Once in a while a game comes along which revolutionises the way gaming is viewed and brings ideas to the fore which were previously incomprehensible. Notable examples of this would be the 3D modelling in Mario 64, the epic open world scale of GTA3. Now, Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons can be added to this prestigious list. Brothers may be the ideal marriage of mechanics, storytelling, puzzling and creativity which is rarely attempted, let alone executed to such perfection.
Photo: Edge Online
You follow two brothers as they journey to retrieve a medicine for their father’s illness, solving puzzles along the way to do so. Players control both brothers simultaneously with different analogue sticks and shoulder buttons and use them in tandem to solve these puzzles. One imagines this would quickly prove frustrating and difficult, but Brothers incorporates it in symbiosis with the puzzling and platforming, making it simple enough for anybody to play. At times it can prove challenging, but this is not a reproach, as this is enough to keep the player interested and entertained throughout. This kind of gameplay has not really been attempted before, yet Brothers executes it with nonchalance, as if it were an already well-established mechanic. There are certain flaws with the system, although players will barely notice and when they do, be overly forgiving.
The second unmissable aspect of the game is the story. The game has not one work of English, yet the player always understands exactly what is happening, what must be done, and how to do it. This is also a testament to the level design, as despite the lack of direction the player always intuitively knows where to go. It is an absolute mastery of the ‘show don’t tell’ axiom of writing.
The player becomes engrossed in a story which isn’t being dictated to them; players are not told how to feel, how to act or how to respond by overt direction or verbose dialogue. This is down to the fact that the player becomes an integral part of the story. The relationship between the two brothers is with the player right at the heart, understanding the raw emotion in which they are so closely involved.
There is no other game quite like Brothers, nothing in recent memory can challenge this game as the epitome of what the medium is capable of. It is sublime in all that it does and should be experienced by everyone.