Beyond: Two Souls Review

Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond Two SoulsDeveloper: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PS3
Release Date: October 8, 2013 (US)/October, 11 2013 (UK)

Beyond: Two Souls is an interesting game telling an emotional tale. It is a story that makes you feel for the characters told in this story. It is a very different and unique game that tries something quite new.

The story is the main highlight of the game. The gameplay itself is designed to better create an emotional story. I can’t talk too much about the story without revealing it so what I can discuss is how it made me feel.  

The narrative of the game is focused on telling the story of Jodi Holmes the main protagonist. Jodi Holmes is a girl that grows up connected to a spiritual being.  This spiritual being is called Aiden and gives her psychic powers. The story tells different parts of her life from childhood to adult.  Beyond that it is best when you discover on your own the storyline.     

The story isn’t for everyone though since it deals with a very serious theme of death. Jodi powers has some connection with the dead and it can lead to some scary scenes.  I hate being scared and there were some very frightening scenes in the game. Beyond isn’t extremely action heavy either focusing more on the emotional side of story telling.

The actors do an amazing job of portraying their characters to help tell an emotional story. The writing also helps to make to make believable characters that you care about. While not all the characters will have an emotional impact there were some that made me actually care about the choices that could affect them.

Story is the main focus and tries to have an emotional connection with you. With not giving too much away with the story there were many times where I felt sad, scared, and shocked during this story. What I can say is the storytelling of this game is the highlight and it a beautiful and emotional experience.

The game relies on the story to keep you intrigued designed to help connect you more to the story. While you do control Jodi and Aiden their interaction with the environment is limited to a degree. Each action you can make has an affect on you or the characters around. While some only change the storyline in a limited way others have an effect in future encounters of the game.

Controlling Jodi is simple enough but it is not perfect. There are times where it does not feel fluid or natural. Many timed events will slow down and you will have to move the analog of the control with the direction Jodi is but will not quite clear on what to do. Since the controls are unique it also isn’t something most people including myself are used to.  

Aiden controls are also simple but also does not feel natural. While control Aiden does feel like control a trapped spirit moving around it is just a tad bit clunky.  There were times where I went too far from the object I wanted to interact with. Though messing with environment as Aiden does have some fun seeing how it reacts to your abilities.  

Make no mistake there are intense choices to be made.  For sake of story I can not tell you but many choices you make do have short and long term effects to the story telling. Some choices also are just genuinely difficult to them because there are only sad choices.  

I was actually surprised by how much choices can affect the storyline. Though most are in subtle small ways like changing the dialogue a bit but still that attention to character detail was refreshing to see.  Jodi reacts to the choices differently but like you feel she would.  

Much of the gameplay reminded me of puzzles that you needed to solve to move on with the story. Those sequences did not stick with me as much when you are given choices on how to interact with the environment and how those actions will have consequences. The gameplay wasn’t a game changer but it worked with the story.

Beyond: Two Souls
The voice acting is better than many movies out in theaters right now.  Ellen Page does an amazing job with portraying Jodi Holmes. When you hear Jodi talk it sounds like this girl has had an extremely hard life. She will sound like a troubled teenager or an adult who has grown in confidence.

The voice acting and writing of the other characters are really good too. Willem Dafoe plays caretaker Dr. Nathan Dawkins who tries to help Jodi understand her powers. He sounds like someone that generally does really care for you.  There are some other notable performances but you should discover them on your own.            

The soundtrack is also good at creating the correct mood. When the scene needs to be scary you will feel scared by the ominous sound being played.  For a game so focused on story the music helps to enhance the experience tremendously.  

The graphics are some of the best I have seen this generation. I am saying that a lot these days but it is because near the end of this cycle you are seeing game developers pushing the console to the limit. The effort is greatly appreciated because Beyond: Two Souls is one beautiful looking journey.

The character motion capture looks so good that I believe that I am actually controlling Ellen Page. With character models that look this good it adds that emotional connection since you feel like you actually building friendships between real people. The graphics make the storytelling much more believable and emotional.    

The characters model also look and move like we do. We don’t walk perfectly and neither does Jodi. There will be times when she is sad and frustrated and you will see that in her movements. The attention to detail is also shown in the acting which adds much more to the emotional connect you have to these characters.

The world environment is detailed and looks beautiful. Not only do the environments look real but they have an attention to detail. Jodis room looks very different from when she is a child to when she is a teenager. The different environments you get to explore look so gorgeous many times I just took a moment to appreciate it.   

This is not a game for everyone since it not your average game. This is not an action adventure game that tries to excite you at every corner.  The gameplay doesn’t try to test your puzzle solving abilities either. This is just a game that tries to tell a story and bond with you.

The story isn’t for everyone either since it is designed to tell the story of Jodi being connected to Aiden. It tries to tell an emotional story more than drama thriller.  It is more focused about how it is like being connected to Aiden than why you are connected to Aiden. Many people might be turned off by the slow pace of the story.

It can also be a little confusing at telling the story. It jumps around all of Jodi life you don’t understand why things are being told the way they are until way later.  This can be off putting at the beginning when you want to try to enjoy the story but have a hard to connecting with it in the beginning.

It is hard to review a game like this since the game is all about story and not everyone enjoys the same kind of stories. This game is too focused on telling an emotional story that only those interested in a drama storytelling experience should give this game a try. Those that do will be in for an emotional tale that tugs at your heart.

giving it a 7 out of 10

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