Too fancy to understand.


Is “Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons” a game that a flat newbie can understand?

I have shown a bunch of games to a bunch of people.  It’s always easier to know when an avid player will get anything out of a game. Shh.. the secret is, casuals will settle for just about anything with some polish.  The real trouble, and brain teaser is, will someone on the far left of casual enjoy a game.  By ‘far left’ I mean, someone that plays maybe 1 to 3 games a year.

I think we can all agree that BioShock Infinite is extremely polished.  So a casual player is very likely able to pick it up and have their fun.  Someone on the far left, who has spent less then 50 hours in all of their first person shooting career, might feel more of a learning curve.  It’s a bit tough to miss the appeal of BioShock even if you take a while to understand what to do, but not all games are as strait forward.

Amnesia, is also fairly polished.  Unlike BioShock it’s goal is not simply to give you spectacle and narrative.  That crap is trying to scare you and it does it’s job well.  So well the videos of people reacting are entertaining.

Believe it or not, scaring is a subtle thing.  A mood has to be set.  What is a dark campsite one moment can switch to a creepy forest once a few stories have been shared.  A thought while laying in bed can change the room to a shadowy place for creatures to hide.  The spell is required or the scares just won’t work.

Amnesia, to the average player has a very low curve.  That curve is there though.  The game requires that you understand the basic gaming conventions. Things like, boxes usually are used to get on or as weight distributions. Some items in games are more likely to be useful then others.  Of course the big one is, moving with awsd and looking with a mouse.

For a flat new player, these little things can break the spell.  I have seen it.  Watched as inexperience changes a scary moment into a frustrating bother.

That’s what brings me to my experience last weekend, when I beat through “Brothers –  A Tale of Two Sons”.  This game is short and I definitely don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll be careful talking about it.  There is a part of it that had such a wonderfully powerful impact on me.  I am not going to lie, my cold heart felt a grip on it and if I had feelings they would have drowned me.

Upon completion of the game my immediate thought was, I have to show this to my girl friend.  Then I wasn’t sure.  Knowing of the importance of maintaining the spell in order for emotional impact to take place.  I wasn’t sure if she would understand the significance, being a far left casual.

That isn’t a snobby statement.  If you don’t watch sports, it’s sometimes hard to understand why everyone gets all excited from one moment to another. If you don’t play League of Legends, It’s unlikely you’ll understand why people say Madlife is god.  If you don’t play many games, would it be possible that you could miss the feels in Brothers?

I am just not sure.  I think the game only has one shot to hit you and I don’t want to waste it with my girl friend.  If I have to wait till she’s played more then I will.

If you are comfortable with moving in a first person shooter, please go give this game a shot. I think it’s better to just jump in without seeing much, but if you need a little more. Check out this review by Justin McElroy.