Brave: A Warrior's TaleESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Collision Games
Publisher: Southpeak Interactive
344 KB to Game Game
In Game Dolby Digital
Following up from the 2005 PS2 game 'Brave: The Search for the Spirit Dancer', Southpeak delivers 'Brave: A Warrior's Tale' for the Xbox 360 and Wii. I had the opportunity to review the Xbox 360 version of the game and went in knowing nothing about this family based action platforming title. Unfortunately, after a few minutes into the game I quickly realized this game was not for me; that being a dead sexy mid 30's male. That being said, A Warrior's Tale might be a perfect game for those new to the gaming experience or for those parents looking to keep their kids busy for a few hours, but for most of us this one should really be avoided.
Overall, Brave: A Warrior's Tale is a weak looking game. Granted it has moments where the bright and colourful visuals shine; however for the most part the game looks like a direct port from the Wii version which is not an HD machine. For starters, the character models lack detail and simply look awkward. Their movements are not natural and they have an unpolished look about them. The environments also lack detail and the overall presentation of the game is lacklustre. As far as glitches are concerned, the game also suffers from some occasional clipping at times and there are some framerate issues when things get a little too chaotic. Bottomline, do not expect the level of detail in this game as you would typically see from other Triple A games we play on the Xbox 360. There is a reason this game is a budget title and unfortunately the visuals scream budget game.
As far as the sound is concerned, like the visuals, they are underwhelming. For starters the character voices are not the best we have heard in recent memory and really add nothing to the game’s atmosphere or overall gameplay. Their voices are clear but they start to grate you after awhile. That said, it was nice to see that the dialogue was not out of sync with the characters mouth movements. As far as the soundtrack is concerned, A Warrior's Tale is decent but somewhat forgettable. Essentially, it is your typical dynamic paced action based soundtrack which features tunes we have all heard before. Finally, the game’s sound effects are very basic and also very forgettable. Nothing leaves you with any lasting impressions which ultimately are the biggest issues I have with games audio. Needless to say, A Warrior's Tale will not have you humming any tunes or thinking of any sounds from the game long after you have walked away from it.
As far as the storyline is concerned, the game takes place 70-years after the events of Spirit Dancer and Brave is now the village elder. Early in the game you are introduced a young villager named Courage. As Brave recounts dangerous tales of his past to Courage, players start to relive Brave's past in real time to learn how Brave became a mighty warrior. Playing as Courage and Brave you travel through forests, deserts and rivers fighting evil creatures as Courage attempts to become a true hero and defend his people. It is a cheesy storyline and is clearly aimed at the youngest of gamers. That said, the story has some redeeming elements and many younger gamers may get a kick out of some of Brave's wild tales.
As far as the single player experience is concerned you get a great deal of variety in A Warrior's Tale which is one of the redeeming qualities of the game. Whether it is simple action based platforming or going for a canoe ride, A Warrior's Tale mixes mix up the gameplay a fair amount. Otherwise, A Warrior's Tale is a mindless and simple experience aimed for those who have not picked up too many game controllers.
The controls in the game are very simplistic. Moving your player is accomplished with the left stick; melee button is X; and jump button is A, and roll/action button is B. At the start of the game you become acquainted with the controls and within a matter of seconds you have complete control of the on screen action. It is really that simple and nothing is too complicated in terms of the game’s controls. Throughout the game Mobile Stones are located to help you in areas where you get stuck. Again if you are new to gaming you may hit a snag here and there, but for most gamers you will never have to resort to the Stone as the levels are easy to navigate and the games objectives are a breeze.
You start out the game with a limited amount of weapons but as you progress Brave picks up stick to swat enemies and later you can use the stick as a torch. After mastering a few skills, Brave acquires a tomahawk which can be fairly effective. Later on you also pick up a bow and arrow. Other than this the amount of weaponry is fairly limited. Much of the game involves destroying enemies; however the game does throw a bunch of objective based tasks your way. These quests can become repetitive but at least it throws some variety into the mix. Brave gains some special powers along the way and can transform into a Bear in some occasions. All are nice ideas but the execution is shaky at best.
On the surface, A Warrior's Tale seems like a winner for the kids but some of the issues are borderline unbearable. For starters gauging distance when performing certain jumps or climbing up cliffs is difficult. Granted the game has unlimited saves and you can die repeatedly without consequence, but the camera issues prevent players from being able to accurately gauge distance. The camera never seems to adjust properly and some of the jumping sequences can be maddening as heck. It takes away from the experience and is a real turn-off for younger ones who simply want to proceed in the game.
Brave: A Warrior's Tale for the Xbox 360 is a game which will hardly please even your most casual gamer. The visuals are less than stellar, the audio is forgettable and the gameplay is nothing incredibly innovative. Some kids may very well get a kick out of Brave and all his crazy adventures but most gamers should stay clear from this one.