Beyond: Two Souls review
Experience yet another one of Quantic Dream’s cinematic games with a story that will stick with you for the rest of your lifetime.
While the story might not be as believable as in Heavy Rain because this games describes another dimension going by the name the Infraworld, with entities that intrudes the earth and life as we know it, this game holds it together a bit better as you don’t change between different characters around the same mysterium, but you stay with one person and the entity that is attached to her.
Open your ears and mind
Meet Jodie. Listen to her story. Be amazed. As jodie progress on her story, going back and forward about incidents and experiences in her life, you’ll quickly realise how special and amazing she is. Not because she has a spirit, going by the name of Aiden, attached to her but also her own spirit in life. She sticks to her heart and gut feeling, she knows what’s wrong and what’s right, and that is in spite how rough her life has been from a very young age. Including being taken away from her parents to been lied to and much more. Help Jodie and Aiden to fight for the greater good, make decisions and take down the bad guys.
The gameplay is essentially the same as Quantic Dreams last QTE game. When playing as Jodie, you either move her around with left stick or the camera with the right – and push the right button or stick as prompted on the screen. It gets a little different when you switch to Aidens view, here you are sort of like a ghost flowing around the room where you can interact with certain things – which is the only way to make the people in the room aware of your presence. Of course Jodie knows where Aiden is at all times. You can flow through matter, including walls though some walls is impenetrable due to map limits – and you can’t get too far away from Jodie, but this depends on the situation or mission you’re playing. Flowing through the room and walls is easy, but can get confusing if you find yourself between places, such as inside walls or if the rooms look alike. Outside of cutscenes, you can most of the time change between Jodie and Aiden freely, but if you’ve chosen the wrong character, Jodie will say so. Supplementing Jodie with Aiden and making a unity to solve the puzzles scattered throughout the story is satisfactory – overtaking other people to your advantage is a part of the gameplay too.
I don’t really think there’s many different options when it comes to the gameplay. You walk or flow around, see a white dot that implies that you can interact with it – you interact with it and go on to scourge for more white spots. QTE events doesn’t have many options, just do your best at timing your button skills. It’s the conversations that really bids for variation as there’s quite a few during the story where you have to choose what to say to the NPCs. Some of these might have impact on the outcome on certain events.
Hit that button!
This is a game that almost solely is based on quick time events – as things are happening on screen, you get prompted to do something with your controller – swing it, click a button or turn the analogue sticks. My favourite one was when opening a bottle of wine, I had to turn the right analogue stick a couple of times, then lift the controller in a quick move, which made quite the resemblance to how you actually open a bottle of wine.
The game gets more intense and more real when the scenario is dark and you can get surprised, even scared at times (I’m easily startled), and I respect the developers for doing that – problem is that how the developers made the quick time events, especially in dark places and where you have to both be quick but also push the stick in the right direction. When in a melee fight you have to push the stick in the direction that Jodie hits, dodges or jumps. This is hard in it’s own way, but when you’re in a dark place, it gets IMPOSSIBLE to do. This is not acceptable, especially if you aim to do everything right the first time. I don’t have this problem in other games, so I am almost sure it isn’t my TV that causes it.
An official app has been released on both iTunes App store and on Google Play Store for everyone to grab as free. Via this app and having your phone and console on the same network, the game registers the phone and you can then use your phone to play. It’s quite interesting to try and play this with my phone – kind of letting me partly experience the dual screen play that next generation consoles will offer more of. The app is still VERY limited though and quite simple what it can do – I quickly switched back to my controller as moving around via my phone is annoyingly and inaccurate – not because of app problems, but more on how you move the
character and how a touch screen can be inaccurate.
How and when did things happen?
Experience Jodie throughout her life is my all time favourite about this game – everything else in this game is just like Heavy Rain (minus playing as Aiden) and the story is better. The fact that Jodie starts the game by starting a storytelling about her life, then goes back and forward in time, adding the played experiences to an easy overview disguised as a timeline (on a loading screen of course) is a very nice way of putting it.
Most video games characters are based on the look of the person who voices them – many are even casted even before modelling the character. This is sort of making the voice fitting in with the person that speaks, and it works rather well. Beyond: Two Souls goes a step further and models some of the main characters exactly after how the actor looks like – including Ellen Page, William Dafoe and Kadeem Hardison. The rest has been inspired by, but haven’t been modelled exactly on how they look like. And as expected, with top tier actors like this, the acting experience is top notch.
Music made by Hans Zimmer – yes, THE one with music credits from top movies such as Lion King, Man of Steel, Dark Knight Rises and Inception. Though it’s not the first time he’s made music for videogames – his credits on IMDB mentions Crysis 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This time it doesn’t look like he’s composing – the IMDB list doesn’t include Beyond: Two Souls at the time of writing, but a playstation blog mentions that he’s producing the music – so his spirit is absolutely a part of the music. And it is easy to recognise, I just didn’t thought of it while playing – and I might have enjoyed the music more of I did.
The level of difficulty doesn’t really call for hardcore gamers as hitting the buttons within the time limit is quite forgiving, and if you don’t push it in time, the consequences aren’t that big, I didn’t fail even once (I did in Heavy Rain), so everyone, even people totally new to gaming will be able to experience this without frustrating hurdles. If you want a great story, you shouldn’t miss this game, but if you’re looking for a sandbox or shooter with lots of different things to do, skip this game. It might look like it has these elements, but thats not the case. The game is a great one to just be watching someone else play, so gather your friends for an evening with an enticing story about the world being invaded by entities and how the science and politicians handle the situation and with only one sane person being able to save the world as we know it.
* I’m sorry for all the references to Heavy Rain, but with the same developer, most likely the same engine and definitely the same genre, it’s hard to avoid.
Miss; Comparing this game to outside it’s genre, the game feels very limited, not only in pace, but also in exploring.
Need; Option to play chronological after the first playthrough as this could let the player get another angle on the story.