Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake transforms a beloved classic with local co-op

The remake stays true to the original by enhancing its best features while retaining what made the first game exceptional.

505 Games

Those who enjoyed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons when it launched back in 2013 will likely remember the game for its emotionally charged story and unique dual-character control scheme. Just over a decade later, publisher 505 Games has enlisted Avantgarden Games development studio to remake the beloved adventure with fresh visuals and improved gameplay to better suit modern audiences. We had a chance to go hands-on with a brief demo of the game, and it left us excited to revisit the touching tale and immersive fantasy world as the brothers once more.

Reviving a modern classic

An image of the brothers meeting a fungi-covered troll.

Source: 505 Games

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons follows two brothers as they venture out to far-away lands in search of a cure for their ill father. Their trek takes the siblings through troll-laden hillsides and other fantasy inspired locales, and the two must work together if they are to survive the journey. The demo features the first couple chapters of the remake, which play out mostly the same as they did in the original. It seems that rather than altering the narrative directed by industry veteran Josef Fares, Avantgarden has chosen to stick close to the source material for the remake, focusing instead on enhancing the visuals and adjusting various aspects of gameplay to improve the overall experience.

Revamped realism

An image of the brothers hugging in the remake.

Source: 505 Games

Although the bulk of the game will be familiar to those who played the original, there are some subtle differences that set the remake apart, mainly regarding visuals. The game is being remade from the ground up in Unreal Engine 5, with revamped lighting and animations to bring the world to life. Cutscenes have become more cinematic, and the environment now pops with vivid colors and detailed textures. Even the brothers have swapped out their clay-like hair and clothing for more realistic textures as a result of their UE5 makeover. The enhanced graphics help to make the already atmospheric fantasy setting that much more immersive. The soundtrack has been re-recorded with a live orchestra as well, making for a captivating musical backdrop for the remake.

It takes two

An image of the brothers opening a fence gate together.

Source: 505 Games

Aside from its heartfelt narrative, the original Brothers is known for its unique control scheme, which involves controlling both brothers at the same time with each brother assigned to a thumbstick. While this made for a somewhat challenging yet fresh single-player experience, it left many wanting a proper co-op mode. Luckily, the remake has been upgraded to include local co-op, allowing players to solve puzzles and trek through the fantastical world alongside a friend this time around.

Despite releasing for PC, the original game required a controller in order to play.  While a controller is still the recommended way to experience the game, the remake does away with this limitation by including keyboard controls that assign each brother to the WASD and arrow keys, respectively. 

With the upgrade to a new engine comes changes to various gameplay elements as well. While the core puzzles remain the same, animations have been redesigned for better fluidity in the remake. The controls are also more responsive, improving the interactions between the brothers and the environment. Although controlling each brother simultaneously still takes a bit of getting used to, the streamlined controls make it much easier to focus on the task at hand.

An image of the brothers working together to climb along a cliffside.

Source: 505 Games

Players who enjoy going off the beaten path to find Easter eggs will be pleased to know that the remake will have new secrets to discover alongside those of the original. There are also plenty of viewing benches strewn about for those who want to stop and take in the view. I particularly enjoyed stumbling upon hidden surprises in the first game and am looking forward to seeing what the remake has in store.

The remake of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons pays homage to the impactful narrative and tandem puzzle-solving of the original, while enhancing the overall experience with improved graphics, controls, and performance. The remake is poised to captivate players once again, offering new features for returning players and a promising adventure for newcomers to discover.

These impressions are based on an early preview build provided by the publisher. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake launches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on February 28, 2024.

Contributing Editor

Larryn is a freelance contributor who creates video game guides and reviews for Shacknews and has more than a decade of experience covering games across various outlets. When she's not gaming, Larryn can often be found watering houseplants, playing D&D, or teaching her cats new tricks.

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