Last week, XBLAFans ran down the 25 best XBLA games to be released on the Xbox 360. This week, some of the games that didn’t make the cut get a second chance as select members of our staff make their cases for their personal XBLA favorites.
The best word to describe Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is “heartfelt.” Two boys need to find the antidote to their father’s sickness, but the mystic medicine is far, far away. Determined, they set off through the woods and discover just what kind of otherworldly wonders — and horrors — exist beyond the comforts of their rustic village. On the way, the youths learn they must trust and depend on each other like never before, as that relationship is all that’s keeping them alive and sane in the twisted world awaiting them.
Most games with two protagonists will have you switching between one and the other, but Starbreeze decided to have players control the boys simultaneously by using both thumbsticks. It’s a bit disorienting, but this unusual mechanic emphasizes the distinct individuality of each brother, especially as you explore their personalities and capabilities. That relationship and co-dependence comes full circle in a terrifying conclusion that made this tough guy shed a tear. In a time when many games push grit, guns and gore, Brothers is a humble reminder to cherish our families and friendships because they help us through our darkest times.
As our top 25 list clearly shows, there are more fantastic games to play than most people have time for. Still, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an unforgettable experience, and it only takes about three hours to finish. You can make time for that.