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Brave (XBox 360) Review

/ Jul 16th, 2012 2 Comments

Brave (XBox 360) Review

Brave (XBox 360) Review

Brave (XBox 360) Review

Do you remember Gex: Enter the Gecko or Crash Bandicoot? You jumped through portals into new lands, killed enemies, and collected coins. Thanks to Behaviour Interactive and Disney Interactive Studios, the video game Brave reminded me of those childhood loves. Brave is a cute game with a simple story, linear gameplay, and has been released for multiple platforms. I beat the game in about 5 or 6 hours on my Xbox 360. Also, Brave has a lot of bears. Cute bears. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. Read my biography. I’m into bears and Brave has bears.

Story

In Brave, you play a young, rebel redhead named Merida. Merida is the princess of DunBroch and has been excellently trained in archery and swordsmanship. Consequently, she has become the greatest archer in the entire kingdom. Also, Merida is a giant brat. This pre-teen know-it-all is of the mind that her mother, Queen Elinor, micromanages her every move. So Merida does what we all would when faced with heavy parental oversight: she asks a witch to conjure up a magic pie that changes her mother’s personality. Instead, the cursed pie changes her mother into a bear. Merida claims she was unaware of the pie being an animorph-into-bear pie, but I’m skeptical. Regardless, the game begins with Merida chasing her bear mother through the woods. During the chase, Merida revisits the witch/baker who informs her of a rival bear, Mor’du. Mor’du is spreading a dark blight across the forest and endangering Merida’s dear, grizzly mum. It becomes Merida’s objective to defeat Mor’du’s evil, restore peace to the forest, and stop her mother from going into some uncharted cave and hibernating for 6 months. I should mention Merida has 3 younger triplet brothers who have also been turned into bears BY THE SAME PIE Merida gave her mom. So way to go, Merida, you turned your family into The Berenstain Bears. Your family is now a bear family. That is actually really awesome. Anyway, the story behind Brave is cute but nothing too special. It’s the typical learn from your mistakes and find some deeper moral lesson in the process kind of story. It appeals to younger audiences but I still played the hell out of it so I could rack up some serious achievement points on my Xbox 360.

Gameplay

Brave on Xbox 360

Brave on Xbox 360

Gameplay in Brave runs smoothly but the auto-adjusting camera angle and bow trigger take some getting used to. When you fire your bow on the Xbox 360, you simply press the right joy stick in the direction you wish to fire. I kept trying to aim without firing and therefore just launched a bunch of arrows into the sun and missed every single enemy. Eventually I got the hang of things and shooting my bow was pretty fun. You will only have two weapons the whole game, your bow and sword. Being a simple game, Brave is very linear. You will guide Merida through multiple worlds that you access through portal-like stones. Your main objective in each world will be to cleanse waystones of Mor’du’s blight and restore harmony to that part of the forest. However, you should take interest in finding treasure chests. Infrequently will you deviate from the intended path to find these treasure chests but you should: they’re storing new outfits, weapons, and tapestry pieces. Tapestry pieces grant increases in a character’s overall health and battle performance. I say “character’s” because you won’t just be playing Merida. You will get many opportunities to play Queen Elinor, who is a bear.

Playing Queen Elinor is fun because you just run around mauling stuff and making things explode with coin money. You will also play Merida’s younger bear brothers in order to solve easy, kind of unnecessary puzzles. I feel bad criticizing the non-imperative role of the triplet bear cubs because they’re adorable. Really adorable. You can make them jump but the jump is more of a hop which only adds to their overall cuteness. But I digress!

Throughout the worlds you will acquire 4 elements: earth, fire, wind, and ice. Each element will be utilized to defeat certain enemies. Destroy enemies and nearby objects to collect coins which are necessary to purchase weapon upgrades. Treasure chest goodies and purchased upgrades will enhance all characters’ performance and help eviscerate Mor’du’s darkness. You definitely want to defeat Mor’du because although being a bear is cool, I think his darkness will kill everyone, big bears and baby bears included. Even though Brave is too linear for my personal tastes, I experienced no glitching and the scenery, upgrades, and monsters were diverse enough to keep me from feeling bored. Overall and objectively, Brave gameplay was simple but fun.

Graphics

The graphics in Brave are kind of chunky and cartoony but don’t hinder (or improve) the quality of gameplay, it just doesn’t look very good. I suppose the graphics of the game match the art of the movie Brave but with Behaviour Interactive’s creative talents I feel like a smoother look could have been achieved. For example, Merida’s hair is just a choppy mess. In the movie Brave her hair is so polished and majestic, albeit wild, and in the game she reminds me of the bad blockheads from Gumby. I made my Merida wear an outfit with a helmet. I felt better and she looked better. It usually does not bode well for a game when the character’s design needs to be hidden with a hat. The scenery in different worlds looked all right, but nothing really stood out for recognition. I understand this is a short, small game but the graphics could have been improved upon.

Sound

Scottish people sound awesome, so naturally all the voice acting in Brave rules. The bear roars sound very realistic and I like to imagine developers setting up an actual bear in the sound studio and prompting him to make noise. The soundtrack to Brave doesn’t have many memorable tracks but the ones you do notice are actually very pretty. The music is also upbeat and definitely prepares me for some bear battling. Gameplay sounds like coin collecting and sword “swooshing” are typical but appropriate. I like to think of the sounds and music as the neat, simple bow on top of the whole Brave package; not fancy but fitting for the product.

Overall

Even if I did have to hide Merida’s ugly red block locks, 5 to 6 hours of gameplay was just the right amount of time invested in this game. I liked the diversity in monsters and scenery and I liked the bears. I think all games should have an option to play as a bear. I don’t care if it’s applicable to the story or genre, just add a bear option and the rating of the game will substantially increase. Okay, so I’m being facetious, but thrashing around as a giant black bear was cool. Bears aside, because of the graphics and really linear gameplay, Brave seemed too incomplete and therefore scores relatively low.

Overall Ratings – Brave The Video Game (Xbox 360)

Story:

6/10

Gameplay:

7/10

Graphics:

5/10

Sound:

6/10

OVERALL SCORE:

60%

 

Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray

Content Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Rachel is a game aficionada who lives with her tuxedo cat, Ernest. Some of her favorite things include bears, Chik-fil-a chick-n-minis, White Russians, and Silent Hill 2. When jogging, Rachel attaches her mp3 arm attachment to her wrist and pretends it is a Pip-Boy.
Rachel Gray
Rachel Gray

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