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Braid, Anniversary Edition

Braid, Anniversary Edition

Written by Elliot Hilderbrand on 5/24/2024 for PS5  
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I have no idea where I was or what compelled me to watch Indie Game: The Movie, but I did, years ago. I must have been in college. I think some publisher, perhaps Microsoft, decided to stream the film, so watched. The movie follows three different - but equally important - video games: Fez, Super Meat Boy, and Braid. I had never played any of these titles, and had heard of only Super Meat Boy at the time of viewing. Fez and Braid became games that I knew a lot about without ever playing. Braid became a bucket list game for me. One of those “greats” that I will work my way towards at some point in my life. I have a pile of games like that, ones that I say I’ll get to one day. In truth, I might tackle four or five of those games before I die. Thankfully, Braid is now one of those games. I still haven’t tried Fez; maybe one day there will be an anniversary edition released that I can take a look at. As for Braid, well, that time is now.

While there are new additions made in this anniversary version of Braid, I think most of the heart and soul have remained the same, for the better. You play as Tim. Tim is searching for a princess. Sound familiar? It’s not the only Mario reference made, or the last homage to be paid by its predecessors. Much of the story Braid is telling is left unsaid. Reading between the lines, or coming up with your own conclusion is still the rule here. You’ve done something, probably something bad, and you’re looking to get the princess back and apologize. Tim also has the power to time travel. Death is never something to deal with in Braid, rather, it is something to learn from. There is also a commentary you can follow as you play. I tried it out, it felt a lot like a DVD commentary that use to come on DVDs. Great if you want to be the person who has experienced all there is to in the word of Braid, but very skippable if you don’t have the interest. A cool idea I would love to see brought out to other titles.

Creator Jonathan Blow may have created an excellent game, but he is not without a few skeletons in the closet. Without getting too much into him, he’s said some things about Covid I disagree with, same with him pushing crypto currency onto people. I did not struggle to separate the art from the artist. I can play Braid, and The Witness, Blow’s other very popular title, without having to listen or learn about his ideals. I’m fine with him having an opinion that is not mine, but I do not feel compelled to listen to a commentary about Braid, regardless of what it could add to my enjoyment. That’s just me. I can see both sides, and find the one you land on to be acceptable. I’ll just say, I think you should try to be as informed about a situation as you can. It is hard to argue with Blow’s results. Braid, and his other title, The Witness, are considered masterpieces and rightfully so. Still, this should be addressed, and it is important to inform yourself in order to come to your own conclusions.

Most of Braid is played out in short platform levels where you walk around attempting to collect puzzle pieces in each zone. Once you’ve gathered them all up they create a picture, pushing you into the next zone. Rinse, repeat. I feel like the platforming here is top-notch, something other games should strive for. I was surprised how many times I found myself reversing time to fix a simple mistake I had made minutes ago. Braid Anniversary Edition includes newly added levels. The addition of levels, commentary, and re-drawn art all looks above and beyond what I expect. I went in with low expectations. There are a lot of remastered titles coming out that have grievous errors, shut downs, or are flat-out not running the way they are intended to. Not the case here, thankfully. Hard to get mad at a game for working as intended.

Go ahead and take a look at Braid on Metacritic. It’s crazy how well-received the Braid was, and still is. Look at this anniversary edition, a lot of the same positive thoughts. This updated version comes with even more. The ability to switch between this anniversary look, and the old-school retro feel of the original. There are also additional levels, so if you have had the itch for more Braid, you are in luck.

I talk about it a lot, but music is something that holds importance to me, when it is done right. When correct music can elevate the mood, atmosphere, and enjoyment of a game Braid’s soundtrack is no different. Subtle, not over bearing in any way, and frankly, chill. This is the music I need when I sit down to write. Something that doesn’t distract from what I am trying to do, but still adds to what I am trying to accomplish. That is Braid.

The hand-drawn art is also fantastic—truly beautiful. Knowing about it was something worth noticing when you entered a new world. It’s hard not to be impressed. For this version each pixel was re-drawn to create the best look possible. Next time you find yourself playing take a look at those backgrounds, the pastel water-colored background is worth taking in.

Braid is worth playing, without question. Having gone through it myself I feel like I can say I regret not getting to this sooner. But, the last question I want to raise is, is an anniversary edition of Braid needed? Are more levels, a commentary, and re-drawn art worth the price on entry? Yes. I have loved my entire time with Braid Anniversary Edition, and in a decade, I’ll play this again, with fresh enough eyes to have a great experience.

What makes a must-play game? Is it adding more levels to an already stacked list of platform worlds from which to collect items? Is adding a commentary you can turn on and off at will worth it? How about re-drawn art? All of those things are here, any one of which could be argument enough for the need of a Braid Anniversary Edition. It just happens that Braid Anniversary Edition is a near-perfect way to try out Braid, if you haven’t before. As someone who hasn’t played before this edition, I think this is a great way to introduce yourself to Braid. Everything looks, sounds, and plays great.

Rating: 9.5 Exquisite

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I'm pulled towards anything that isn't driving or sports related; having said that, I love a good kart racer. I Can't get enough RPGs, and indies are always worth a look to me. The only other subject I pay any attention to is the NFL (go Colts!).

While writing about games is my favorite hobby, talking is a close second. That's why I podcast with my wife Tessa (it's called Tessa and Elliot Argue).

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