Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the latest downloadable title developed by Starbreeze Studio, who are generally known for first person shooters, and published by 505 Games. Starbreeze surprised everyone with the announcement they would be working on a story-based downloadable title, and, true enough, they have delivered on their promise. Lets take a look at how the studio performed, as many people may be wary to buy into a story-driven title from a FPS developer…

Well, the answer to your worries is DO NOT WORRY. Starbreeze have done a fantastic job with their first real entry into the story-based game world. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a title that really impressed me; I highly enjoyed it and the game is, without a doubt, a superb work of art. I would almost qualify the game as being a masterpiece.

The game is based on Norse mythology, and is a ‘tale of two sons’ as the name implies. An older brother and a younger brother both go on a journey to find medication for their ill father. The depths to which the game goes really surprised me; Starbreeze have added a lot of material that I haven’t seen ever used in a game before, some of the material being particularly dark. We won’t be discussing the story in this review, as it is one of the highlights of the game and we don’t want to spoil it. We can just guarantee you will enjoy it if you are a fan of story driven titles.

Now, in terms of gameplay, Brothers uses some very unique and intelligent techniques which solely rely on the player of the game being more experienced with certain controls. Firstly, to explain, the game uses just four parts of the controller; the analogue sticks and the back triggers. Now, each stick is dedicated to a brother; the left being mapped to the movement of the older brother and the right being mapped to the movement of the younger brother. Think about how that would work for a second… naturally, the player is going to be more experienced with their left stick, as this is the traditional control for movement. This will ensure that the younger brother is more prone to wandering, and is overall less fearless than the older brother (controlled with your experienced left thumb). Starbreeze have created dynamic player personalities by just assigning the characters to certain controls. Personally, I think this is extremely intuitive, and I commend the team for making the discovery.

The experience mostly consists of puzzles with the great added story. The older brother and younger brother must both work together to complete puzzles, with the little brother being more suited to, for example, fitting through narrow passages, while the older brother is more suited to moving heavy objects. The puzzles within the game are quite easy, and usually this would be a bad thing, but, with this game’s unique atmosphere… it isn’t. Brothers is a game which should be played if you wish to relax and enjoy a great story. It’s enjoyable, peaceful, beautiful and very unique.

To add to the greatness of the game, not only do we have a fantastic story, highly enjoyable gameplay and lots of uniqueness, we also have a spectacular world in which the game is set. I have not seen a game that looks this stunning in a long time. The environments, characters, objects and backgrounds are of the quality of a high budget animated film and appear to have been painted by hand. The graphical beauty just blew me away (especially as a fan of cartoon-like animation) like no game has in a long time. It is quite similar in graphical style to Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and sometimes even surpasses that game’s graphical quality.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is quite short in length, however, I felt that the time was perfect, and the game did not try to draw out the story. Each short chapter in the game has been given its own unique theme, and the variety is a fantastic way to the keep the game fresh throughout its path. The soundtrack also sounds magnificent. The story for the game, as mentioned, is superb, and Starbreeze (in conjunction with Josef Fares, a film director) did a great job on their first story-based game. I hope we see more of them in the future.

The only negative is that there can occasionally be graphical glitches, however, the game is so graphically beautiful that this is bound to happen, so, I will not be penalising the game for this very minor issue. Other than that EVERYTHING about this title is perfect, and I had one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have had in quite some time playing this unique title; I suggest you do to – you can pick up the game from Xbox Live now, with the PC and PS3 versions going live at the start of September.

Oh, and, one last thing. We found it very difficult to decide on the score on this one. I sat for quite some time trying to decide to award 9.5 or 10. Is the game powerful enough in every way to be considered flawless? I weighed up everything and decided YES, this game is a masterpiece. The developers worked very hard perfecting all the aspects of the title, and I feel they deserve a 10/10 score. Thanks for reading our review, and again, I cannot recommend more that you should pick up this title!