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What I need to say first and foremost is that this is the game I decided to try out the Steam Controller on. After some initial issues with me not knowing how to handle the thing, I eventually discovered how to utilize other people's recommended settings, and the game went on from that point onward relatively well.
Unfortunately, however, while the game's idea of controlling two characters at once seems interesting on paper, in practice it becomes a recipe for frequent frustration.
For one, I kept mixing up the two characters' controls all throughout the game, and if I wanted to know what the hell is going on, I had to keep reminding myself to keep the older brother on the left and the younger brother on the right (i.e. the way their controls were configured). It's annoying enough if you just need to solve some kind of puzzle and/or navigate the brothers through the linear environment, but it becomes a special kind of frustrating during suspenseful moments where you have to act quick.
Another problem is the game's over-reliance on having to hold on to things by holding down a button and not being able to let go of it, lest one of your characters falls to their death. This resulted in my hands getting tired rather quickly, and I had to take frequent breaks because of it. This in turn caused the game to eventually become exhausting, and by the time of the last few adventures, I just kept thinking "Oh my god, how much more until the end?".
Maybe it wouldn't be that much of a problem if the game had something more to offer, gameplay-wise, than activities based on controlling the two brothers. Or if the storyline had more to offer than us continuously going through various locations, with the things we see during the journey being neither foreshadowed (with one exception) or brought up again after they're encountered (with one exception). Some of our interactions with the world are disappointingly short, with special mention going to a Gadgeteer Genius inventor who's there just to provide an excuse for a flying segment, and then never be seen again. The story definitely has its moments, but mostly it's just the two brothers going through various places.
The parts where the story excels are the ones where the game wants you to feel an emotion. There are many suspenseful moments where you fear for the characters, and many moments where you can see their personalities through their actions; I definitely grew fond of the two brothers. Another point goes towards the lovingly crafted environments, which give the story a dark-ish fairy tale vibe. The music is amazing as well.
Overall, I left the game with mixed feelings. It's definitely an interesting game, but the gameplay isn't exactly enjoyable, at least in my eyes. If you have a gamepad and want to try out a game with potentially frustrating controls, you might want to consider getting this one on a sale.
PS: Avoid spoilers. The other review spoils the ending.
Overall Rating: D+
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a fairly original game where you control two brothers simultaneously, one with each joystick on your controller. Given its incredibly high Metacritic rating and uniqueness, one would think this would be a good game. Sadly, it is not. It tries to be profound in the most unprofound ways, and as a result is shallow and pretentious. Its high Metacritic rating is solely due to people wanting to praise games as art.
The story of this game is supposed to be one of its big draws. It is the quintessential sad story. The brothers' mother drowns, their father gets sick, and it falls to the two of them to go through the world, overcoming challenges to get the cure for him. The story, as it were, is very sparse; there's a few moments where the brothers help out each other, such as the big brother diving in to help the younger one throughout one level, and then at the end of the game, when the big brother is dying, it is the little brother's turn to help out. Of course, he fails, the big brother dies, and the game ends with everyone being sad.
Unfortunately, this failed to touch me at all, because the characters had no character. The little brother was a bit annoying; the big brother was protective. All the dialogue was in simlish, and in the end, there was no emotional connection, and the use of the characters as game pieces throughout the game meant that I never saw them as anything more.
The underlying idea behind the game is clever - you control two characters and you have to use them to overcome various puzzles and challenges. There are times when you have to be moving both characters around at the same time, and times when one character stands there and holds a lever down (or just waits) for the other brother to do stuff.
This sounds neat... and it actually kind of is, for an hour or so. Unfortunately, it is also ALL there is, for roughly four hours of gameplay. As a result, the game, rather than being great, instead is highly repetitive, and as none of the puzzles are very difficult, you basically are led by your nose through four hours of environments, which are, sadly, too low polygon to really be beautiful most of the time. The brothers themselves end up looking just a little bit too blocky as well. And that's the story of the whole game - not quite good enough.
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