“ Developer: Sony / Genre: Action & Adventure / Release Date: 11 Oct 2013 „
Such a great game, shame it's just for PS3 but anyway it is worth every penny. Just the gameplay and the options and decisions you can make is great. Graphics are just as great as the Last of us. It is amazing for this current gen consoles. The game came just in time when the people finished Last of us the Beyong the soul came out excelent timing by the developers. Like I said the gameplay is amazing because there is not much characters but a lot of animations and play time, but if you having fun game time is such a small amount of time. It's like the continued part of the Last of us which is really great. Hope they make dls like the last of us or another game like this cause this is really great selling game and the developers must know that. Just an amazing game!
Beyond: Two Souls is the latest "game" from developer Quantic Dream, who are best known for creating the murder mystery Heavy Rain. I use the phrase "game" in the loosest sense of the word as at times this PS3 title feels more like an interactive movie. David Cage, the brains behind Quantic Dream, comes across as pretentious when promoting his company's products. He lambasts modern video games for being uncreative in their storytelling by depending on cycles of game play, followed by cut scenes, followed by more gameplay. Ironically Beyond: Two Souls is little more than an extended cut scene broken up by quick time events (the shallowest form of game play, which only asks players to press whatever button flashes on the screen.)
The game chronicles the life of Jodie Holmes who ever since birth has been tethered to an invisible spirit named Aiden. The story follows Jodie as she grows up from being a little girl, raised at a lab that is studying her ghostly link, to a young woman who is eventually recruited by the CIA. The Central Intelligence Agency is naturally keen to employ an agent who commands a poltergeist, given that the entity can spy on others unseen as well as possess people. It's an interesting tale, although the narrative can be confusing to follow as it constantly switches from levels covering Jodie's adult life to chapters dealing with her youth. It's a creative decision I didn't approve of, but I suppose the developers wanted to avoid boring players with too many slow paced stages of toddler Jodie by mixing them up with adult Jodie's espionage adventures.
Presentation is without doubt the area in which Beyond: Two Souls excels. The stunning visuals and audio help mask the game's many failings. The graphics are photo realistic, which help bring the characters to life - even if they teeter on falling into the uncanny valley (were artificial creations end up looking creepy despite appearing life like.) The leading characters resemble their voice actors so players are sure to recognise that Jodie is played by Ellen Page (Juno) whilst the scientist who raises her is none other than Willem Dafoe (Platoon.) Even though the pair are big name Hollywood stars they don't come across as being above voicing a lowly video game as their performances are excellent.
Even though the game boasts multiple endings, it doesn't feel like the choices you make have much impact on the story. Near the end for example one of Jodie's colleagues professes his undying love for her, which made little sense given the decisions I made earlier in the game. Prior to that a disastrous date between the two ended with said love interest walking out on her, after he turned up at Jodie's messy apartment (which I failed to clean) only to find an inappropriately dressed Jodie who hadn't bothered to make any dinner. This was followed by a mission were the budding Romeo betrays Jodie, culminating in me proclaiming that I hated his guts. In spite of all that the loyal CIA operative betrays his superiors out of love. Who cares if players orchestrated things so the two detest each other? Trifling things like player input will not derail David Cage's script.
Another thing I disliked about the game were the controls. In certain areas the camera refuses to pan more than a few inches in either direction, making it hard to see where you are going. Interacting with objects is also a chore, as it requires some guess work. Items you can perform an action on are marked with a white dot. When you are within touching distance of such an item you need to tilt the analogue stick in a certain direction. You may for example have to press down to sit on a chair or right to open a door. Why not just assign one button on the controller to interact with objects? The idea must be to mimic what you would do in real life, but for a seasoned gamer it just breaks the immersion as you are forced to pull off silly acts, like shaking the controller, to jump off a ledge.
What appalled me the most however was the severe lack of freedom you have in terms of game play. At any time you can switch between Jodie and Aiden, which should give you plenty of options on how to tackle the challenges you come across. Alas the game steers you into playing things in a predetermined way. Look there's a guard blocking a doorway, I know, I'll get Aiden to possess him... oh wait I can't because the designers only allow you to possess certain characters when it suits them. This is very weak when you consider that other games on the market (Fallout, Deus Ex, Dishonoured etc) encourage inventive use of powers to overcome obstacles.
The only real game play sequences are the levels were you need to sneak past enemies, which I didn't enjoy as I am not fond of stealth games. You can't tiptoe past every danger though so sometimes Jodie will be expected to fight for her life. Alas no skill or strategy is required in those encounters as battles are just quick time events were you press the analogue stick in whatever direction the on screen arrow is pointing. I did my best to complete the quick time events successfully, although I have heard from other sources that most of the time it doesn't matter if you press the wrong direction or nothing at all. Jodie apparently will win the day no matter what you do. If there's no substantial penalty for failing tasks what's the point? This is a step back from Quantic Dream's own Heavy Rain were you could permanently lose characters if you botched up a life or death struggle.
Due to the limited game play, whether you enjoy Beyond: Two Souls or not depends solely on the story. If you like the plot this could potentially be a four star game, but for me it was a two star offering. The tale of a CIA agent kicking ass with the aid of an incorporeal partner sounded cool, but by the end of it all I was feeling rather bored. The narrative is sadly hampered by dull parts were the eight-hour long running time is padded out with sequences were you perform mundane household chores, clean up your house or pack a suitcase.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not opposed to using the video game medium to tell interactive stories. The Walking Dead for example was my game of the year thanks to its gripping story and memorable characters. Even though that game only had one ending, the writers succeeded in making you feel like your choices mattered, which is not the case in Beyond: Two Souls. Although David Cage harps on about the importance of story, the tale he presents here isn't strong enough to make up for the sacrifices in game play.
I was a little dissapointed by this game initially. Its from the same developers as Heavy Rain and Alan Wake, both games I have produced reviews for so just look at my profile). Its got Ellen Page and Willam Defoe on it - a revolution in the gaming world now means that big time actors, and some little known actors are gettign great recognition by actually acting out all the cut scenes and movements of their characters. The characters are even rendered to look exactly like them. Both do a good job here although I was alittle annoyed by the constant crying the Ellen Page is required to do.
The story centes around a gril called Jodie Holmes, Jodie has a very special talent, she is linked to an 'entity' called Aiden- who is invisable and can violently move things to protect Jodie. Its like having your very own poltergeist. So in this game the gameplay revolves around you controlling Jodie and anoyone else that Aiden possesses in 3rd person view, and Aiden in 1st person view.
The game is also fairly short and there are allot of cut scenes, so of the combined 9 ours or so that you might play this game , you`ll probably only play about 7 of them. Its also frustrating as some of the cutscenes are very long and it sometimes feel more like you are watching a film then playing a game.
There are some elements that the developers have gotten right, the fight sequences are smoother and easier to control, the voice acting is better, the sound effects especially when you are dealing with entities and violent fights with other character flow better.
The plot, like Alan Wake and Heavy Rain is very good, strange at time and a little slow as you play Jodie at different time in here life and so you get to play a small child , a nervous teenager, then a frustrated young women and then Jodie in young adult life- this is a bit wierd as a gaming experience as you have to do things, like attending a party and trying to nervously fit in, that is well, a little off the norm- you make her choices and some of them are rather wet and sickly in places. The decisions that you make also effect the plot lines that the game takes, for example if you do not help someone earlier in the game, they do not help you later in the game therefore making it harder for you to beat it. The decisions all converge to various ending possibilities and just like Heavy Rain there are around 20 different endings.
Graphics and rendering are fiarly good, the characters facial expressions and movements are very detailed and lifelike owing to the computerised green screen sets that the actors actually go through as it fhtey were acting on a stage. Other details such as cars and items are pretty good, but in trying very hard to be as realistic as possible rather then taking a more cartoonish or CGI route, the developers are still showing that technology is still limited in producing completely life-like movement and expression.
The soundtrack is fairly good, suspenseful and action paked at times, quiter and more like background music at other times.
Over-all this isnt a bad game, however the main drawback is the stunted gameplay, the boring tasks and the overkill on cutscenes- for a game that had this much marketing to try and compete with the like of this years hits such as GTA 5 and The last of us, it falls short of the mark.
It took me a while to play Beyond: Two Souls. Partially because I'm in the middle of GTA and also due to the fact that it has got very mixed reviews from critics. My boyfriend played it and raved about it, and one night he set up my Playstation in the living room (a rare treat - I usually have to have the smaller TV in the bedroom!) and made me start playing it. I'm so glad he did!
Beyond follows the story of Jodie Holmes. The story is non-chronological and different chapters are played throughout the game. The chapters vary in length and are all at different parts in Jodie's life from a very young child through adolescence and early adulthood.
From an early age, strange things happen around Jodie and she has powers. This is due to spirit who is attached to her, called 'Aiden'. As a child Jodie is taken to an experimental medical facility, where she learns to control Aiden. Jodie interacts like a normal human, but she can use Aiden to do things like possess people, move items and channel the dead. The story is truly incredible, so I won't spoil any of it for you! Depending on the choices you make in the game there are a number of endings. I've had a think, and I reckon there must be at least 6 or so variations.
The loading scenes are on a timeline, with each chapter you're about to start highlighted. Therefore you can guess how old Jodie is going to be in the chapter you're about to play, and how it fits in with the rest of the story. It can be a bit confusing but it's built up in a very clever way, so my advice would be try not to think about it too much and just go with the flow!
I would class this game as a thriller/horror. And I'll be honest - at times it was terrifying. I jumped. my heart was pounding, at times I had to look away! This is not one to play on your own before bed.
Beyond is more like an interactive drama than a game. If you've ever played Heavy Rain it's made by the same people and is very similar in terms of gameplay. You control your character by moving her around with the left stick, and you can use the right stick to look around, however the camera is limited compared to other games and isn't usually 360 degrees. Items that can be interacted with are indicated by a white dot which you can activate by moving the right stick in that direction.
There are also lots of prompts throughout the game, for example you are asked to press buttons in a certain sequence or you may need to continually press a certain button repeatedly to escape a situation. There are often conversations where you chose how Jodie responds by pressing the corresponding button (for example x might be 'distant', triangle might be 'angry', square might be 'sad'.
Action scenes are strange, in that the camera slows down and everything goes sepia, and you have to move the right stick in the right direction to get Jodie to duck/punch/kick/roll/jump in the right direction. This was slightly tricky to get the hang of, but I seemed to pick it up better than my boyfriend, who is a big gamer but struggled with the action scenes.
As well as controlling Jodie, throughout the game you can press the triangle button to become Aiden. With Aiden you can float about to any height, go through doors and windows and interact with some items. As he is linked to Jodie, you can't wonder too far from her without everything going black and blurry and a high pitched warning sound starting. Aiden has full 360 view, but is tricky to control. Personally I didn't mind this as I thought it was ethereal and matched the tone of the game, but it could be irritating at times as it could be really hard to get the right angles.
This game is unusual in that it has two big name actors in the main roles - Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. I can't think of any games that have done this before. They are spectacular. I am a big fan of Ellen Page anyway, and watching and controlling her on screen was very cool. The graphics were incredible. They were sharp and some of the best shots I've seen in a game. The Playstation is a very good machine in this respect anyway, and they certainly pushed it in this game (I could tell by the amount of whirring my machine was doing throughout the game!) Ellen Page in particular played her character so well and I hope we see more talented actors getting into games like this.
You can play this game in dual mode, where one person controls Jodie and one person controls Aiden. You can download an app to your tablet/phone to do this as well. I haven't tried this yet but me and the Mr are going to give it a go.
The game was beautiful and stunning. The acting throughout this game was fantastic. Watching Jodie go from child through adolescence and into adulthood, dealing with Aiden really drew me into her as a character. I felt very involved with the storyline and I wanted her to be ok and to survive and beat all the issues faced. The character was often vulnerable way but not a victim. Jodie was a truly inspiring female character who is strong, determined and just plain awesome. As a female gamer I really connected to the character and was so pleased to see such a 3 dimensional female who loved, hated, was wonderful, had flaws and was just so easy to relate to. My (male) partner also really liked her character, but this game really felt special to me
~Not so good stuff~
The thing I found most frustrating about this game was the controls. They were difficult sometimes and the camera angles were very frustrating. The disappointing thing to me is that this is a game that could really appeal to people who don't usually game, but the controls were so tricky I don't think non-gamers would get on with it.
The other bad thing was that the choices you make don't seem to affect the storyline that much. You still pretty much end up in the same place, give or take a few differences in how you get there. Your character never dies - mostly due to the non-linear storyline. If you know you're four spots behind on the timeline where you were before that you survived this mission! I think failing in a fighting scene might change the storyline a bit, but there's no real risk or danger.
Overall, got about 10 hours of gameplay out of Beyond and I loved every minute of it. The storyline was beautiful, the characters were 3 dimensional and believable. The game was so well acted. And I was genuinely on edge throughout the game. I've never played such a freaky and scary game, there were times when my heart was pounding and I was genuinely scared a number of times. In particular when Jodie channeled the dead her eyes would role back in her head and she would talk in their voice, which was very freaky to watch. However overall the game is very beautiful and heartbreaking, and I had so much love for Jodie I wanted to hear her story and find out what happened to her and about what/who 'Aiden' actually was.
If you need lots of shooting and action in games, you might not like this. If you want a game that's going to be beautiful, thought provoking and that you can really engage with, I can't recommend this more. The game has had mixed reviews from critics, but I absolutely loved it. I finished this game about 11pm last night, and I've been thinking about it all day today, I will be thinking about this game for a very long time. if you liked Heavy Rain you'll like this - It's about a quarter of the length of Heavy Rain but I thought the story was far superior