Published on October 13th, 2013 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Stuck Between Two Worlds | Beyond: Two Souls Review
Are you a firm believer in ghosts or the paranormal? Do you always ask yourself the question question , “Are we alone? Or, “Are there two dimensions/worlds connected? The spirit world and the world we live in? Are ghosts good or bad, and what are their intentions? These are questions that many people ask themselves and Beyond: Two Souls plays on these questions more than any other entertainment medium to date.
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2013
You play as Jodie, who has a unique connection to the spirit world and the real world. From birth, Jodie has had this connection with a mysterious apparition named Aiden, who is bonded to her. Aiden plays the part of her protector and best friend. Through the course of the game you play through Jodie’s life as she battles with acceptance of trying to live a normal life, and venturing into adulthood. The games pacing is superb as you play through different parts of her memory strand at different parts of the game. At one point you are playing as Jodie as an adult working for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), then switch back to Jodie as a child taking tests for the doctors that her parents left her with so that they can learn more about her paranormal abilities.
You can switch controls between the two characters, Jodie and Aiden. By doing so, Quantic Dream was able to give the gamers an understanding of both characters and their connection to each other. Jodie is always searching for acceptance and wants to live a normal life with love and trust but her connection to Aiden tests that life at every chance. There are moments within the game that players take on the role of Aiden, a free flowing entity that uses his environment to talk and show his emotion. Some scenes give you control of Aiden to either create an uneasy environment for Jodie or play nice. From flipping tables, turning lights on and off, to throwing dishes and other items across the room, the choices you make affect the story. Its the interplay and challenges between both characters that make the player draw a close connection to them.
It’s that battle of wanting Aiden and asking for his help and guidance, to being upset with the entity and wishing he was never connected to her that takes the story of this game to another level. This interplay is what makes the story so believable and intriguing. There have been many attempts between television and movies that have tried to establish a similar connection between two characters, one of which you never see, and most have failed. An interactive game was the best entertainment medium to tell this story. You make decisions throughout the course of the game that shape Jodie’s personality and connection to other people in the world. Jodie can be played as a singled out shy girl, or a revengeful, spiteful bad ass. This is how the plot of the story works so well. Many of the games plot holes are filled in with your own imagination.
My first play-through of the game, I had Jodie as a reserved individual who really wasn’t interested in showing off her gift, unless she was forced to. In some instances you have to save Jodie’s life. In others I used Jodie as a girl that was bent on tormenting other people who disliked or tried to intimidate her.
The gameplay, if you’ve never played a Quantic Dream game, such as Heavy Rain, is based on a series of quick time events. You get control of your character’s movement via the left stick the majority of the time, with the right stick being reserved for camera movements and interactions with the environment. When you don’t have full control, follow the on screen prompts to perform the action that is required of Jodie with the right stick or buttons on the controller. While playing as Aiden, the controls become heavily based on thumbstick actions. While in fight sequences you only use the thumb-sticks by tapping the stick in the direction of Jodie’s movement during the slow-motion sequence. Some of the camera angles in-game can make the success of the fight sequences a bit aggravating. The controls are limited, as you can only perform actions that the game lets you at that given time, and the camera angle during intense action sequences and even some slow moments is atrocious.
The pacing of the narrative is fantastic, due in large part by the fact that the game does not have any game-over screen. The game keeps moving forward, no matter how poorly you do in certain areas. In areas of the game that require Jodie to avoid enemy contact that hold guns, if she is heading in the line of gun fire, she automatically back pedals to her point of cover to rethink her strategy.
The Final Truth:
Beyond: Two Souls is an intense story that does a great job of drawing the player into the characters and forming bonds with them. Even characters that are not the main focus are well-written and can tug at your feels. You will find connections with characters you will only meet once, and it is in those moments that Beyond shows its muscle. The gameplay mechanics may not the most intuitive compared to many games you may have played and there may be gruesome camera angles at times, but the story is enough to keep you playing to find out what happens next, and has better character development and voice acting than many movies today.
The ending will leave you with a big “AHHHH” moment and a bit of a cliff hanger that will allow the studio to add on additional content or even a full sequel. Beyond: Two Souls is a must play game, and if your a fan of Quantic Dream games, there is no question about picking this up: Just Do It.
Beyond: Two Souls Review
Summary: Beyond: Two Souls is a intense story that draws the gamers into the characters and forms bonds with them. Even characters that are not the main focus. You will find connections with characters you will only meet once, and its in those moments that Beyond shows its muscle. The gameplay mechanics may not the most intuitive and may have some gruesome camera angles, but the story is enough to keep you playing to find out what happens next, and has the best character development and voice acting than most movies today.