Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake review - Polishing a classic

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake review - Polishing a classic
Images via 505 Games

Written by 

Morgan Truder

Published 

27th Feb 2024 16:00

Nearly 11 years after its original release, Italian studio Avantgarden is delivering us a full-blown remake of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. This is the game that first put known Oscars hater Josef Fares on the map, before going on to release A Way Out and 2021’s Game of the Year: It Takes Two.

There were plenty of aspects that made Brothers stand out in 2013, but most notable would be the ingenious design philosophy of being a co-op game, played by yourself - on top of that, the game also has a story that will stick with you long after you roll credits.

It’s hard to tell if anyone was desperate for this remake - the first entry still holds up today. Yet, when looking at the updated visuals and a re-recorded score, it’s hard not to consider this the definitive edition of one of the best stories the medium has to offer.

The remake is a facelift, and doesn't act as a reimagining or anything akin to what we’ve seen with other series. Instead, this remake is as faithful as it gets, making it the only way you'll want to experience this epic tale going forward.

GGRecon Verdict

Every beat of this game still lands, and the developer was right not to fix what wasn't broken in the first place, developing and refining the definitive version of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

If you have never experienced the game before, you owe it to yourself to strap in for an evening for a beautiful story that will drag you through a motley collection of emotions.

Brothers: An Unexpected Journey 

Flying in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Click to enlarge

The main addition that was not included in the original version of Brother: A Tale of Two Sons is the new co-op mode. Instead of controlling the two brothers with opposite sticks and triggers on a single pad, you can now have someone else jump in and join you on this journey. The remake including this is not a surprise considering it was also included when the game was eventually released on the Nintendo Switch.

Despite the inclusion of co-op, there are no tweaks made to make the game more challenging or suitable for two players - there are plenty of moments throughout where a second player would not be up to much at all.

Regardless of that, it's a great way to introduce someone to games for the first time as the puzzles are quite simple. Luckily, joining in co–op is seamless and easy to try out for a small section, but considering how short Brothers is you could breeze through it.

It’s worth remembering, as the game regularly reminds you, that this is first and foremost a single-player experience. As such, that remains the optimal way to enjoy it.

A fresh new look

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons graphics comparison
Click to enlarge

Upgrading the visuals brings the game up to date with what we can expect from current consoles, although I found that there is something slightly off about how the brothers look. While you could hold criticism against how they looked in the original for a lack of emotion in their expressions, that is not the case with the remake. Instead, the brothers are caught in this in-between style of looking too real to be stylised but not realistic enough to be believable. It may just be an example of struggling to adapt to these uncanny faces because of how comfortable and familiar the original brothers have become, but I felt uneasy all the same.

Regardless of this, the environments, other characters you meet, and the world are nothing short of picturesque - the added detail shows its value during the latter stages and helps drive home how harrowing this tale is.

Complimenting the upgraded visuals is the orchestral theme that has been re-recorded. The music in Brothers was always sensational, and this added quality only boosts the whole package and enhances this harrowing tale. I love the unique approach to gameplay on offer here, and there’s a moment late on that justifies the choice so powerfully that it’s hard to not let your emotions consume you.

An epic tale 

Sinking in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Click to enlarge

These two young lads go on a journey - a journey that grows increasingly outlandish as time passes - but the impact they have on the characters they meet along the way is what evolves this story into a tale of epic proportions. The aforementioned score is the vehicle that helps drive it all home, and the decision to do so is a stroke of genius from the original developers.

It’s challenging to be critical of anything that has Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons on the front because the story is still of the highest quality. This is one of gaming’s great tragedies and a must-play for anyone. Yet, a remake needs to feel justified in its existence, and considering how well the original still holds up, this is hard to do if you've already experienced this story before.

If you're going in blind, though, this is certainly the optimal way to enjoy it thanks to the upgraded visuals, score, and improved expressions on the character's faces. The remake also improves a few quality-of-life issues, ensuring the controls are as tight as possible considering the control scheme that feels unnatural. to begin with.

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The verdict

Every beat of this game still lands, and the developer was right not to fix what wasn't broken in the first place, developing and refining the definitive version of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

If you have never experienced the game before, you owe it to yourself to strap in for an evening for a beautiful story that will drag you through a motley collection of emotions.

4.5/5

Reviewed on PlayStation 5. Review code provided by the publisher.

Morgan is one of the Guides Writers at GGRecon. He first started writing about games for fun whilst doing his BA (Hons) in History and Film. Since then he has turned this passion into a career and was previously an Editor at VideoGamer before joining GGRecon. Despite enjoying all sorts of games, he can often be found playing Football Manager, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Sekiro.