‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ Story Review

Brothers

It was no accident that Brothers is subtitled A Tale of Two Sons. Emphasizing this game as a tale is appropriate as the story is the strongest facet of the Brothers. Despite lacking (discernible) dialogue, Brothers presents an unspoken narrative that is touching and powerful.

It is a story that is both narrow in focus yet grand in scope. It is simple as its surface yet complex at its core. Brothers aspires to capture the essence of brotherhood and in the end, does so admirably.

The plot is simple, two brothers that have lost their mother set out on an adventure to cure their father of an illness. Though this story isn’t about plot twists and complex storylines, it is a story that allows for some interpretation as no word is understood throughout. It is entirely told through music, physical interaction, and even player controls.

The music in Brothers has an appropriately dreary yet epic feel to it throughout. While no song was catchy enough to stick with me after playing it, every song felt appropriate for what was happening. Throughout Brothers I felt rightfully immersed and a big part of that has to be attributed to the choice of music.

The other facet of storytelling was character interaction. Both brothers felt unique and each time they interacted they had to do so with quite a bit of physicality. While noises were made, I (rightfully) never understood a word. Yet due to great physical representation I was never confused. The game makes a statement for how much clearer an action is.

Brothers:AToTS

The most interesting storytelling aspect of Brothers was the use of controls. The game controls each brother with two separate triggers, meaning you begin identifying each trigger with the corresponding brother. The game uses this to great effect in giving each brother separate abilities to exemplify the cooperation on their journey. At times the game uses these controls alone to communicate to the player something that would otherwise be impossible. The moments in which the game’s mechanics communicate the Brother’s bond are some of the game’s finest.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons relies entirely on the bond shared between the brothers from beginning to end. The developers infuse a real sense of charm and personality into their physicality that understandable dialogue would feel unnecessary and misplaced.

If you are willing to be taken on a beautiful tale of brotherhood, I highly recommend doing so. Despite it being very short and lacking in gameplay depth. You are better off focusing on what Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons does do well. It is an intelligent, beautiful, touching, and unique game that nobody should miss, especially at its low price and length.

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Ratings are out of 5 yarns and the Overall is not an average.

Vanquish Story Review

Vanquish is a game that clearly aims to impress with its gameplay rather than an elaborate story. Nobody will finish Vanquish and think to themselves, “wow, what a story!”. Regardless, I am left with the impression that it is a story filled with flaws and two-dimensional characters, but flaws that can be forgiven and characters that we still end up liking.

The characters and story is reminiscent of the cheesiest Metal Gear has to offer. It’s soldiers are overly gruff and manly while every action is over the top JRPG style. The insane Gameplay only reinforces this idea and no matter how cheesy, it’s somehow endearing.

The voice actors are great despite the stereotypical space marine persona’s and the music is fitting but not exceptional. The visuals were spot on with a unique style that made it easy to imagine the atmosphere and characters existing within that world.

All in all it’s an enjoyable story that can’t be taken too seriously. Take it for what it is, a JRPG interpretation of what the offspring of Mass Effect, Gears of War and Metal Gear would be. It keeps you invested and does a decent job rewarding you with some great moments. That being said, at no point did I feel emotionally attached to the story or characters. Sure they were likeable and quite awesome, but they were too shallow to care for. All in all, an enjoyable romp that I don’t regret experiencing.

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Ratings are out of 5 yarns and the Overall is not an average.

Darksiders Review

Darksiders Cover

Darksiders is a game that struggles to find its identity. Its gameplay, visuals, audio, and even story share too many similarities to God of War. That being said, the story differentiates itself from God of War simply through rewarding narrative and some great characters. The characters have great personalities that make you care just a little bit more about what’s going on in the game. It also helps that some of the voices were done quite well, including War and The Watcher’s(the second of which was done by Mark Hamill). The backstory to those characters is sadly scarce throughout the game.

Though the Angels vs. Demons bit has been done to death, the inclusion of the Council and the Horsemen does make things a little interesting. Playing as a Horsemen of the Apocalypse also brings with it a feeling of being a complete Badass. Fortunately War feels like a more interesting character when compared to Kratos which helps maintain interest in his fate.

The visuals and audio feel far too familiar to God of War to truly impress. Perhaps the game is more colourful in areas, but it doesn’t convey any real tone nor does it add anything to the story.

Samael War Darksiders

Probably the biggest storytelling difference between Darksiders and God of War is that God of War did not reward the player with storytelling at a constant pace. Instead, it kept most of the important storytelling for the end, which was unfortunate. In Darksiders case, the story developed at a more consistent rate, making playing the game feel like more of a natural progression of the story.

While the story can’t be considered terribly original, it is still told thoughtfully and consists of great characters and voice actors. Simply put, the story in Darksiders manages to satisfy in the end.

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Ratings are out of 5 yarns and the Overall is not an average.

Borderlands 2 Story Preview

Borderlands 2 coverThis preview is derived from the few Borderlands 2 trailers already released, as well as an the comments of Borderlands 2 Lead Writer Anthony Burch as presented by IGN.

The original Borderlands was a surprise hit that seemed to resonate with a lot of gamers. In terms of story, it had a lot going for it. The game was funny, charming, had some great characters and some truly unique visuals. However, the game did some very critical things wrong when it comes to the actual plot and narrative.

Now before you brand me a heretic know that Lead Writer for Borderlands 2, Anthony Burch, also recognizes the original game’s shortcomings. He specifically noted that “the ending sucked” and that players had a lack of connection to the protagonists.

Borderlands 2 hopes to rectify that emotional disconnect by filling in gaps of what those characters were up to since the end of Borderlands and giving them a relationship to one another that they can play off of. Already the quality of secondary characters in Borderlands 2 seems to be improved.

Borderlands 2 Handsome JackBurch explains that by making the player feel like their a part of a story instead of just crossing objectives off their list, they will be more invested to the characters and plot. Where Borderlands forced you to read each side mission’s explanation to understand the backstory of certain characters, Borderlands 2 will give each character 3-5 sidequests that fill in their backstory.

The main improvement in these missions will be the method the story is told. As Burch puts it, “Communicating with the player using these character interactions, audio logs, radio transmissions, and environmental storytelling is crucial to strengthening Borderlands 2.”

This is all good news, as that feeling of just crossing off objectives on a list dominated any kind of plot the original had going. Hearing this kind of focus from the lead writer of Borderlands 2 is certainly reassuring.

Borderlands 2 is set 5 years after the original Borderlands and will have 4 characters, Axton, Salvador, Zer0, and Maya fighting against Handsome Jack, the leader of the Hyperion corporation. Borderlands 2 is set to release on September 18th in the US, and September 21st in the UK.

Dear Esther Review

Dear Esther VisualsBeing a fan of story-driven games I have been looking forward to Dear Esther for quite some time. Having gained high praise from many of my trusted sources, I was anxious to dive right in.

The plot is relayed through a narrator, presumably the protagonist, who simply talks while you walk around an island. You never interact with anything, you simply walk from point A to point B. Luckily the visuals on the island are quite beautiful and the idea of a story being told about the real world while you walk around in a metaphorical world is something quite interesting.

Unfortunately, what I found was a fairly good concept hindered by literary masturbation and poor narrative masturbation. At every turn the language turns into a contrived mess. Perhaps the writers goal was to show he had access to a thesaurus, or they simply wanted the player to work hard to understand the basics of what the game was saying. Regardless the purpose of the language is to convey meaning, instead, it hindered understanding and made me dislike the protagonist at every turn.

Dear Esther Beautiful

The problem was I wasn’t even sure who I was disliking. You hear about different characters throughout the game and yet its hard to truly understand who you are and why any of these characters matter. It made the plot very difficult to connect to.

I’ve heard many people complain about the lack of actual gameplay in Dear Esther. While that is certainly true, the lack of engaging story in a game that completely focuses on it is far more troubling.

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Ratings are out of 5 yarns and the Overall is not an average.