Beyond: Two Souls Review – A Masterpiece
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: [Reviewed: PlayStation 3]
Genre: Interactive Drama Action-Adventure
Rated: M for Mature
Welcome to the deep and dark story of Jodie Holmes, a woman that’s been protected and somewhat tormented by an entity that possesses her very wellbeing. This is a very intense story that only a developer that goes by the name Quantic Dream can deliver and perfectly execute.
Beyond: Two Souls is a title that not only goes in-depth with each individual character, but pulls in academy award winners to play the main characters. Jodie, played by Ellen Page, ventures though her memories of a child, years in the service and times with her doctor and friend, Nathan Dawkins, played by William Dafoe. A 27 million dollar investment well invested!
Invading the very existence of Jodie is Aiden. Aiden can manipulate objects, possess other bodies and most importantly help aide Jodie when in need. Aiden role is throughout the game a very exciting and intense player. To make his character even more genuine, Aiden’s role can be played with a 2nd controller or by downloading the “Beyond Touch” app.
It’s the minor here’s and there’s about Beyond that draws you in, regardless of which way the story is taking you. In one part of Jodie’s teenage years, I stopped for a second to notice a real life football game taking place on the television. Maybe it was a “guy” thing that made me notice that, but it’s just one of the many small things that stood out, making you feel like the experience is more than “just a game.”
Gameplay is very similar to Heavy Rain, more than I initially thought, but you don’t get that complex interaction. In fact the most awkward concept of Beyond: Two Souls is not dying. Instead, the show must go on.
Controls for Beyond: Two Souls as simplistic as they are, would be my one true complaint as well. You feel limited while playing as Jodie as all the controls for her character are performed by using only the left and right thumbstick. At the same time, some of the cinematic camera angles are a bit confusing as well, affecting the use of the right thumbstick.
Aiden however feels that much better to numb the thought process of Jodie’s inconsistent control scheme. Motions and manipulating is evenly as easy to master, but more interactions with Aiden are quite intriguing.
When using the Beyond Touch app, you can drag your finger across the screen to move Jodie, hold the camera to look around and tap the white circle to interact with the mini-cut scenes that partake. The QTE portions of gameplay, such as fighting or interacting involves you holding down fingers on the screen or following the direction of action sequences by sliding in the same direction. As Aiden, tap and swipe to blast or hold the center of the screen to possess/levitate.
Ellen Page and William Dafoe characters are a masterpiece and the pinnacle of Beyond’s driven story. Ellen receives more recognition however as her character moves in a non-linear direction, making her voiceover from a child up to her current years as an on the run CIA agent. It’s all very fluid and from a gamer’s perspective well invested decision to string in action.
Beyond is a beautiful game to look at. Character models have always been one of Quantic Dream strong points, and it didn’t stop here. Using the likeness of Dafoe and Paige was monumental. It’s captivating to see both personas used through different eras in time.
This is another one of those games that shows its next-gen readiness way before systems launch. Quantic Dream’s games will look absolutely phenomenal with next-gen graphics as their quality speaks for themselves. And while Beyond has a few quirky changes in controls, the story is superior and very well worth partaking in the experience.