Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake Review

Together, again.
brothers: tale of two sons remake review

What makes a game truly worthy of a full-blown remake? We’re currently in an era where remasters, remakes and reimaginings are the norm, where games can receive massive free face-lifting updates, and where even acclaimed AAA hits are getting built again from the ground up within a decade f their original debut – yes, The Last of Us, we’re looking at you.

Funnily enough, the original Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons launched within weeks of Sony’s blockbuster survival horror masterpiece in 2013, and now it too has been remade. Featuring two inseparable protagonists tasked with finding a cure, there’s a surprising amount of overlap with The Last of Us and how players embark on a bleak and sometimes harrowing journey. There’s a fair amount of fungi too, albeit protruding from the back of a lumbering troll who, despite his gargantuan figure, turns out to be a friend.

Steeped in Swedish folklore, Brothers set itself apart thanks to a cleverly core gameplay mechanic. Throughout the game you’d control two siblings simultaneously, solving puzzles and interacting with your surroundings. It was delightfully simple and, with the game clocking in at just a few hours, A Tale of Two Sons didn’t outstay its welcome – in fact, we were left clambering for more.

Over the past decade we’ve seen the game leap between hardware generations and platforms, including mobile and Nintendo Switch, with publisher 505 Games having acquired the property from its original developers, Starbreeze Studios. Meanwhile, creator Josef Fares (a name you might recognise, especially if you enjoy watching The Game Awards) has gone on to helm unforgettable co-op experiences including prison break saga, A Way Out, and the brilliant It Takes Two.

With the game perfectly playable on the latest lineup of home consoles thanks to backward compatibility to the PS4 and Xbox One release, some might argue that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is unsolicited. However, for 505 Games, it’s an opportunity to celebrate one of its greatest hits, potentially laying the groundwork for more stories in this fraternal fantasy world.

brothers: tale of two sons remake review

So what’s new? The biggest change here is the visual overhaul with new developer Aventgarden Games recreating character models and environments, utilising Unreal Engine 5 to ramp up the fidelity and overall atmosphere. As a result Brothers looks slightly more realistic than the 2013 original though still retains that enchanting, otherworldly look which speaks to the enduring allure of its original art direction. You’ll find benches throughout the game that act as rest stops, conveniently placed at beauty spots that allow you to unplug for just a second and sink into these mystical backdrops.

Another major – albeit completely optional – feature is the addition of local co-op: instead of juggling both brothers on their quest, you can divide and conquer. Needless to say, this introduces a fresh dynamic to the gameplay where you’ll need to communicate with your partner rather than instinctively attempting to solve puzzles using the brothers’ symbiotic abilities. It works well though some players may find that it oversimplifies the game, each player using the left or right stick to move, and the left or right trigger to interact (depending on if you are the younger or older brother). Co-op doesn’t detract from the overall package, yet there’s something special about experiencing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons solo.

brothers: tale of two sons remake review

Despite being a game that can be completed in around three hours (potentially a single sitting) you’ll still come away feeling as though you’ve been on an adventure. One of its biggest strengths is that it refuses to linger in one spot for too long, catapulting the brothers from one scenario to the next, constantly changing scenery and the cast of characters around you. That kind of rapid pacing cuts both ways, however – it’s hard not to feel like the credits roll a bit too soon, that there were plenty of set pieces and puzzles left on the cutting room floor.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was hardly in need of a remake. However, replaying the game more than a decade after its debut, where every inch has been beautifully crafted anew, has been a delightful experience, and one we can finally share with a second player. We just wish there was more of it.
  • A simple folktale wreathed in mature themes and dark mythology
  • Clever co-operative puzzling solving
  • Has many enchanting sights to see
  • Looks and sounds magical
  • Still clocks in fairly short
  • Co-op can oversimplify gameplay
Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.