During this year’s E3, a company known as 505 released gameplay footage of a new game that they have in the works for Xbox and PlayStation called A Way Out. This is a game that has put players in a situation that many others have never attempted to do. This game is a Co-op only game and will only work if you have a person, either playing right next to you or playing with you through the internet. This is a very ambitious effort on the part of 505. My first reaction was very dismissive due to the fact that I didn’t know of many people that would be willing to invest the time it would take to beat this game based on our work schedules. I am the type of person that, when involved in a really good game, will sink hours upon hours into a game even at the expense of sleep and I am not sure if I will be able to get the same type of motivation and dedication from my friends and family. However, because my brother made a point to tell me that he was excited about this game and wanted to be able to play it with me when it comes out, I decided to curb my knee jerk reaction and find out if this company is worth sinking the hours into. I found out that this company had already made a game called Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and I decided to take a chance and see what this game can offer.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is what they call a “co-op single player” experience in which you control both brothers with just one controller. The left stick and left trigger will control the actions of the older brother; while the right stick and the right trigger will control the younger brother, as you make your way through different areas that involve an engaging story and various puzzles. One of the first things that you will notice as the game begins is that there is no understandable dialogue between the different characters. You are placed in this world where understanding the facial expressions and noticing the world around you will drive the story forward. Though this seems like a lot of work on the part of the player, the art design makes the journey much more enjoyable.
The game is broken up into linear sections which takes you from your home near the coastal waters, to vast jungles and snowy peaks as you make your way to retrieve much needed medicine for your father after he falls ill.
Brothers is placed in a fairy tale world and is inhabited by trolls, giants, mystical griffin/owl like creatures, and monsters. You feel as though you are trespassing in another world each time the areas change. One moment you are making your way through a town using back alleys and climbing roof tops because some jerk is not allowing you to pass; and the next you are climbing over mountains and staring at the aftermath of a war that was fought by giants.
Each puzzle is unique for the area in which they are found. They involve climbing scenarios for weather torn towers and thought provoking mechanical manipulation in troll run mines. I never found a task too difficult and often time would understand the task right away or would just need a couple of seconds to step back and figure out what my ultimate goal is.
There are a few boss fights that you will need to conquer in order to advance to the ultimate destination. These can be pretty tricky as neither of you have weapons and therefor will need to use the environment to your advantage. Most failures in defeating these foes came down to poor timing or simply getting too close to the enemy. I never felt like the bosses were far too tough or had gotten frustrated with it, rather they were a nice change of pace from the constant puzzle solving.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons has a very compelling story and makes you feel invested in the overall task. I love to see games that do not dumb down the content, but rather make you more and more engaged over time and allow you to know more about the characters through simple actions between the different characters and cut scenes. Brothers is a fairly short game, but not so much that I felt as though I had been cheated out of $20. You can tell that 505 had a story that they wanted to tell and that they didn’t need any extra junk that would tear the player away. Brothers will tear at your heart strings and make you want more. After seeing what 505 can do, I have become more excited about becoming immersed in their new story.