Where Pixar’s Brave (movie) is story driven, the OSX game (also available on PC and other consoles) takes the main characters down a different path. You’ll play as Merida, her mother and triplet brothers in a action packed narrative. When a game attached to a movie does this, it’s normally for the better (as in this case) since the game developers are given more creative freedom.
Like in the movie, Merida is a spunky gal who loves archery and swinging her mighty sword (I loved it when she was angrily chopping away at the bed post in the film…anyways moving on). In fact it’s this direction that drives the gameplay. Throughout the game you can easily use either weapon by right/left clicking on the mouse which makes attacking enemies fluid and fun. The weapons are upgradable in strength and more importantly over the first few stages you’ll unlock different elements (fire, wind, etc.) that can be attached to each weapon.
The enemies are all tied to an element where they’re weakest to the opposing element. Some enemies take on animal qualities such as a wolf or a boar, others–Sasquatch or the Abominable Snowman. The creatures do vary somewhat…but after awhile they tend to blend into one another. At the end of each stage, you’ll fight off a Boss that is just a larger and stronger version of a regular enemy. It even gets worse when you realize that almost every single Boss Battle plays the same. Big Enemy surrounded by a series of different enemies varying in elemental weakness. With the exception of the final battle–that’s it in a nutshell. Oh, yeah the final boss battle…very disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, sure the fighting is not as fun nor exhilarating as it could be, but the fluid brainless combat still brings enjoyment for a younger gamer.
Braves’ shining stars are their platforming sections. Jumping through the environments is well supported by the in-game camera that almost always makes it clear of the distance between platforms. Heck if you manage to miss a platform and plummet to your death, you’ll re-start on the previous platform. Gamers looking for a real challenge will be disappointed, but I had a frustration free enjoyable weekend with it. You’ve got to remember that this is directed towards kids.
If you compare Brave’s graphics to the triple-A titles out there you’re going to think it looks a bit outdated. However, you’ll find beautiful landscapes to explore and amazing lighting. My favorite part of the whole game was being in a cave and swapping Merida’s elemental power and watching how it changed the lighting of the cave–it’s pretty sweet.
You can replay stages and discover previously unfound collectibles such as weapon upgrades, outfits, and concept sketches to unlock. Although I was left wanting a bit more with everything, I’m sure I’ll come back and try to find more on the next rainy day.
The Bottom Line:
Brave abandons the movies’ story line and replaces it with lots of action. If you’re a fan of the movie, it’s worth a try and if the fan of the movie is on the younger side, he/she’ll most likely love it.