Published on July 2nd, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Brave: The Video Game Review
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], Wii, PC, Mac
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Reviewer’s Note: Our copy of Brave was sent to us for purpose of review.
The past two Disney Pixar movie tie-in video games, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3, have received positive reception. Brave: The Video Game, however, will not fall into this rare category for movie tie-in games. Just like the stigma the Disney Pixar movies have verses any other animated movie, the game is not bad but it falls short compared to the past two titles.
What feels like a cross between the Lego games series and our ’80s favorite third-person action-adventure, Commando, Brave: The Video Game is the perfect companion to the movie. After all, the game’s storyline intertwines with the one told in the film. But Brave: The Video Game goes one step further and fills in a number of story gaps left in the film. Thankfully, Disney Interactive includes a free movie voucher along with the game.
Where the film focused on the relationship between Merida and her mother, Queen Elinor, the game focuses on the action. By having the curse for a number of years, the main protagonist Mor’du has learned to use it to his advantage. He uses the four elements (earth, wind, fire and water) to create all kinds of different enemies. Armed with a sword and a bow, Merida must battle through the Highlands of Scotland to defeat Mor’du and save her mother.
The game plays similar to Dead Nation. You use the left analog stick to move around and the right analog stick to aim and fire simultaneously. You are also equipped with a jump button, a melee button (sword) and a button to fire your arrows individually. Enemies will spawn randomly but the majority of the battles take place in walled off, wide open areas. You earn abilities from the four elements as you progress through the game. As we know, the each element is vulnerable with another element. This is true in Brave: The Video Game as well. With four different bow abilities, each type of enemy will have a weakness, so strategy plays a key role in battles. For example, you defeat the fire enemies quicker by using the water (ice) bow.
The gameplay does get repetitive as you visit each level, however the game somehow avoids feeling monotonous. The combination of bow abilities and with the different type of enemies helps prevent any level from feeling like you have just been through something similar. Enemy types spawn together at first but as the game progresses the types mix and battles become more exciting. In addition, there are a number of upgrades and abilities you can purchase. Some abilities include dodge, arrow charge, and increase damage for your sword and bow.
You will complete the game before you purchase all of the upgrades, adding some reply value to an already six-hour game. The fun can be shared with another player with drop-in, drop-out online co-op mode. In addition, each level has hidden items such as new bows, swords, outfits and tapestry.
To break up the game a little, puzzles and a special bear mode are mixed between all bow and arrow action. The challenges are easy little lever puzzles to open doors which allow you to advance further in the game. Bear mode lets you control a bear to defeat waves of enemies.
The biggest drawback of the game is the graphics. The cut scenes are done in storybook picture style which still pixalate often. The game carries the storybook style thus making the game look not as sharp as it could be. Rocks have flat details with harsh, exaggerated lines, lava and water have simple flow animation, but the grasslands are colorful and overly vibrate. The affects of these graphical choices seems to date the game. Despite these drawbacks, the graphics do not distract from the gameplay.
In addition to the normal story mode, developer Behaviour Interactive included an archery range mode. This mode makes use of your Kinect for Xbox 360 or your PlayStation Move. As this review was conducted on the Xbox 360, I’ll focus on the Kinect game options. The archery range mode includes three different games: Quiver limit, Quick Draw and Survival. Quiver Limit is a moving target gallery in which you have certain number of arrows. Quick Draw is a classic pop up gallery mode and Survival is classic pop up gallery with targets moving towards you.
The Kinect sensor worked relatively well in the archery mode. You hold up your left arm like your holding a bow, move right arm close to your body like you are pulling the string back, aim and move your right arm away from your body to fire the arrow. The only hiccups experienced is that the aim went a little off when you move your right arm away from you to fire. This can be fixed by stiffing your body and limiting any shakiness your body might have. This is a perfect addition to a game that has a lot of replay value already.
The Final Truth
Like I said, Brave: The Video Game is a great companion to its movie counterpart. The game genre may seem like an unconventional choice, but once you play the game (and/or see the movie) the aerial third person action-adventure fits well with the story and characters. With hidden objects, upgrades, online co-op and Archery Range mode, Brave: The Video Game has hours of replay value. Despite its non-sharp graphics, Brave: The Video Game is a great family game that will be bring some memories back of retro ’80s games for adults while having fun with their kids.
+ Cooperative online
+ Kinect/PlayStation Move Compatible
+ Replay Value
– Poor graphics