Built with buggy gameplay and low quality graphical presentation, Brave: A Warrior’s Tale is a great example of a rushed and incomplete game.
Brave is a third person action adventure game based around stereotypical native American folklore, designed with Ocarina of Time gameplay elements and platforming reminiscent of God of War – except it only uses the worst parts of those critically acclaimed games. Remember controlling Link to burn through doors by lighting a torch? Or how about climbing the tedious and incredibly frustrating spinning blades of chaos from God of War? It is as if the developers blended the most failing aspects of these games, threw in a terrible camera system with N64 quality graphics and decided to call it a “Family Game Night” game.
Within the first five minutes of gameplay, I walked through a solid wall, causing the camera to freeze and my character to wander aimlessly in a black void. About thirty minutes in, the game completely locked up during a cutscene. Somewhere around the hour and a half to two hour mark, I jumped through the ground, causing the character model to bend, twist, and warp in every way possible. During the final hour or so, the camera got trapped behind an invisible wall forcing me to restart. I stumbled upon all these glitches through normal gameplay too; I wasn’t trying to break the game.
Besides lacking a testing phase during development, Brave looks like it was originally planned as a late N64 game. Calling the textures and 3D models PS2 quality would be insulting. As a 360 game (also on Wii), Brave: A Warrior’s Tale totally fails in the presentation and graphics departments. Only if this game was released as a final exam for a college game design/programming class would this game receive a passing grade. It is ugly and incomplete.
The camera is absolutely atrocious. Like a Nazi tyrant, the camera is going to do whatever it wants to do even if you try to control it with the second analog stick. Even when standing still, the camera defaults to this awkward looking-up angle, making even the simplest of platforming tasks extremely difficult. The last couple stages in the game are almost entirely platform based too, which makes the last few hours the most challenging and frustrating.
As if the terrible camera control wasn’t frustrating enough, the overall level design fails on almost every way. For example, towards the end of the game, the player must climb walls of ice using two pick axes. Climbing the wall involves pressing “B” to move to the right-handed ax, and “X” to move to the left, and when alternated, they move the character up. This would have been fine to simply climb to a new tier to complete the whole ice level theme, but dedicating an entire section of the game to this monotonous task is worthless, uneventful, and frustrating. Making matters worse, the player can instantly fall to the bottom when one turn away from the top, and without a check point, it almost requires the player to break at least one controller in frustration. The same can be said about the sky platforming level, the spinning spiked logs, the canoe stages, the rock climbing sections…the list goes on.
Even the narrative teases the player at the very end of the game during the final boss battle. Right when you knock out half the final boss’s energy, the game cuts away for no reason, forces the player to complete more mindless and tedious platforming collection quests, only to finish the boss fight 30 minutes later. What if you were forced to collect another 3 Stars, in a different level, right in the middle of fighting Bowser? What if you had to travel back to the tank hanger during the fight with Metal Gear Rex? Plain and simple: it just doesn’t make any sense.
Any person who has any type of gaming experience can easily tell that Brave is not a good game within the first three minutes of gameplay. There is, however, one major incentive that gave me motivation to play through the game until the end – a single Achievement worth 500 Gamerscore. This is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, single Achievement on Xbox 360. For all you Achievement whores out there, completing Brave is one way to quickly grow your gamerscore. Just complete the game to unlock it. This achievement also speaks to the incomplete game design as the developers apparently couldn’t fill up 400 points of stuff to do in their game and instead gave up on achievements and tossed all their allowed points into one single achievement. Either that, or they knew that their poorly designed game would test anyone’s patience to reach the end and wanted to justly reward the player for slogging through everything. Either way, a 500 point achievement is pretty ridiculous.
Thankfully, Brave is considered a budget title because it does not retail for the typical $60 price tag. But even at a reduced cost, this game is still not worthy of purchase. From the glitchy programming, the poor graphical quality, a camera that never listens to the player, and horrific level design, Brave: A Warrior’s Tale is an incomplete product. Whether it was a victim of underfunding or lack of prep time, this game needs to be kept on store shelves…unless you really feel the need to increase your gamerscore.
Not As Good As: Ocarina of Time
Better Than: Detention
Reminiscent of: the Tak series