Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a pretty short game, lasting about 4 hours. This is about the same as my indie title “Invertical”, which costs a lot less! Whilst Brothers was free for me having picked it up through Games with Gold, it usually costs £13 on Steam or £10 on Xbox.
This begs the question, is it acceptable to have such a short game?
In short… Yeah.
I’ve two reasons why I don’t have any issues with the length of Brothers. First of all is that I have a huge games collection, many of which haven’t been played. Completing a game can be such a huge time commitment and with a full time job, part time job and a life away from games (shocking, I know), there’s only so much time that I can commit. Do I play only play a handful of epic games a year, playing the same one for months on end, or several fun games with different experiences? For me it is the latter.
I’m really glad that I’ve been able to play through and experience Brothers and I’m sure that if I wanted, I could happily play through it again. Maybe the next time I could tinker about a bit more and get those achievements? What I think is especially worth mentioning is that I don’t feel like the short amount of gameplay has had a negative experience on the story. I’ve learned about the characters and enjoyed the charming (yet sad) tale, even if I don’t understand what the characters are saying. If anything I have appreciated the story a bit more. When a game takes me months to get through I tend to not really give a damn about the story. It feels like a drag.
A typical 8-12 hour games (e.g. generic shooter 7) often have more intensity but still a good story a bit like a film. Therefore at ~3 hours you might say that Brothers is the gaming equivalent of a short film, which seems apt. This of course takes into account that games operate much slower than films because games don’t cut out you walking down the street and jump like films. I guess the longer story based games would be a TV show but in truth I’ve never felt compelled or deeply involved in the stories as they often lack the continual changes. It’s usually just one REALLY long and poorly paced story.
So yeah, is a 3-4 hour long game that that bad? No. It has a story that doesn’t drag on and for folk who can only play for a limited period a week, it is a wonderful opportunity to play and complete a charming game. If anything I’d like to see more short games, so long as they aren’t too dear.
Quick final point – the other weekend I spent around £10 on a cinema ticket and that only last a couple of hours plus the equivalent of DLC (Popcorn, drinks etc) is hardly cheap either. By comparison, a 4 hour game can still be great value!