Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the 57th game I’ve completed this year. I enjoyed it for the most part, but as you can tell by the title, I have some particular opinions on the characters that you meet in the game. Hopefully it goes without saying that I’m joking. It will also feature some spoilers, and a lot of unnecessary cursing.
Some context, you start the game at the side of your mother’s grave, learning briefly in flashback that she drowned because the younger brother couldn’t save her. You then find out that your father is deathly sick, and you and your older brother need to go on a quest to find something to cure him.
Then the assholes show up:
This Fucking Guy
Picture this; you’ve literally just been given a quest to save your dying father, your sole surviving parent, and some dick decides to block the only bridge into town. For fun. Then once you swim around the bridge, he locks the town gate and laughs. The gate for the town you live in and presumably have entered many times when you didn’t have a life saving quest on the go. Not content at that, this asshole (after you bypass the gate) chases you through the town to lock you behind another gate nearby.
Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Dungeons and Dragons, where you can say whatever you want, whenever you want, but the inability just to yell, “I’M TRYING TO SAVE MY DYING FATHER, YOU PIECE OF SHIT,” was particularly infuriating.
The Bridge Guy
On the other side of town, you need to cross another bridge, except there’s one problem. The bridge guard is having a nap at his post, and refuses to wake up. I’m so fucking sorry that I’m spoiling your nap, dude, but again, my father is coughing and vomiting to death just the other side of town. Perhaps you know him, seeing as though this is a tiny town in a fantasy medieval setting, so I hope you don’t have any awkward glances from the townsfolk after he dies because you refused to get off your lazy ass.
The Dog / The Dog’s Owner
After the bridge, the only route out of town is to go through a wheat field. This field is guarded by a particularly vicious dog, and by “particularly vicious”, it’s more than possible to get a game over from being mauled to death by this dog. I don’t really have any beef with the dog, after all, he was raised by his owner to murder anyone that comes through, and I repeat, the only way out of town. So farmer guy, fuck you, asshole.
The Friendly Troll
After climbing a nearby hill, you find a crying troll. You ask him for directions to the cure, and he points towards some mines. “Awesome,” you think, “perhaps I’ll have this quest wrapped up by tea time”. If you also thought that, you would be wrong.
The troll leads you through the hills, helps you with climbing the mountain, and even helps you get into the mine (by protecting you from a 100ft fall). He then leaves you for a while whilst you solve some pretty interesting puzzles, which is the point when you notice that this mine is full of far more aggressive looking trolls. Trolls that have imprisoned another (female troll) in a large cage, which you decide to rescue.
After you rescue the female troll, you almost get murdered by two other trolls, before finding another exit out of the other side of the mine. Which the first (friendly) troll, just casually saunters in like its no big deal. So basically, this dick put you in mortal peril several times to save his girlfriend, through a dangerous route that you didn’t have to take, and the cure isn’t even in the mine at all? THAT WAS THE ENTIRE BASIS FOR US ENTERING THE MINE IN THE FIRST PLACE, ASSHOLE.
You first find this troll in a cage, and she begs you to release her. After you risk your life to do so, she runs off, and only comes back to lower the chain to escape, after you deal with the full grown troll that was guarding her. Did she honestly expect two children to be able to defeat the troll, when she, a full grown troll, couldn’t do it?? Or did she just come back because she realised she couldn’t solve the next puzzle on her own? I know what I believe, asshole.
After this, night falls and you have to scare off a load of wolves with your torch. I don’t blame the wolves, they gotta eat, but in the middle of this section, you come across a locked gate in a church yard. You ring a bell to wake up the priest, and he comes down and unlocks it, but does he have to be so pissy about it? I’m sorry it’s the middle of the night, dude, but what did you expect if you lock the gate? I notice how you really don’t give a fuck about sending two children out into the dark, when you know full well there are more wolves only 10 seconds away. No wonder you live out here on your fucking own, asshole.
The Whatever the Fucks
After you fall down a few waterfalls (happens all the time in fantasy medieval history), the younger kid is at the end of a long root, and the older kid has to drag him along to a point where he can climb up. The reason he can’t climb up? There are creatures in the rock face!! With faces and long spindly claws and honestly I have no fucking clue what they are at all. All I know is that I noped out of there as fast as I could.
After making your way through a valley of recently dead giants, the rivers are literally flowing with blood. In the midst of this, you find a small tribe of angry savages (I guess?) who are sacrificing a young girl. If you so much as even approach these guys, they spear you to death. Two children. Speared. To death. For just walking up. Didn’t even object to the sacrifice yet, or say anything. What the fuck.
A little while after saving the sacrifice, you find a mother turtle who has lost her baby turtles. I’m not a parent or anything, but losing one turtle is alright lady, I can forgive that. But lose THREE? That’s fucking negligent.
During this section, the girl that almost got sacrificed joins you, occasionally helping out, leading the way etc. All good. But sensing a pattern with all the previous characters in this game, I was keeping an eye out.
It turns out the tribe above had a point.
This girl tricks you into a cave, where she totally Shelob’s out and tries to eat you, eventually stabbing the older brother to death. You’re welcome for us saving you multiple times, you ungrateful asshole.
As the older brother dies, you finally find the thing you were looking for – a magical tree (you could argue it was Yggdrasil, but I didn’t think Yggdrasil worked like that) that has magical healing sap (I guess?). The reason why I didn’t mention what I was looking for earlier was that I didn’t really know, because whilst the healer at the start of the game gives you a picture, you never get a good look at it. Also, he never explains where to go. And he doesn’t warn you of any of the potential dangers, or advise you to bring supplies or weapons.
He’s just like, “kids, go and fucking find Yggdrasil, you know, that impossible to find tree? I’m sure it’s right around the corner and you won’t definitely die on the way to wherever it is, because I don’t have a fucking clue. Good luck! Get out of my house!!”
You got my brother killed with your vague, negligent bullshit, asshole.
The Biggest Asshole of Them All
If you’ve made it this far into my excessively long rant, I commend you, but it is time for the final plot twist.
I was the biggest asshole all along.
There was a moment when you’re jumping between two windmills and it is super easy to fall to your death, and I laughed. There’s even a bit where you roll a catapult down a hill, squashing the frozen corpses of about 20 people, and I laughed at that too.
But the most asshole-ish is to come here and shit all over this game. Some niggles aside, I really enjoyed it. It left me feeling a bunch of conflicting emotions about the ending, the strongest of which was that existential ennui that I’d just finished something that I profoundly enjoyed and there was no way to ever go back to such an interesting world. So please don’t take my harsh tone as something aimed at the game itself or the developers. I know that if most of this stuff hadn’t happened, there would be no game at all.
This criticism is coming from a place of love, and all I can do is recommend this game as highly as possible. Just be ready to get angry because of all the assholes.