E3 2012: Brave hands-on
Movie-based video games aren’t always that great, especially when they’re based on an animated film. Disney Interactive Studios has been breaking that trend, especially when it comes to Disney-PIXAR movies. Both Cars 2 and Toy Story 3 were really good games. Now, they’re trying to continue their success with their upcoming release of Brave, based on the Disney-PIXAR film. I got some hands-on time with Brave at E3 this past week.
Brave is going to be released on all major platforms, but when I tried it out it was on Xbox 360. Brave is a third-person action game that puts you in the role of Merida. It’s your standard fare of melee and ranged attacks, with melee assigned to the face buttons and ranged attacks handled by the right analog stick—giving it a twin-stick shooter feel. With all off your attacks, you can scroll through four different elements to use with your attacks, such as fire, wind, and earth. These elements will help you against certain enemies. For instance, an enemy that is made of ice will be susceptible to fire.
The other element of the game, besides action, is puzzles. As Merida or the little, cute bear cubs, you solve puzzle segments based on logic or the elements you can equip. The ones I encountered were easy, but seeing as this game is geared toward a younger audience, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As you progress through the game, you will be able to unlock new attack combinations, swords, bows, and outfits. You will also be able to upgrade the effectiveness or your abilities and elements. However, I didn’t see a difference in the weapons besides the obvious visual difference.
Co-op is available with a friend. The first player will play as Merida and the friend as a Will O’ the Wisp. It’s pretty much a wisp—a mystical blue cloud that can do attacks and cycle through elements just like the first player. The unfortunate part is that the camera only follows the first player, so sometimes your friends won’t be able to see where they are.
While the platforming is solid, the game doesn’t quite have the visual flair that Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 had. By no means is it bad, but it doesn’t live up to movie trailer or other Disney Interactive Studios games. As vibrant as Merida’s hair is in every piece of advertisement you see with the movie, the video game just doesn’t have that same vibrance.
Brave the Video Game also comes with Kinect of PlayStation Move functionality with an archery mini-game.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly third-person action game, Brave is more than capable of filling need. It has fun platforming segments, puzzles, action, multiplayer, and the charm of the movie. Brave is scheduled to release on June 19, 2012 on all major platforms.
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ