Beyond: Two Souls Review | Fanboys Anonymous

Beyond: Two Souls Review

Posted by India Harrington Saturday, October 26, 2013
Beyond: Two Souls, a PS3 exclusive that's three parts movie and one part game, is an interactive action-adventure drama created by Quantic Mechanics. A theatrical experience wih a mixture of quicktime events and a little bit of open world gameplay, Beyond: Two Souls is special. It's not a Grand Theft Auto or an Uncharted; it's a game targeted to non-gamers and hardcore gamers looking for a change of pace. Beyond: Two Souls is neither difficult nor easy and provides a unique and satisfying experience.

Jodie Scratched, Scarred, and Bruised Running Through Forrest.

PLOT

The game is set in a world as regular as ours but with apparitions or "ghosts." Gamers venture through the environment as Jodie Holmes (performed by Ellen Page), a young woman with supernatural abilities who has a link to the other side through her invisible friend Aiden.

Not much is known about Aiden. We only know that Aiden can't separate from Jodie nor go far distances away from her. He mostly floats around and is called upon whenever Jodie is in need. Aiden is portrayed as your stereotypical ghost that can make items move and control humans. Aiden does not like being attached to Jodie, but gamers will quickly find out that he doesn't like seeing Jodie in pain either.

Young Jodie Tested on Supernatural Abilities.

Jodie and Aiden will travel miles together, completing chapters and trusting in each other when it counts the most. It's what I love most about this game, the relationship that forms between Jodie and Aiden as Jodie grows from a child to a woman. This relationship is what will define Jodie's character and develop the story into a rich experience that not only explains Aiden's existence but his relationship to Jodie as well.

The story doesn't move in chronological order; gamers jump from one point to another in a messy direction. In fact, the game begins in the middle of the entire story. You start somewhere in the middle and end a little bit past the beginning. Makes no sense, right? Just play the game.

GAMEPLAY

Gamers can't go into this game thinking it's Call of Duty Black Ops.

Beyond: Two Souls Jodie Executing Orders C.I.A Mission

Well, maybe just a little bit. Beyond: Two Souls has a really unique mix of gameplay. Gamers move from a shooter-action-packed environment to an open-world exploration, to more linear gameplay jammed with suspense and supernatural horror, and even to moments of sheer boredom that would make a game of checkers look amazing. Pacing is an element of gameplay here as well: Do you have the patience to cook stir-fry AND take a shower?

Reminiscent of its Heavy Rain predecessor, Beyond: Two Souls is filled with quick-time events and decisions based on shaking options hovering around the X button (for example). The choices are still a big part of the game, and gamers are still able to choose their path—just not as freely. Heavy Rain allowed players to make decisions that would lead to different storylines, including death and an abrupt end to the game. In Beyond: Two Souls, players still have the ability to choose and will see only slight variations in the result. Nothing major such as death will occur…or will it? Without spoiling the game, I'll just say that gamers will have the same amount of endings regardless of what choices were made. The path may be altered, but the endings are set in stone. This is definitely NOT a Heavy Rain game.

Added to gameplay here is the use of slow motion. In more of the action-oriented chapters, the slow-motion feature pops up whenever the player has to determine which direction to hit the stick or which button to mash. This element helps you make the correct choice, especially when the action is going fast. Yet I also feel that this option dumbs down the game slightly, not allowing more experienced gamers to challenge themselves.

Young Jodie and Aiden in Chapter 2: The Experiment


Aiden is a big part of gameplay as well. Because he is used as a second character, Aiden can do things that Jodie cannot. In most chapters, players will be able to switch from Aiden to Jodie freely, allowing them some sense of freedom. Aiden can interact with the environment while staying within range of Jodie.

GRAPHICS

The graphics in this game are unbelievable. I've never seen rain at night shine on a pavement with such clarity and realism ever. EVER! This game is gorgeous, and I will put it up there with Last of Us.

Jodie Pose and Helicopter Explosion Chapter 7: Hunted

The facial animations in the game are frighteningly good. Ellen Page's and Willem Dafoe's characters are so realistic that I keep forgetting I'm playing a video game. I just can't stop thinking about Kitty Pride and the Green Goblin (nerd reference there, folks).

Beyond: Two Souls Jodie Ellen Page Nude

In all fairness, Ellen Page puts on a phenomenal performance as Jodie (I like to think the best performance in a video game ever), but her performance would not be so good if it wasn't for the realism that the Beyond: Two Souls graphics portray.

The game has an uncanny precision for detail. Many times I find myself looking at posters or textures of individuals' clothes because the detail is so vivid. The graphics are what makes the movie-like quality of this game. If shaky choices around the X button are the bread of this game, then great acting and great graphics are definitively the butter.

PROBLEMS

Lack of Interactivity: Where Heavy Rain has a multitude of interactive options, Beyond: Two Souls felt limited of options, almost to the point of feeling coerced into a certain direction of gameplay. Certain scenes have such a lack of interactivity that I felt almost bored to tears and even questioned if the scene was necessary at all. The game is pretty much laid out for you; you're just going along for the ride. In all honesty, that's okay. Beyond: Two Souls is a game center more around the story and less about whether you go through door A or door B.

Pacing: The game goes from action thriller to fingers-on-a-chalkboard painfully boring. Fortunately, the boring parts of the game are far and few in between. The storyline keeps pulling gamers forward and forcing us to wonder, "What's next?" Patience is a virtue, and remember, the best part of the game is the story, not chopping vegetables for your stir-fry.

Beyond: Two Souls Jodie on the Run Navajo Desert.

Game Mechanics: The mechanics are frustrating at times but decent for the most part. I had some issues making Jodie walk or run in a straight line when I was clearly hitting up on my right stick. I'm also not a fan of when Jodie turns in circles while running from the bad guys—ain't nobody got time for that! I quickly realize that these "extras" give uniqueness to the character and develop a richer experience to the game. I'm all for that, but it amazes me how many crowbars, bats, and other blunt heavy objects Jodie can take to the face. My timing and the game's timing were not syncing up! For Beyond: Two Souls II, I only hope we can make the mechanics a lot smoother.

CONCLUSION

Even with lack of interactivity, some extremely boring chapters, and minor gameplay mechanics issues, players should give Beyond: Two Souls a try. When the scenes are moving they are moving. Storyline is the greatest thing about the game; I went into this game wanting to watch an amazing movie, and Quantic Dreams delivered. Go into the game ready to watch a movie while slightly influencing the story.

Beyond: Two Souls is different. It's a story you see yourself in, a story you believe. I enjoy games such as this because they give me a break from the typical shooters and RPGs. Beyond: Two Souls has great acting, great characters, beautiful graphics, and the best animations and story that I've seen in a game yet.

That is why I'm giving Beyond: Two Souls a 4 out 5 and a definite buy from me.

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below.
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