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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake review – Two players, one controller

Brothers is over a decade old now, and the remake hopes to give something to both new and returning players

Many hands make light work, and finding your way through towns, caves, and treacherous cliff edges is much easier with your brother by your side. Your big brother can boost you up high and carry you on his back across treacherous waters, while your little brother fits in places you can’t and makes distractions to clear your path. Every obstacle makes you work in tandem.

The strength of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the way you control two characters with one controller. Your left side controls the big brother, and your right side - the little one. To begin with, it’s difficult to control two people at once, but once you get the hang of it, the pair flow in harmony. This unique control scheme informs every part of the game, from the story to the level design. Despite everyone speaking in a made-up language, this story comes through loud and clear.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons gameplay screenshot

Brothers is over a decade old at this point, but the remake hopes to give something to new players and those who have experienced it before. The story has been left completely untouched, which is a positive given how strong it is, and the unique control scheme has also been left intact. This allows new players the chance to experience Brothers as it was originally intended, with the usual graphical upgrades you expect from a remake.

There are some tweaks to the level design. Some puzzles have notable changes, but they don’t affect the overall flow. One of the more controversial changes is the addition of cutscenes, which take control away from you. They add more context, but it’s not always for the better. Checkpoints haven’t been altered to make up for the additional cutscenes, and when you need to retry, you can find yourself watching them over and over before you get into the action, with no way to skip them.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons gameplay screenshot

The other major change is that there is now a two-player co-op mode, though the control scheme is the same. One player controls big brother with the left side, and the other plays little brother with the right, and the other half of your controller is rendered useless. Before you begin a game in co-op, it warns you that this is not the intended experience, letting new players know how it should be played. This allows those who have played it before to share the experience with a partner, which is a unique way to make you want to replay it.

The story and controls of Brothers are as strong as they ever were, but that still leaves the lingering issue of modernization. Some parts have not aged well, and much-needed quality-of-life changes are still absent. The controls still don’t feel as responsive as they should, and you can often be tricked into thinking you’re going the wrong way when the brothers don’t react as you expect to certain objects. These aren’t game-breaking issues, but when you are remaking a game, you expect these finer points to be tuned to perfection.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons gameplay screenshot

The Brothers remake doesn’t have all of the changes we would hope for, but it is still a remake of an incredible game. It’s clear that deep thought has gone into each of the small interactions that fill the world, with the personality of each brother shining strongly. Without saying a word, Brothers tells you so much, and that beautiful story is still intact. People may want to pick this one up if only for the two-player mode and commentary from creator Josef Fares himself, but it’s hard to call it the definitive version.

Score: 8/10

  • Presentation: 8/10
  • Story: 10/10
  • Gameplay: 10/10
  • Quality of life: 6/10

Version tested: PS5

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake technical performance

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake runs flawlessly on PS5, and the issues I ran into with interactions, I believe, are more due to the precision needed than any bugs. There were no crashes during my playthroughs.