Boy this took a while to write. How strange.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a rather short game, coming in somewhere between 2-3 hours. It’s a story about familial bonding, growing stronger after tragedies, and accepting loss. The game is what I’ve come to lovingly call (because I heard it somewhere else and loved it ever since) a “Stroll-Playing Game” (It sounds less derogatory than “Walking Simulator”). In it, you simultaneously play the role of two brothers on a quest to get some magical water from a tree in a faraway land to save their father from a sudden illness. You learn that they lost their mother in a boating accident not too long ago, and that the younger brother still has a fear of water due to it. The game has its’ own fictional language in which everyone talks, which makes the game focus less on the verbal specifics and more on the emotional specifics. Finally, the game has a very unique control scheme that can only be done on a two analog stick controller: each stick controls one brother.
So, long story short, the older brother dies near the end. The younger brother gets home eventually and the ghost of the older brother helps the younger deal with obstacles that previously required the older to traverse. This includes dealing with the younger brother’s aquaphobia, which marks a major character development, and indicates that maybe the younger brother can learn to heal after dealing with two major losses. The younger brother also manages to get the magic water to his dad, saving him.
Holy crap, this game was beautiful. I may have missed like every optional thing to do, according to Steam’s achievements (They’re all for optional stuff to do), but I sat down on every bench I could find and just took in the scenery for a few moments. The major gameplay beats were pretty rad, namely when the two brothers are tied together with a rope and you need to climb a tower; or when you’re navigating a mine and the brothers are on two separate tracks.
I wound up taking all game to get used to the controls. Because of this, I’d wind up running one brother into one wall while running the other one into a different wall constantly. There’s no better way to do the controls, and it was entirely my fault. I just didn’t get gud enough.
I streamed this! I had like three or four viewers, not bad for not really announcing that I was streaming. I wound up not streaming the next game, Tacoma (look, it took a long time to write this, I’ve made a pretty big decision in the meantime about one of my Four), because I felt like if Gone Home were anything to go by, it’d be awfully boring watching me just bumble around doing literally everything I can find, and I didn’t want to get in the way of the story. I won’t touch on why I didn’t stream it in the Tacoma writeup, which is why it’s here.
Oh, and as for exactly how long it took to write this? It’s (as of time of writing) February 15th; I finished the game at roughly 3AM Eastern on February 1st (I started at midnight Eastern, for reference). I liked the game, but I had a hard time talking about it. Secretly, I’m still not happy about this writeup, but I need to publish something for myself, so...
Well, I still have to write the Tacoma writeup, and I have a small announcement to make after that. The third game will remain a mystery for now, so stay tuned!
Elihu typically lurks around TAY reading the occasional article and occasionally comments on Kotaku articles. Every February he writes his Four in February articles for TAY, and on rare occasions writes words about not-4iF things. You can reach him over at Twitter: @elihuaran or by contacting him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org