Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons PS3 review – A family outing you won’t want to avoid
Remember what they say about a job that needs doing properly? This co-op puzzler sure does, because here you control both protagonists yourself. At the same time. And despite clocking in at under five hours, this is a bold and brilliant exploration of family, fantasy and fortitude.
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons PS3 review
Our two nameless siblings live with their father after their mother’s tragic death. When pa falls ill, it’s up to them to venture out in search of the Water Of Life to save him. Like any good adventure, though, it’s less about where you’re going than how you get there. You manoeuvre the older brother with the left stick and the younger with the right, and make them interact with the environment using L2 and R2 respectively. At first it’s like patting your head while rubbing your stomach, but you gradually become accustomed to their independent movements. With both on-screen at all times, the laborious task of fetching each character to the same place is thankfully eliminated. Need your buddy? He’s just there.
The fantastical world unfurls in a strictly linear fashion and at a moderate pace, regularly dotted with gentle puzzles. They’re simple enough that you’re rarely left scratching your head for long, and the few occasions where you are provide a payoff ingenious enough to counterbalance any frustration. It’s more of an obstacle course than a traditional puzzle game, and progress feels seamless and unimpeded, allowing you to enjoy the beautifully created world. Want to pause to take it all in? There are even benches, conveniently overlooking picture-postcard vistas.
It’s a world rife with detail. The characterisation and storytelling are particularly impressive given there’s not a single word of English, with characters instead jabbering away in a Simlish-esque garble. Yet the leads have distinctly different personalities, conveyed in lovely moments such as their reactions to a caged bird. The older brother cautiously pokes a friendly finger through the bars; the younger recklessly opens the cage, waving the creature off to its freedom. Director Josef Fares is a renowned filmmaker, and it shows in the carefully paced narrative arc – which starts out twee like an Ikea ad and slowly descends into ever-darker territory – the Nordic fairytale feel and the evocative score.
Charming, engaging and affecting,
this is a unique experience that
any indie fan should take in
It isn’t perfect. The controls are sometimes a little clumsy, there’s the odd framerate hiccup, and rotating the camera with R1 and L1 is somewhat restrictive. But this is an ambitious interactive tale that crams in intuitive climbing, enjoyable sneaking, grin-inducing vehicle sections and a whole bunch of lateral thinking. It very rarely repeats itself, and each moment feels all the more vivid for being a one-off. I only wish there was a button to make these siblings high-five. They deserve it. Charming, engaging and affecting, this is a unique experience that any indie fan should take in. Finally, a positive use for the term ‘bro-op’.