The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is a title that caught me unaware. Subsequently, it was akin to that moment when you binge-watch a random TV series. As such, I was hooked on its gruesome ways, melancholy narrative, and its array of interesting characters. Its strange approach got under my skin and I couldn’t put it down.
Developed by Sever and published by 101XP, this is a narrative-driven RPG set in a grim, dark world. The story is full of life-changing choices, colourful moments, and heart-wrenching decisions. You’ll decide who lives and dies, how your life unfolds, and if you uphold your family honour. Subsequently, there are plenty of what-ifs, lots of double guessing, and many bad decisions.
The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is tough to stomach.
The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante blends an RPG stat system with the mechanics of a visual novel. As such, you experience a game that is similar to an Ian Livingstone novel. Consequently, every choice you make must be well-considered, as it has an impact. Your decisions will affect your character, the surrounding people, and the ebb and flow of the story. It makes the gameplay incredibly deep and leaves you considering your choices.
The game opens in the twilight of Sir Brante’s life. It explains that his existence has been a roller-coaster of decisions. From this point, the action rolls back to chapter one, where his life began. From here, you will experience poignant moments of his life and make each heart-wrenching choice. It sounds easy, but it never is! You’ll decide between friendship, love, family, and work. You must consider what is important to you, as certain life events depend on the decisions you make.
Every choice has an indelible mark.
Each stage of the game impacts the following chapter. Consequently, it affects the relationships you form and the path you focus on. You are a lowborn, a person of no status and, as such, your lot in life is misery and servitude. However, your father is a noble of the sword, a man who earned his title through dedication and hard work as a judge. This path is open to you if you wish, or you can join the clergy, become a soldier, or have many other options. Whatever you pick has its merits, but it also limits your interactions with your friends and family. Therefore, choose wisely as you will not be able to change your mind.
The action relies heavily on text, dramatic audio, and a melancholy atmosphere. As such, you will spend your time devouring words, considering your approach, and forging your path in life. Sadly, positivity is limited and you’ll wonder why the world is so depressing. Furthermore, many of the ideas are formed from dated stereotypes and this can be uncomfortable to experience. Moreover, there are religious undertones and a distinct divide in class. At the top of the tree are the Arkanians, then the nobles, and finally the lowborn. You must know your place and remember your lot. If you step out of line, you will be punished! Your family name will be damaged, your wealth diminished, and death is a real possibility.
Stats and true death!
Though the story plays out like a visual novel, the progress is dependent on an RPG stat system. Every stage of your existence has specific attributes that have a bearing on later life. You’ll build relationships and forge a personality that pushes you towards a certain career. Your decisions will add or detract from your will, power, career, wealth, reputation, and more. Subsequently, this will form your character and make you the man you are in later life. It was thoroughly interesting to alter your career, friendships, and standing with others. You can be a righteous man, a person of limited means, or fulfil your potential to become nobility. No path is right or wrong, and every option is filled with intrigue and interesting outcomes.
Finally, The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante has a sombre outlook on death. Each person that resides in the Arkanian empire must abide by the law and understand their place. However, if they don’t, they may experience one of their 3 lesser deaths. These scarring events remind people of their worth, while giving them the chance to redeem themselves. Yet death can be permanent! If someone receives 4 lesser deaths, they cannot be reborn. More damming, though, is the punishment for heinous acts. If someone is guilty of a serious crime, or they are struck down by an Arkanian, they cease to exist. This is known as a true death and too many wrong choices will prematurely end Sir Brante’s life.
The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is sombre and melancholy.
When a game relies heavily on text and little else, it has a risk of becoming stale. Luckily, however, The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante uses pictures and a brilliant plot to add drama. The wonderful sepia tones, excellent portraits, and delightfully dull colour palette add to the sombre atmosphere. Furthermore, I adored the animation of the pages moving, the simplicity of the imagery, and the striking scenes.
The devilishly dark story is enhanced by a wonderfully folksy soundtrack. The dramatic and wholesome music adds to the damming atmosphere. Moreover, its mixture of slow and upbeat songs beautifully represents the changes in tone and the occasional happy moments. To add to this, the realistic sound effects make the basic animation pop. Consequently, each simple scene is full of energy and this was great to see and hear.
A great UI.
Unlike traditional visual novels, The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is more complex. However, this doesn’t make it hard to play or difficult to master. No, thanks to its great tutorial and excellent UI, you can handle every element with ease. You’ll witness your standing in the community, your position at work, friendships, character traits, and more. It was brilliantly hidden behind submenus and this doesn’t detract from the story. Furthermore, the responsive and well-laid out controls allow you to focus on the action and nothing else.
Thanks to the many life choices, there are multiple paths you can take. Therefore, players can expect an array of endings and many unique experiences. Consequently, this adds to the replay value and longevity. Each playthrough lasts around 9 hours of sombre and heartbreaking endeavours. Yet, this didn’t put me off and I couldn’t wait to see what another path would bring. Its deceptively simple gameplay makes it moreish and addictive.
The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante is brilliant.
This was never on my radar, but I’m glad I played The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante! Yes, it depressed the hell out of me, but it was oddly enjoyable. I loved watching relationships blossom and how my choices impacted every aspect of the surrounding world. It was brilliant and I recommend you to buy it here! Will you be righteous, evil, or “ordinary”? The choice is yours and yours alone. Make your decision and live with the consequences.