I needed something to help me come down from my GTA V high. Open worlds are great, but they can get exhausting. So I was looking forward to Quantic Dream’s highly anticipated follow up to 2010’s Heavy Rain. Just like its predecessor, Beyond Two Souls is something you’ll either love or hate.
The Story – Born with a connection to a mysterious entity with incredible powers, Jodie was different. In an adventure spanning 15 years of her life, your actions will determine Jodie’s fate as she faces extraordinary challenges, danger, and heartwrenching loss on a journey to discover the truth of who she is.
Title: Beyond Two Souls
Developer: Quantic Dream
Release Date: 10/8/13
- Who Needs a PS4? – This is easily one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen. It has a few rough areas (daytime scenes), but graphically it still outshines every PS3 game on the market. I’ll take it a step further – Beyond Two Souls looks better than some PS4 games. The lighting is spectacular, and the animations are almost too realistic.
- Acting – Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe’s performances are praise worthy, but the supporting cast deserves just as much praise as the game’s two stars.
- Controlling Aiden – Aiden’s controls are far from perfect, but the game wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable if you just controlled Jodie. Aiden is basically an unstoppable force, and I made use of all his abilities. There was nothing more satisfying than scaring, possessing, and playing tricks on the game’s NPCs.
- Spooky – This doesn’t belong to the horror genre, but it does have a few “jump out of your seat” moments. Jodie is rarely in any real danger, but these moments were still high on tension. It’s like a haunted house — you know the “monsters” can’t hurt you, but that doesn’t make it any less scary because you don’t know where they’ll come from next.
- QTEs Done Right – The quick time events felt natural for the most part. This is a good thing because they make up at least 60% of the game. Jodie can attack and dodge with the right analogue stick, and none of the QTES require lightning fast reflexes or extreme button mashing.
- The Many Faces of Jodie – Jodie goes through many phases during the course of this 10 hour journey. We watch her grow from a scared little girl into a confident young woman, but like a normal person it takes her a while to truly find herself. I enjoyed all of her phases except for the teenage one. It was super awkward, but I’m sure this was intentional because teenagers are insufferable creatures.
- One Day Robots Will Cry – I’ll be honest — I almost cried a few times. At one point it feels like Jodie will never win, it’s just one disappointment after another. It’s almost as depressing as The Last of Us, and that’s no easy task.
- An Experience – Game? That word has a very narrow definition. Games have winners, losers, and they’re supposed to be challenging. Beyond Two Souls has none of these things. Here it’s not about winning or losing, and it almost plays itself. This sounds terrible on paper, but it’s not. It’s just not a traditional game — it’s more of an interactive experience.
- Mundane Tasks – Like Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls has it’s share of mundane tasks. Who knew cleaning up your apartment could be this boring? Oh wait — everyone because we have to do it in real life!
- Look, But Don’t Touch – Once again, the graphics are gorgeous, but it’s unfair to compare them to the ones found in The Last of Us. That’s like comparing Uncharted 3 to GTA V. Of course the former looks better — it’s super linear compared to the latter. Beyond Two Souls is a visual feast, but Jodie is kept on a short leash and there’s zero room for experimentation or exploration. Still, this is the game to buy if you want to trick people into thinking you got a PS4 early.
- Losing the Plot – The story starts off strong, but it gets slightly lost in the middle… of the desert, and never finds its way back home. It never turns completely sour, but I found myself laughing hysterically at some of the more inane plot twists. The strong performances kept me coming back for more, though.
- Option A or B – I feel like none of my choices really mattered. Sure, they could lead to an extra scene or two (a choice made in an early chapter can slightly alter Jodie’s interaction with a love interest in a later one), but they didn’t matter in the end because you get to choose an ending. It comes down to option A or B, and then you get to choose from four secondary options. This felt like a copout — it was too black and white. I prefer when a game just gives you an ending based on the decisions you made instead of letting you pick one. Now you can get a “bad” ending, but you have to go out of your way to let Jodie die, and you can only do this during the last chapter. But most people will get to pick an ending.
Beyond Two Souls isn’t for everyone. The average gamer will
probably hate it because it isn’t a traditional game. But you’ll love it if you accept it for what it is — an interactive experience with a strong emphasis on story. Beyond Two Souls has a few issues, but I loved it because it’s a great GTA V palate cleanser. It’s streamlined, gorgeous, melancholic, intimate, an emotional thrill ride, and unlike anything on the market. Actually, it’s the perfect palate cleanser for a generation filled with first person shooters, an endless barrage of sequels, and petty fanboy wars.
Superb – Better than great–this game’s quality deserves praise. We highly recommend purchasing it.