Alright, alright. For serious, though, you’re not wrong. And the truth is, these generally non-violent games are out there. They just typically don’t get the same level of attention that say, our yearly helping of Call of Duty might, and whatever the reasons may or may not be, it’s nothing less than a shame.
Take for instance, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. A downloadable game featured in the Xbox Live Arcade, and as of yesterday, also on Steam. It’s a story-driven adventure game in which (you guessed it) two young brothers go on a mission to attain the cure for an ailment that threatens their father’s life.
The first thing you will notice about this game is the unusual, and at the same time incredibly interesting controls scheme. I won’t tell you much about it, because the game manages to teach you how navigate it just fine without the aid of lengthy tutorials or words.
That’s right, I said without words, because this game’s story is told exactly that way.
The two brothers communicate with each other, as well as with the world around them by utilizing a mixture of gibberish (read: made-up language) and hand gestures. In fact, just to highlight the understated thoughtfulness of the mechanics, you as the player, will get to know each brother’s personality just by observing the different ways in which they interact with the environment.
Placed in less subtle and less inventive hands, each brother could have easily enough been armed with a unique weapon and then asked you to choose which might be more useful given the situation. Instead, Brothers eschews the more traditional approach, and places the focus on compelling you to treat both boys as a unit, while at the same time, inviting you to respect their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Some of the most frustrating moments in my journey through the gorgeous, and often grisly landscapes came whenever I allowed one brother to get too far away from the other. The mechanics of the game insist they be kept together, not only in order to survive, but for the sake of your overall sanity as well. Trust me on this.
By contrast, some of the best moments in my journey occurred when I realized that these two brothers inhabited a world that was far more large and dangerous than they, or I , as someone experiencing the world through their eyes, could truly understand.
So, yeah, ok. You do end up inevitably killing some things. Fools gotta die sometimes, I guess.
But, with the focus placed squarely on true brotherhood, it has never felt more necessary or justified.