Imagine a world in which Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons cost $60 — $60 you’d be more than happy to pay. And something like Call of Duty: Ghosts, not three months after its debut, became a handout you got like a canvas tote and logo-etched mug with membership in whatever platform’s annual gaming club.
That’s sadly not the world we live in, but the flip side is that a game as amazing as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons won’t cost you a dime if you’re a $50-a-year PlayStation Plus member and PlayStation 3 owner.
If you meet those two criteria, Sony’s adding Starbreeze Studios’ masterful dark fantasy adventure to the PSN’s Instant Game Collection today (meaning it’s now gratis instead of $15), so the only reason you have left not to play it is if you’re no fan of masterful dark fantasy adventures, or terrific, unmissable video games in general.
It’s short — so there’s no great time commitment — I’ve seen play-through videos on YouTube (with the puzzles figured out beforehand) that last just over two-and-a-half hours. It supports single player co-op, which sounds weird but just means you’re playing the game as both brothers simultaneously using each of the gamepad’s thumbsticks to control a brother and thereby working through interactive puzzles. It’s directed by Swedish filmmaker Josef Fares, who…okay, I’ve seen none of his films. But he’s a movie guy with zero prior video game experience who somehow managed not to botch the transition to gaming, which probably qualifies as a Guinness World Record. And the whole gorgeous affair is steeped in Nordic mythology, by which I mean the good kind, not the bad kind.
I’ve noticed comments over the past year by some suggesting, tongue nowhere in cheek, that these platform memberships are now providing enough content to forego buying standalone games entirely: play whatever drops — increasingly first-rate underground/sleeper/whatchamacallit stuff — and just tune out the mainstream babel. I can see that. I only hope Starbreeze Studios is being duly compensated, so they can bring us more of this sort of thing, and soon.