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Xbox 360 Game Review

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons


Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
RRP: £10.28 (1,200 Microsoft Points)
Age Restrictions: 16+
Release Date: 07 August 2013

Help guide a couple of brothers on a fairy tale journey from Swedish film director, Josef Fares and developer Starbreeze Studios. Control both brothers at the same time as you experience co-op play in single player mode. Solve puzzles, explore varied locations and fight boss battles, controlling one brother with each thumb stick...

Review imageBrothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a budget Xbox Arcade game that, if it had had a longer storyline, could have retailed as a full price game. The graphics, game play and story are all up there with some of the best games the Xbox has to offer. However, the fact that there's only about three hours of game play (a little more if you spend your time investigating how each brother interacts with each person you meet, as well as try to complete the achievements) means that there's no way this could retail for any more than the £10 tag price.

The shortness of the game isn't overly that much of a problem (considering how cheap the game is). It's like watching a movie - only the emotional rewards are so much more satisfying.

Review imageYou start the game high on a hill outside your house. A young boy is at the graveside of his mother who he watched drown, unable to help. When his father is taken ill the young boy and his older brother have to go on a quest to find and return with the cure. So begins your adventure.

You control both brothers at the same time (with the left analogue stick and left trigger button being used to control the older brother, while the right analogue stick and right trigger button are used to control the younger brother). In addition the bumper buttons allow you to pan the camera left and right around the brothers to give you a better look at your surroundings.

To progress through the levels you must work as a team. Both of your characters have different abilities. For example little brother is good at squeezing through small gaps between the bars in cages, while big brother is stronger, allowing him to lift heavy items or pull stiff levers. The first chore you must accomplish together (and one that is a great introduction to the control system) is pulling/pushing the cart with your ill father on it. One brother takes the front and the other the back and you have to navigate the path back to your village.

Review imageOnce the game starts it never for a second feels repetitive or dull - mainly because there are so many cool ideas thrown into the mix. There's the upset ogre who helps you reach inaccessible areas; the old fashioned glider that you must use to fly past danger by shifting your weight in order to move left and right; and the battlefield full of dead giants and rivers of blood, where you have to find things in your environment to move the giant corpses out of your way.

Then there's the curve balls it throws in your direction. The final boss confrontation isn't difficult to work out, but the animation looks so surreal that in places I wasn't sure if I was playing a game or watching some funky fine-art stop-frame animation footage.

The emotional ride is well worth it. Part of its success is that it plays with the standard of how a game of this kind should finish, tipping everything on its head.

It would have scored a perfect 10/10, but the fact that it can be finished in a few hours was a slight disappointment.


Darren Rea

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