Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake

Tight story telling meets coordinated gameplay - what's not to like?

Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons Remake

Another lauded game gets the rework treatment, and for me at least, this is one that been on the radar for oooh… about 10 years.  I never got around to playing the original and in the decade that’s passed since its release there’s always been something that got in the way and prevented me from picking it up – but most likely that it came out on PS3/Xbox 360 and I switched to PS4 shortly afterwards leaving that generation behind.  I’m fairly confident I’m not the only one, and for a title that’s been held up as a masterclass in tight story telling it seems fitting that on its 10th birthday there’s a shiny new version to look at.  The Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake isn’t just a port to modern hardware either, it’s a full rework from Unreal Engine 3 to UE5 with an overhaul of the visuals, controls and cutscenes.  Does that modern feel make it more or less accessible though?  And will it leave as lasting impression as the original 2013 game did on players back then?

Story-wise, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is the same (so I’m told), and centres on the titular siblings setting off on a quest to find a cure for their ill father.  Having lost their mother to the sea a while earlier, their family unit can’t take any more depleting, and they don’t want to be orphans.  Heading out from their peaceful village on the coast, they venture inland searching for what looks like the tree of life – a journey that will take them across treacherous terrain, cause them to encounter strange and mysterious creatures, trek through the remnants of immense battles, and reveal to them the darker side of their land.  It’s a poignant tale that is as fun as it is serious, and there are multiple moments that surprise and delight, as well as few that tug on the heartstrings.  With no recognisable language and very little in the way of on-screen prompting, it’s also a game that does all the heavy lifting through the characters actions and the world’s visual design, and the continued forward momentum it has is a testament to how well it’s put together.

Standout is the control scheme, and for those that don’t remember the joys of Kuri-Kuri Mix on the PlayStation 2 it’ll be a baptism of fire for the first couple of minutes.  Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is exactly that… taking the two brothers on their quest from beginning to end, and that means controlling both at the same time.  The left analogue stick and trigger button control the older brother, the right equivalents control the younger, and you need to make them work in tandem across the platforming and physics puzzle sections.  Fortunately things are kept relatively simple so that you don’t need to be double jointed to pull off the actions, though you need an element of co-ordination to keep them moving in the same direction at all times, especially with the dynamic camera.  Don’t worry about falling off ledges or getting blocked by scenery, those things are taken care of automatically, and if one sibling strays too far they’ll stop and call the other one along.  It’s a straightforward touch that keeps things in sync, and useful if you’ve decided to take the co-op option and have a partner zipping off into the distance.

There’s definitely more platforming involved than anything else and it doesn’t take long to become adept at the climbing mechanics.  A press of the shoulder button grabs, a quick release and re-press jumps and latches on again.  It’s relatively quick in getting used to having both brothers acting in unison.  What turns out to be quite impressive are the underpinning physics and how they come into play in the puzzle sections or boss fights.  There’s never anything that will stump you – anyone who’s played games at some point in the last 30 years will probably pick up on what to do simply by entering a room – yet each scenario is quite different and gradually builds through the 2 hour runtime so that by the time you’ve reached the climax you’ll instinctively know the duo’s capabilities.  This isn’t to say Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is easy throughout.  Whilst there isn’t really a difficulty challenge, some of the dual controls prove to be quite tricky, and there’s a particular encounter towards the end that resulted in a number of game overs due to the swinging camera and fiddly little brother actions.  Even then it’s not like it takes too much effort to retry with good checkpointing.

Where the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake shines though is in the graphical overhaul and the use of Unreal Engine 5’s Lumen and Nanite support.  There are multiple graphics modes to pick from depending on your preference, and all look fantastic.  Going full fat quality will drop the resolution at the same time as delivering a visual feast of light, shadow and particle effects.  The atmospherics and ethereal aspects of the game are enhanced no end by the reworking of the assets and employing the latest engine.  Of course, effort has been put into updating the character models, and looking over the original versions there’s a distinct improvement that brings more life and soul to the performances.  You’re here to be taken in by their story and this update delivers in spades on making them feel more believable.  The sound has been re-recorded too so that it fits the rest of the tune up, and the score delivers in every scene it’s needed.  On top of that (at least in the PS5 version) the surround mix is wonderful, adding a tonne of environmental effects going off around the room to add to the immersion.  Birds singing, children playing, boards creaking and wind gusting… it all adds to the realisation of the mystical world being explored.

Is there anything that doesn’t work?  Well, that’s a tough one because the game is over before you know it, so that’s probably the main issue.  Just as you think you’ve mastered the controls and bought into the journey, it’s done.  Clearly there’s no outstaying a welcome and there’s enough to be said about not creating busy work and unnecessarily massive worlds, though the trophy/achievements are linked with taking part in side activities just off the main path, so there’s a decent enough reason for a replay.  That’s about it though… start it up, experience the adventure for a couple of hours, ruminate on the conclusion, switch it off.  The interesting thing with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is that it’s bound to stay lodged in your conscious for some time to come.  With a superb flow, memorable set pieces and genuinely shocking moments it’s highly unlikely to be forgotten.  No wonder the plaudits were in for the original, and if like me you missed out on that, don’t hesitate to be late to the party with this.  It’s simply sublime.

A PS5 review copy of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake was provided by Avantgarden’s PR team, and the game is available now on PC, Xbox & PlayStation for around £16.

The Verdict


The Good: Easy to pick up and understand | Gorgeous throughout | Gut-wrenching moments

The Bad: Over as you just get into your stride

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Co-founder & Editor at Codec Moments

Gamer, F1 fanatic, one half of the Muddyfunkrs DJ duo (find us over on Hive Radio UK), MGS obsessed, tech geek.

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