Brave is the first Xbox360 Games With Gold title for March and was shown in the store as a Kinect game but I haven’t yet found any reason to use my Kinect. I believe it has an isometric camera angle for most of the game but sometimes it has bits that seem more like a sidescroller’s camera angle. When playing it feels quite similar to a Lego game. I haven’t completed it yet but it looks like there’re eight levels plus a hub area.
When starting the game I found that there were four difficulties and since I saw a Disney-Pixar game about a princess a children’s game I put it on hard difficulty to try and get a bit of a challenge. There is a checkpoint save system and you can have as many tries as you like so no matter what difficulty you choose death will still have no consequence.
There’s some customisation in the game with a choice of costume for the character, more of which can be found and unlocked later in the game. There are skills and upgrades that you can buy from merchant stones as you go on with coins that you pick up when breaking things. Another collectable is tapestry pieces which boost your health and damage.
The plot revolves around stopping an evil bear from corrupting the world and turning another bear which the main character (Princess Merida) calls Mum. I haven’t seen the movie that this game is based on so I can’t comment on the accuracy of how it relates to it. The game does make an attempt at explaining things. The story is told with cut scenes which make the game feel very fragmented.
The combat in the game is very basic, hit X for melee or use twin stick shooter controls for ranged attacks. Other combat skills can be bought as upgrades from the aforementioned merchant stones such as a dodge roll or ground pound. You can also gain power with weapon upgrades found in the levels. The enemies all have elemental weaknesses which are identified by little symbols over their heads, you can give your weapons elemental bonuses to use the weaknesses to your advantage. There are some short combat sequences where you get to play as a bear with swipe, pound and charge as your attacks. There are a few different enemy types and bombs in the environment also pose a threat.
The movement in the game involves double jumping, ledge grabs, zip lines and jump pads as well as wall to wall jump climbing. There is no fall damage.
With the movement comes the opportunity to put puzzles in the game, these are fairly simple and often involve three young triplet bears going somewhere that the princess can’t and moving things. There’re also quick sequence puzzles that I’ve actively tried to fail but can’t.
The game has one big problem which is the camera. I have been attacked by enemies that the camera wouldn’t let me see and I have fallen when jumping because I couldn’t accurately judge distance. Other than that there wasn’t much wrong with the game itself.
I did almost label this game as bad because the target audience as I see it this is children who want to play as a sword wielding Disney princess, if it’s for children then it should be easy, even on the hardest difficulties but the first proper boss could do two hit kills and had so much health it felt like it was indestructible. If I was younger and struggled on a boss that felt so unfair I’d have turned the game off never to play it again. I didn’t call it bad because my guess at target audience may be wrong and Disney may have wanted it to be challenging enough for any player. Over all it was OK, not good but not my criteria of bad either. Although I think I have a new favourite Disney princess.
The art that I’m using as the featured image was found on the achievements section of the Xbox website. A dark background with the main character in the middle but she’s not the girly-girl princess that Cinderella is, no, she’s shown as a bow wielding fighter which is good for women and representation. Women being strong is a modern idea and this artwork is the sort of thing that will help the game (or movie) sell.