Community Review: Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

August has been a good month of gaming. I played Papers Please, didn't enjoy it, but appreciated it. I played Gone Home, and went away hoping that big AAA games could learn from it. More shooters with less shooting please. The best moments in BioShock Infinite were spent just... walking around. Then I finally caught up and played Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons.

And, um -- I don't know how to say this -- I really can't understand why this game is receiving such unanimous praise.

Actually, scratch that. I understand why people enjoy it, and I understand why it has become somewhat of a critics darling. It hits all the indie/games as 'art' touch points: characters who speak an invented language? Check. The 'indie' sense of whimsy? Check. An in-game relationship built on interactions made during in-game moments? Check. Moments of unspoken 'meaning'? Check. These are all components that we've decided, as gamers, are 'good'.

But I don't think Brothers is 'good'. I think Brothers is mediocre. Brothers is like a pastiche of things that we've decided are 'good' and 'artful' in modern video games. It ticks all of these boxes but lacks a genuine soul.

And it's buggy -- never in a game-breaking way, but I've had to restart checkpoints multiple times because of broken sections. Most of all it feels unpolished. The whole time I wondered: what would this game look like if it was made by Fumito Ueda? Would it have this weak, generic art style? Would the controls feel so cumbersome and unresponsive? Would I care more for the brothers? For the Father I am trying to rescue?

Anyway, enough from me. Anyone else here played Brothers? It seems like I might be in the minority with this one.

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Comments

    I think it was great. But I also think it needed an extra chapter or two that could have made the ending more emotional.

    The 'moment' at the end was an exceptional thing, only possible in gaming, and made the clunky controls and generic 'artsy'-ness (which you encapsulate perfectly in your criticism Mark), worthwhile. It was brilliant. Though imagine how much more brilliant it would have been if the characters had been more engaging...

    I think the last few moments of that game are incredible. I spent the entire time hating those controls... but in the end I felt they were negated by the vistas, and the way the controller reflected the story.

    I don't remember a better marriage of controls and story.

    Funnily enough I feel almost the exact same way about The Last Of Us. :/

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