Disney Pixar’s Brave movie might have spent a relatively short amount of time, for a Pixar movie, on top of the box office rankings but those other movies don’t have games to support them. Disney Interactive has done a great job lately of showing the industry how to put out quality licensed games. Brave, the game isn’t quite the masterpiece Toy Story 3 is but it is still a few hours of good family fun. Games like Brave are geared toward younger gamers but that doesn’t mean adults won’t find any enjoyment helping or taking over at times.
Without wanting to spoil the game or movie plot too much, Brave basically follows the movie’s second half and recaps the events that lead up to current situation with animated drawings voiced over by Kelly MacDonald herself. She does also voice the main character, Merida throughout the game and thankfully, she recorded quite a bit. Though chatty throughout the game Merida’s explanations and observations are varied enough that she never gets annoying. Just remember that your kids are playing an age appropriate game and not watching the HBO series Empire.
Brave is an isometric top-down adventure platformer that borrows plenty from classic adventure games like The Legend of Zelda. That tie is made stronger with the forest settings and Celtic music throughout the game. The settings are fairly varied but the graphics on a whole are a mixed bag with some technical issues that hold it back further. The frame rate at times stutters and even little things like a coin fountain hesitates and pauses but, things like the lighting are well executed. Nowhere near the detail of the Pixar source material, Brave does manage to capture and convey the essence of the original styling.
Brave starts players off with an in game tutorial starting with walking and jumping which are done by moving the left analog stick and by pressing the X button respectively. Merida can also perform a double jump by hitting the X button twice. By the end of the first level, she finds a sword, which can be swung with the square button and a bow that can be fired at 360 degrees with the right analog stick. Once these weapons are obtained, many items in the levels can be destroyed for coins. These coins in turn, unlock special abilities and combos for Merida though, having dodge as an ability available for purchase is a bit puzzling.
Each level of Brave contains a number of collectibles like upgraded swords and bows although; only bow’s upgrades are reflected on screen. Those first few levels will also dole out Merida’s elemental powers that will get her through levels and have an easier time with different enemies. Each enemy wears an icon over their head displaying the element they are weakest against. If it ever gets too difficult, a friend or family member can jump in as a blue wisp to help with the fighting. The levels do also feature arena-type bear fights and cute puzzle sequences to break up the hack and slash action.
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