August 14, 2015

[Blaugust 13] On Having Finished "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons"

Hi there! I'm taking up all this room at the beginning of the post to display the urgent message that this post contains massive spoilers for the near entirety of the game "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons". Please don't read this post if there's a chance you could play this game, since I'll assure you that having any of it spoiled will drain the entire emotional reaction to certain events within this game. Brothers is a beautiful game with fun controls, satisfying puzzles, and fantastic graphics and voice acting, so I really suggest that you play through before you start this post, since the first sentence after the jumpbreak is a spoiler.

That said, Brothers is a FANTASTIC game and it's currently on sale for $3.74! You should buy it on Steam today.

Alright, you ready? A-tah! 

This post may contain sensitive material.

Look, a harmless picture. Happiness and turtles and Naia!
Brothers did not have a happy ending. I'll put it out there right here, right now. If any of you were watching my stream (Haha, and I know for a fact that only one person reading this was there live), you saw my reaction to the very end, my disbelief suspended for several minutes before finally being set in stone that Big Brother (who I'll be calling Naia, based on the language the characters have been speaking) was actually, without a doubt, for-real dead.

But despite the tissues I didn't have on-stream, the fact that I dropped my glasses on the table to wipe my face without jostling the mic, and the squeaky, half-assed goodbye I made before shutting the stream down, Brothers' ending was executed very well. Much of my reasoning can be derived from my on-stream reactions. Burying Naia was the most difficult part (and it stops my typing multiple times just thinking about it). Instead of choosing to do a cut-scene, the game requested that I, playing as Naiee (who is more and more of the main character now that I think about it), drag Naia into the grave I dug in a cutscene. I had to stop multiple times, as I imagine that Naiee would have done. Was there another way? Could I instead just get more magical-water and just keep pouring it until Naia came back alive?

No. There was no other way.

I stopped a couple of times while pushing the displaced dirt back in. I was so alone. How would I be able to complete my mission? Maybe I should just stay here.

No. Naia told me I had to get the job done.

When my gryphon returned, having recovered from its injuries, I was flushed with envy. Naia and I had watched the gryphon drop in place, so why was I so certain my very own brother wouldn't just wake up again?

No. I had to go.

Soon, things changed. I was back home, walking through the middle of a storm and faced with a stream that Naia had carried me through when we were just starting to travel. How would I ever be able to get through? It took me some time, but I realized that using the Naia's old command keys gave me the power to overcome my fears and swim, pull, and jump like he could.

Was I alone? No.

And lastly, when the father and I were standing by the two symbolic headstones on the cliff, I watched him as he fell to his knees, sobbing, like I did. I - well, Naiee, in this case - had done enough of that. As Naiee comforted his father and the camera panned past his still face to reveal the countryside and gryphon flying over the mountains, I realized that the game was starting a new day. A new age for Naiee, one prefaced by great sorrow and loss on multiple occasions, but one that was prepared to back up a time of maturity and adulthood.

Just like with Dear Esther, it'll be a long time before I can return to Brothers to complete a few more achievements. When I do, I will no longer see the game through the same lens. And for now, my journey with this game is complete.

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