Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360/PS3/PC) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-03-2013, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Overall rating:

5/5




Audio/Video total rating:



( Max score: 100 )



86 (PC) 81 (Console)



 



 



Platform(s):
PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (Download only)



Developer:
Starbreeze Studios



Publisher:
505 Games



Genre:
Adventure/Puzzle



ESRB Rating:
Teen




Length:
3-4 Hours



Difficulty:
Very Easy



Game Modes:
Single Player Campaign




Full Game Size:
1.4GB



Resolution:
720p (Console)



Frame Rate:
30fps (Console)




Audio Format(s):
PCM 7.1 (PC/PS3), Dolby Digital 5.1 (360)



Spoken Languages:
Gibberish



Subtitles:
N/A




Director:
Josef Fares





 

Release Date:
September 3rd, 2013




Versions Tested:
Xbox 360, PC




 




    
    


Synopsis:




Guide two brothers on an epic fairy tale journey from visionary Swedish film director, Josef Fares and top-tier developer Starbreeze Studios. Control both brothers at once as you experience co-op play in single player mode, like never before. Solve puzzles, explore the varied locations and fight boss battles, controlling one brother with each thumb stick.



This is one journey you will never forget.



 



My Take:




Every now and then, a game comes along that challenges your preconcieved notions of what a game can be.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
is one of those games. On the surface it’s Yet Another Indie Puzzle Platformer, this time dressed up in fantasy art reminiscent of the Fable series. You control two brothers on a quest to save a loved one, and like most "YAIPPs" it revolves around a unique gameplay mechanic. In this case, you literally control both brothers at the same time—one mapped to each analog stick. Sounds simple enough, but it’s far more difficult in practice than it sounds. Despite the learning curve on the controls, Brothers is a breeze to play. They, or rather you, will have to work together to overcome many obstacles along the way, but the solution is usually obvious.




Far from a failure of design, it’s the key to unlocking what makes Brothers so special. It dares to let the “game” stand aside, allowing you to simply enjoy the experience. It’s easily one of the most breathtakingly beautiful games I’ve ever played, and the designers know it. You’ll often want to stop and smell the roses (and you can!) There are literally benches placed along the way so you can sit and admire the view. Beyond how drop dead gorgeous everything is, your core interaction with the other inhabitants of this world is to...help them? You heard that right, you use the triggers not to kill, but to lend a helping hand. At it’s heart, it’s big wonderful heart, Brothers is all about cooperation. I’m so accustomed to being a cold blooded killer in virtually every game out there, that I’ve been trained to recognize any animate or inanimate obstacle in my way as something that must be destroyed. Apparently, it’s possible to make a game for adults about something other than murder. Who would have thought?




Visually, it exudes a certain Pixar-ness, but it goes places that Pixar would never dare to go. Despite how warm and fuzzy it can be, Brothers can get quite dark at times. Sure, it’s a fairy tale inspired by the Brothers Grimm, but not the sugar coated children’s versions of the tales. It’s a touching story, often told by the gameplay itself. Unfortunately I can't properly explain what I mean by that without spoiling, but it's more than the typical way that interactivity makes a story more engaging. The gameplay itself has a voice of its own, in a way that I've never quite encountered before. There's one moment in particular where the gameplay spoke louder and clearer about the strength of the bond between the brothers, far more than hours of traditional storytelling ever could. It was nothing short of magic.




From start to finish the pacing is superb, with hardly a dull moment and constantly changing surroundings. Needless to say, the brothers will face plenty of adversity along the way, but there's an equal measure of delight and pure bliss to counterbalance it. Brothers proves that complexity or difficulty don't need to be essential elements of every game, and can even be detrimental when used in excess. Modern games are capable of creating amazing virtual worlds for us to explore; often that's the best part about them. Starbreeze reigned in everything that stood in the way of allowing yourself to let go and enjoy the moment. I hope the rest of the industry takes the hint. Some games test your reflexes, others tease your brain, but Brothers speaks directly to your heart.



 


 

Parental Guide:




Not particularly violent, but it has it’s moments, and goes to some dark places.







 

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:



REFERENCE
= 90-100 /
EXCELLENT
= 80-89 /
GOOD
= 65-79 /
AVERAGE
= 55-65 /
BELOW AVERAGE
= under 55




**Ratings are judged against the state of the art in contemporary games. As technology rapidly improves, standards will raise appropriately.**





 

Audio: 92(PC)
88(Console)




(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)





  • Dynamics:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q






  • Low Frequency Extension:
    8FylI7wytOCFDHiexdxg7Wp3x7lQluGfKj82l2IHCnH-zERPmJK9qfbRzDsbXX71KPOg3TxiKsQ6GQScyizzTueY_eOgYMbeyngE05hzgq_oDrN5PGDfoC58DA






  • Positional/Environmental Cues:  PC:
    2zXaIxf43Nyh4JhvGKsaCe8EJFgTBW1Mu232banTzQoPTAC9wyZJQN5lHyVgfSTl8QUANNNR-EX0p2_DxYxmo_cg2SOJOAG5ejvJXnd9XT4cJfZefclHMdRujw
     Console:
    8FylI7wytOCFDHiexdxg7Wp3x7lQluGfKj82l2IHCnH-zERPmJK9qfbRzDsbXX71KPOg3TxiKsQ6GQScyizzTueY_eOgYMbeyngE05hzgq_oDrN5PGDfoC58DA






  • Detail/Realism:
    2zXaIxf43Nyh4JhvGKsaCe8EJFgTBW1Mu232banTzQoPTAC9wyZJQN5lHyVgfSTl8QUANNNR-EX0p2_DxYxmo_cg2SOJOAG5ejvJXnd9XT4cJfZefclHMdRujw






  • Dialogue/Mix Quality:
    8FylI7wytOCFDHiexdxg7Wp3x7lQluGfKj82l2IHCnH-zERPmJK9qfbRzDsbXX71KPOg3TxiKsQ6GQScyizzTueY_eOgYMbeyngE05hzgq_oDrN5PGDfoC58DA








 

Don't let it's budget price fool you, it's a
truly impressive audio production that feels at home at reference level. LFE is used sparingly but to good effect, although I do feel it could have been stronger at times. Everything is well recorded, including a memorable and haunting original score that will be stuck in your head for days. Positioning and environmental cues are spot on when present, but uncompressed PCM and 7.1 are absent on the 360. The only knock I have against it is that the music sounds like it was mixed a tad too high at times, as it can occasionally drown out the vocals—not that you have any idea what they’re saying, since everyone speaks in gibberish. Thankfully, it's a solvable problem in the options menu. It's not an explosive showcase that will push your gear to the limits, but it's built to very high standards.




Recommended Setting:
Turn music slider down to 80.





 

Video: 88(PC) 82(Console)




(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)





  • Resolution/Aliasing: PC:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q
     Console:
    0R_SXLvPzMp7nc-JHxXga9em6Dp-CtsJ1AkGXYWPzsordGHqy88gVQ7MQhDTvAszOjNiuafucRtQoed2IuLe3-He2pvEQQu4odqbHdO_e6aZp1Y3ChrPnIdvGA






  • Frame Rate:
    8FylI7wytOCFDHiexdxg7Wp3x7lQluGfKj82l2IHCnH-zERPmJK9qfbRzDsbXX71KPOg3TxiKsQ6GQScyizzTueY_eOgYMbeyngE05hzgq_oDrN5PGDfoC58DA






  • Calibration Adherence:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q






  • Technical Quality:
    0R_SXLvPzMp7nc-JHxXga9em6Dp-CtsJ1AkGXYWPzsordGHqy88gVQ7MQhDTvAszOjNiuafucRtQoed2IuLe3-He2pvEQQu4odqbHdO_e6aZp1Y3ChrPnIdvGA






  • Art Design/Production Values:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q








 

Naturally the PC version steals the show with an unlocked resolution and 60fps, but the console version definitely doesn't phone it in. Resolution is a native 720p, with effective anti-aliasing. Even though the frame rate is a steady 30fps, I’m giving it an extra point because it's dealt with so effectively—camera pans are very slow and smooth, and there is just enough in-game motion blur that the low frame rate never detracts from the experience. It looks perfect on a calibrated display, and even outright specifies the default gamma as 2.2 in the options menu. Collaborating with a film director must have brushed off some good habits! There’s nothing particularly special about the tech, but the art design is phenomenal. The other scores are almost irrelevant; it’s a beautiful game that deserves to be seen on the best gear that money can buy.




As a bit of a side note, although the PC version doesn't feature official 3D support, it can be easily patched to fully support Nvidia 3D Vision or 3DTV Play. Although 2D does the art plenty of justice, as I was initially playing through it on the 360, all I could think was how amazing it would look in 3D. Having played through it again in full 1080p/60fps/3D glory, it boggles my mind that 3D support wasn't built planned from the start, as it's by far one of the most visually impressive 3D presentations I've ever seen. It really brings the world to life. You can download the patch here:




http://helixmod.blogspot.com/2013/09/brothers-tale-of-two-sons.html
  



 



 

Game Design: 96




(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)





  • Overall Gameplay:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q






  • Controls/Feel:
    8FylI7wytOCFDHiexdxg7Wp3x7lQluGfKj82l2IHCnH-zERPmJK9qfbRzDsbXX71KPOg3TxiKsQ6GQScyizzTueY_eOgYMbeyngE05hzgq_oDrN5PGDfoC58DA






  • Interface:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q






  • Stability:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q






  • Load Time:
    gZKppCOP7hl8DwRB7C2FYX83BRpHrIlnD3BXE1QCf10OEWuHNbXQqFeLGYxLAKUhLgSFyFHFTBQE6gTAe1mia9awQwFn2PmtE9Num14pDAezmTDFA6G-BEiC4Q








 

Brothers can feel like barely a game at times, but it executes on its concept with perfection. There's no filler to speak of, and it's engaging from beginning to end, rarely throwing the same situation at you twice. The controls take some getting used to; but they couldn't possibly have been made any simpler without fundamentally changing the game. The list of things that Brothers doesn't have is getting quite lengthy, but you can also add a user interface, bugs and load times to it. The design philosophy is simple: everything you want, and nothing you don't.



 

Final Thoughts:




If you enjoyed
Journey
, Brothers is right down your alley. It's easily one of my favorite games of the past few years. It's a game that not only knows exactly what it is, but exactly what it shouldn't be. It's a polished and focused experience, and I hope other developers take note—more isn't always better.






 

Mark D'Aria



AVS Forum Video Game Reviews





 

Reference Review System:




Panasonic TC-P60ST30 60" 1080P 3D Plasma Display (Calibrated with i1 Display LT)



Anthem MRX300 7.1 Channel AVR (Calibrated with Anthem ARC)



Paradigm Studio 40 v.3 (Main)



Paradigm CC-470 v.3 (Center)



Paradigm Studio 20 v.4 (Surround)



Velodyne HGS-18 (Subwoofer)



Sony Playstation 3 Slim (500GB Seagate Momentus XT Solid State Hybrid HDD)



Microsoft Xbox 360



Custom Gaming PC (Intel i5-3470, Nvidia GTX 760, 8GB DDR3, Samsung 840 SSD)

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post #2 of 14 Old 09-06-2013, 10:49 AM
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This game was a fun play and really beautiful. I wasn't interested initially because the name and premise just sounded dumb to be honest. But it is definitely a game worth checking out if you are into puzzle platformers.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-06-2013, 01:35 PM
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Would the 2d to 3d conversion on my st60 give similar results to the nvidia 3d? My pc isn't set up to my tv so to play it in 3d it would have to be on my 360. Thanks!

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post #4 of 14 Old 09-06-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethean View Post

Would the 2d to 3d conversion on my st60 give similar results to the nvidia 3d? My pc isn't set up to my tv so to play it in 3d it would have to be on my 360. Thanks!

Nah, definitely not. 3D vision isn't a conversion like your TV's, it's a special video driver that actually renders out the two independent camera angles. It's the same method they'd use if they were building proper 3D support in from the start. The TV is just guessing at it, 3D vision is the real deal.

It's still a pretty game in 2D though, and the 360 version is solid. It's how I played through the game the first time, and I loved it just the same.

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post #5 of 14 Old 09-11-2013, 07:04 AM
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How come I cannot find a place that sells the game? GameStop for one.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-11-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

How come I cannot find a place that sells the game? GameStop for one.

It's download only, you get it directly through your console...I should probably clarify that.

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post #7 of 14 Old 09-13-2013, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Nah, definitely not. 3D vision isn't a conversion like your TV's, it's a special video driver that actually renders out the two independent camera angles. It's the same method they'd use if they were building proper 3D support in from the start. The TV is just guessing at it, 3D vision is the real deal.

It's still a pretty game in 2D though, and the 360 version is solid. It's how I played through the game the first time, and I loved it just the same.
So I moved my computer to the living room to test it out...My God you're right! I tried The Witcher 2 and the 3D looked better than on Arkham City on my ps3 which was made with 3d in mind. 3d conversion on film looked pretty good too. I tested it out in the Dark Knight Rises and it wasn't bad. I might have to buy the license for the software. (Apparently with just the nvidia 3d driver, 3d support was limited.)

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post #8 of 14 Old 09-14-2013, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, it should definitely look better than arkham on PS3, that game uses a technique called "reprojection", which just applies some processing to the 2D image to create the 3D. It's better than what the TV can do on its own, since it's using actual depth information from the game, but it's not nearly as good as rendering two independent views for each eye, like 3D vision will.

I was really annoyed at having to spend $40 on the 3DTV play driver too, but I did end up getting a lot of use out of it. I ending up getting a 75ft HDMI and USB cable running from my office to my TV so I don't have to drag my PC around...totally worth it.

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post #9 of 14 Old 09-14-2013, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

Yeah, it should definitely look better than arkham on PS3, that game uses a technique called "reprojection", which just applies some processing to the 2D image to create the 3D. It's better than what the TV can do on its own, since it's using actual depth information from the game, but it's not nearly as good as rendering two independent views for each eye, like 3D vision will.

I was really annoyed at having to spend $40 on the 3DTV play driver too, but I did end up getting a lot of use out of it. I ending up getting a 75ft HDMI and USB cable running from my office to my TV so I don't have to drag my PC around...totally worth it.

Not a bad idea at all. If I do that and get a mouse app for my phone, I should be set. Only thing is inconspicuously running an HDMI cable from the living room to the garage lol. (Space is limited so the garage is my PC area.)

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post #10 of 14 Old 09-16-2013, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethean View Post


Not a bad idea at all. If I do that and get a mouse app for my phone, I should be set. Only thing is inconspicuously running an HDMI cable from the living room to the garage lol. (Space is limited so the garage is my PC area.)

 

That will work in a pinch, but those apps tend to fail from time to time...they wont work if a UAC prompt comes up, for instance.

 

I personally use one of these:

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0090BTY8Y

 
Keep in mind you'll also need some way to get the controller input back to the PC, so you'll have to run not only HDMI, but a long USB run as well.  

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post #11 of 14 Old 09-18-2013, 06:26 AM
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I JUST finished the game and I can't recommend it enough. To some extent I would compare it to The Walking Dead, in that it uses the medium of video games to its full advantage. That is, what makes it good couldn't really be done on TV, movies, books, etc.

It also reminds me of my experiences with The Last of Us, and Life of Pi. I had some misgivings along the way. In this game, a few poor checkpoints and unintended control mishaps. But nonetheless they were intriguing stories along the way, and by the end truly great experiences.

I played it on PC in 3D. The fact that it's fantastic in 3D is either the icing on the cake or an essential ingredient. I don't know. In either case, I'm glad I was able to experience the game without 2D.
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-15-2013, 04:23 PM
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OK, a very nice game. Unique in its approach and engaging and fun to play three dimensional puzzler. However, it needs a patch on the xbox360. There are several points in the game where it is glitched to the point of needing to restart the level to overcome the problem. For example, in the cave I get to a point where the little brother needs to pickpocket a golden key. It won't happen. You need to redo the whole chapter. Online you will find that this type of problem shows up in other places. So, it's a really good idea nicely executed but needs some fixes. Still if you are willing to put up with this I would still give it a high mark.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-16-2013, 04:48 PM
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is it on psn in usa? how much is it?
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-16-2013, 06:23 PM
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Well, I'm in Canada and I can see it on my ps3 so it's probably available to you. It's $14.99.
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