Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake Review

Big brother is watching you

By Paul Hunter

The award-winning narrative adventure Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons returns on modern consoles with a faithful remake built on the Unreal Engine 5. The remake celebrates the 10th anniversary of the indie masterpiece originally directed by Josef Fares. Let's take a look at what this modern-day enhanced version has to offer.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake follows the same epic journey told in the original with a few new secrets hidden along the way. The story begins with younger brother Naiee mourning the loss of his mother at her grave before his older brother Naia calls him over to aid his ill father. To save their father, the boys must embark on a harrowing journey across the land to find the Tree of Life while overcoming obstacles like wolves, trolls and giant humans.

You can play the game solo where both boys are controlled independently at the same time, with the left analog stick for the older boy and the right stick for the younger. Similarly, pressing L2 will make the older boy interact with the world elements, while R2 does the same for the younger boy. It took a little while to get used to moving two characters at once, but I was surprised at how quickly I eased into the various mechanics. As a pair, you'll need the boys to work together for activities like carrying a wheelbarrow, using a two-person saw to cut down trees, or swinging between latch points with a rope tied around each boy's waist. New in this version is a local co-op option with each player controlling one boy, and it's really the ideal way to play. Not only is it easier only having one boy to control, but being able to share this wonderful story with a buddy makes the adventure so much better.

The narrative is superb, even with the boys speaking an unknown language loosely based on Arabic. While you may not know what the pair are specifically saying, it's easy to guess based on the situation and how expressive they are with their hand gestures and facial expressions. To reach the fabled Tree of the Life, the boys must venture through many hostile lands including an underground orc prison, a farm protected by an aggressive dog, a medieval ice town stalked by an invisible troll, and a claustrophobic spider den with lurking dangers. For a game lasting around three hours, there's a great variety of locations and scenery that keeps the adventure feeling fresh.

In most locations you visit there are enemies to contend with, which range from a rather harmless local town bully to more deadly adversaries like a club-wielding orge or a giant poisonous spider. Bosses require you to think strategically as you not only need to keep both boys safe at all times but also find ways to outsmart your foes, like using one boy as bait while the other boy sets a trap. Visually the bosses look quite nice and certainly a large improvement when compared to the 2013 original.

Over the adventure, you'll need to leverage each boy's individual strengths, with the older boy being the stronger one and the younger boy the more agile. As Naia (the older boy), you can boost Naiee up and over walls, pull levers that require a lot of force and let Naiee grab your shoulders during swimming segments. Then Naiee, being younger and smaller, allows him to squeeze through barred doors, drop ropes from higher up for his brother to climb, or use his agility to hop on windmill blades to reach new areas.

I really like how all of the trophies are unlocked not by completing chapters, but by uncovering the game's secrets. This is definitely an adventure game where you want to explore every nook and cranny as many of the secrets that pop trophies include mini-cutscenes that add to the game's lore or are simply heartwarming moments you don't want to miss. I also love the contrast of how the boys are mild pranksters, yet at the same time willingly help two trolls reunite, save a suicidal man, and assist a wacky inventor. Despite their joking boyish personas, underneath the two are thoughtful, courageous and caring.

Visually, everything in the Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake looks fantastic. Developer Avantgarden Games has done an excellent job remaking this game on the Unreal Engine 5. Whether it's the lush waterfalls or the highly-detailed crumbling castle or the dark wolf eyes staring at you from the forest, graphically this remake is a stunner. The soundtrack has also been re-recorded with a live orchestra to elevate the game's many emotional moments to new heights. This is easily the definitive version of this indie classic, which now looks and sounds like a modern current-gen title.

The Verdict

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake takes you on an unforgettable journey that simply should not be missed. The enhancements, including the new local co-op option, the revamped graphics and the re-recorded orchestral soundtrack make this already exceptional indie masterpiece even better.

Final Score: 8/10 - Great

Brothers A Tale of Two Sons Remake details

Platform: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: Avantgarden Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Adventure
Modes: Single-player, Co-operative
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

A key was provided by the publisher.