the world – and it all looks a different shade of green and grey – but it has the Scottish highlands look perfected “to a t”…
Following the game’s intro sequences that teach you how to use the controls and equip your weaponry you finally reach the centre of a forest where you face The Ring of Stones, a line-up of portals that take you to various parts of the kingdom to complete your quests. It is only after you complete one portal that another will open. Within the kingdoms you also must follow a path to find Charms, each being Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire that add extra powers and abilities to your weaponry because different enemies require different means of attack and defence. Not only do the Charms bring elemental effects to your Sword and Bow & Arrows, but they also provide interactive elements to the environment so that you can foresee a means of survival to be able to move forward in the levels.
Pretty much all the game consists of moving forward and slaying an onslaught of enemies before reaching a kind of Firefight with multiple enemies and the occasional level bosses. Within the environments are hidden Chest’s, Keys to unlock portals, mini-puzzle games, Tapestry Pieces, Upgraded Swords and Bows, Scattered Gold Coins – and during the tough times even your mother (the bear) will make an appearance and be fully playable to assist in bringing down mighty evil forces that are surrounding you in over-bearing quantities! Oddly, no matter how many times you keep calling “Mum…” she still seems to run away from you… it could be the voice!
When it comes to replay-ability, Brave doesn’t feature any kind of flashy multiplayer, but it does have a great co-operative gameplay option to bring a friend in locally, and has a Kinect Archery Mini-game where the Gold Coins you win carries over into the main story. Gold allows you to purchase upgrades and extra-special abilities to your weapons. The usual things like shooting extra bows, adding extra power and strengthening your capabilities to the Charms you’ve collected.
Visually, as said above – the game does only feel like an Xbox LIVE Arcade title, based on its short campaign story, basic graphics and isometric view. It is an absolutely fun game to play and brings back memories of the days when the first-person-shooter didn’t dominate consoles. You will not need to have seen the movie to make sense of the game, but you’re highly unlikely to buy this for yourself if you don’t have any children.
A great game for the kids, and for Achievement collectors out there looking for an easy 1K this would be a perfect rental.