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Review - Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) (Read 1197 times)
Nightcrawler
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Review - Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)
Oct 13th, 2015 at 11:48am
 
Beyond: Two Souls

I like sci-fi thrillers, ghosts, Heavy Rain, and Ellen Page, and this game combines them all! I was psyched to play this game! It did not disappoint me. I enjoyed it. I found myself wanting to play it while I was away to find out more of the mystery, and see what was going to happen to Jodie next in her very difficult life. In fact, I found myself still wanting more when it was over. I hope they make a sequel, or a TV series, or a movie out of this concept! They had best make Ellen Page the star too! I know many people don't like this type of game, but I do. I hope they make more of them. I think this one was done better than Heavy Rain as far as integrating action elements into the game. I can imagine them refining this a bit more and really getting close at balancing gameplay with interactive movie portions of the game. I think they are on the cusp of figuring out an even better formula that would have more mass appeal to gamers. In the meantime, Quantic Dreams certainly has me in their audience.

Story:

The story spans various periods across about 15 years of a girl named Jodie's life. What a life it was. It was full of struggles. The other thing that makes Jodie special is the fact that from a young age, she has always had the presence of an unknown entity with her. Another soul. This sets the stage for quite the tale. It is a very character driven game. The game tries hard to make the player experience Jodie's emotions, perspective, relationship with the entity, and her inner strife. You will play through episodes from her childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. Some will be action oriented, some will be emotionally driven, some will be about Jodie's kind heart and helping others with her abilities. At one point Jodie was with the CIA. At another point Jodie finds herself homeless and hopeless, living on the streets, trying to get by. The detailed graphics and performance by Ellen Page turn Jodie into a living, breathing character to care about. You also have multiple endings for how it all ends up. I thought it really was a unique and enjoyable setup.

Graphics:

The graphics on this game are top notch and rival some of the best on the PS3. I think they are improved a bit over Heavy Rain. Things run more smoothly and are even more detailed. I know every scene was physically acted out and motion captured. It shows and paid off. The voice actors did the physical acting as well, so it captures their performance perfectly.

Sound/Music:

The music was great. I especially love the title theme. There is a good variety of atmospheric, and emotionally charged melodies that do nothing but enhance the various scenes and story being told. The music never took center stage, nor did it take a back seat. It did exactly what it needed to do as a supporting entity to help drive the scenes like any good movie soundtrack would.

Gameplay:

During each episode, you play as Jodie and/or the entity Aiden. You can usually switch between them at will. However, there are a number of points in the game where you can only play as one or the other for reasons associated with the narrative. Often times you will need to switch back and forth between them to solve problems and continue on. As Jodie, you're typically conversing with characters and interacting with your environment. Things get quite interesting as Aiden. I especially enjoyed playing as the entity Aiden. Along with interacting with the environment, as you can posses other people, choke them to death, heal them, and a host of other enjoyable antics. This is really where the game shined for me. Playing as Aiden and seeking revenge at the teen party was one of the most fun scenarios I ever remember playing in a video game! As Aiden you can float around, pass through walls, and go places Jodie cannot.

Let's not forget about the action sequences. They are a mix of running around taking cover and slow-time combat where you need to match the direction Jodie's body is going. It's a step up and more integrated than anything in Heavy Rain, but I think it still leaves many wanting more true action gameplay.

The game looks more open world than it is. Often times, you have the illusion of an open world, but really are directed to certain locations. Some people don't like that, but I know why they did it. You couldn't keep the fantastic narrative on track without something resembling a track! Don't be mistaken, it's not all that linear either. You have freedom of choice. You can't die, but like in Heavy Rain, the game continues on with whatever choice you make. Some people may die because of your decisions changing the game. With multiple endings, and choices changing some scenes entirely, there is a good deal of replay-ability. I did replay several scenes to see alternate outcomes and view alternate endings.

Summary:

Ellen Page did a fantastic job and gave one of the best performances I've seen in a video game. This game may not be for everyone, but it really has a great character driven story and hits it's mark as an interactive drama. If you've ever played any of these types of games (or Heavy Rain) and liked them, do try this one. It's an interactive drama winner for sure!
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