Two Brothers OST: We Don’t Get The Full Picture

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It’s hard to look at role-playing game soundtracks without having played the game; they’re so tied to specific scenes that sometimes they don’t stand well on their own. I think the  Two Brothers soundtrack may be relegated to this category, but some of the 80-some-odd songs stand out. Many feel generic (but enjoyable), some are very evocative, and some are engaging. But one song in particular struck me as awesome.

The song “Bivare Crosses Over” is fascinating. From what I know of the game, this is when a character actually dies; not a game-over kind of death, but one that leads to another level and another game mechanic. The song itself screams ‘afterlife.’ First, you get the angelic choir with all the European Christian feels you’d expect. It’s low key, of course, because the guy isn’t being raised to Heaven, but merely brought to an afterlife. After that, you also get some moments (at about :25) with a very Middle-Eastern sounding instrument with a similarly Middle-Eastern sounding scale (I’m woefully ignorant of instruments and scales not included in high school choir).

Without talking about religion too much, I think it’s awesome using two types of music from two different cultures that are often associated with two drastically different religions are both used to help represent this character’s afterlife. Having not played the game, I have no idea what purpose this juxtaposition serves. Does it represent some sort of conflict for the character, or it is just trying to incorporate multiple religions? Perhaps it’s just because the instruments sounded cool? Just listening to the soundtrack will give me no answers, so I look forward to playing the game to find out.

While not as striking, the rest of the soundtrack is good; it takes synthy chiptunes to really convey impressions. You can feel the warm hearth and hear people happily chatting away in “The Local Inn,” and “Adventure Road” shows you an enthusiastic and upbeat path you can’t help but see see the eager young protagonist marching down. “Roy’s Theme” talks of dedication, curiosity, and an almost compulsive drive for answers that will surely lead him into danger. Each piece gives you a small glimpse into the game, but they don’t make sense on their own.

While they’re nice moments, they’re completely disjointed; you need the game to be able to make sense of the full soundtrack. Even so, just getting these individual pieces makes me more curious to play the game and see how all these pieces fit together. Without the game alongside, the Two Brothers soundtrack is best heard as a series of vignettes; if you can just sit and listen, each song shows you a piece of the game. Hopefully that means when I actually get around to playing the game, all the pieces will fall together into a really cool experience.