All of the talk throughout 2013 about Beyond: Two Souls was related to no one having any idea what kind of game this was going to end up being. Every trailer seen and demo played for the game was completely different than the last, which confused the hell out of people.
The game was finally released on October 8,2013 and was met by a mixed bag of reviews; as high as a perfect 100 and as low as a 25/100 according to Metacritic.com. This is the fourth game for French game studio Quantic Dream and the first game since Heavy Rain in 2010.
The story line is about a girl named Jodie and the invisible entity named Aiden that is permanently attached to her. She can control Aiden and make him do just about anything she wants him to do, such as open doors, knock things over, or even possess people. The story takes place over the course of several years, from the time Jodie is a small girl until she is a full grown woman. You get to experience all of the thrills and downfalls that Jodie, and any other human for that matter, goes through as they grow up, only for Jodie it’s slightly different as she has Aiden with her at all times. The story skips around so consecutive levels are never set in chronological order. This actually made the story much more interesting in my opinion because you would see things when she was older and wonder how it got to be that way and then get to find out later on by playing it. The reason for the story skipping around is explained at the very end of the game. Some examples of playable incidents are having a snowball fight with friends in the street, sneaking out to a bar, going to a teenage birthday party, and joining the military. Each and every one of those seems sort of normal, right? Try having Aiden with you and see how normal they are. There are also scenes revolving around other entities like Aiden that I am not going spoil those by going into any detail.
One thing that stood out to me about the story line is that Jodie is a very strong female protagonist, which is refreshing to see in a video game. There are not many games out there with a female main character that has to go through some of the things Jodie does and still finds a way to shine. Not to mention when there is a female character in a video game these days, protagonist or not, she is almost always a well-endowed woman to cater to the mostly male fans. Beyond: Two Souls does not cater to that audience at all; Jodie is a petite, skinny girl that has to deal with real life (and fake) challenges that come her way. You can easily fall in love with her just because of how human she is as a character, which is not something you can say for many other games.
The graphics are absolutely stunning. These are just the kind of graphics you would expect to see on a video game coming at the end of a console’s life cycle. They have had enough time to prefect the formula and make a beautiful video game. Quantic Dream used motion capture in order to get the facial expressions and body movements for this game to make it feel as real as possible. The main characters are played by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe; which made it that much better by having experienced professionals playing the parts. It was very cinematic and could easily feel like you were watching a movie because of how good it all looks.
Let me start by saying that this is a video game, despite claims to the contrary by others. I understand everyone has their own preference on what kind of video game they like to play, but just because you do not like a video game does not mean that it is not one. Now, this game can be described as an interactive drama and action-adventure. It is played much like The Walking Dead video game from last year in that you never have full control over your character but you can still lead your character where to go and click the right stick in the direction of objects in order to interact with them. This may sound simple, but it is much deeper than you might initially imagine. You can turn into Aiden at almost any time you want by clicking the triangle button and then proceed to fly around the area and interact with objects as Aiden as well. During the more intense scenes of the game, there are QTEs (quick time events) that enable you to react to what is happening. By either succeeding or failing them, it will change what happens next. These QTEs are easy for the most part, but there are a few times they are extremely difficult because it does not pop up and tell you which button to press next; instead you have to pay attention to where Jodie is moving and then move the stick in that direction. This makes it hard because sometimes it is not always obvious where she is moving.
The Verdict: 9.0 out of 10.0
After hearing so many doubts about this game all year long, I was very skeptical on whether or not I would enjoy my time with this game. Having finally played it, I have no doubts left in my mind; this was a great game. I loved the fact that the story was so interactive and you could change how things were done. It must have taken so much time to design all of the different aspects and story paths the game can take. The story had excitement, love, depression, and even fear during the paranormal scenes. The acting in this game is above par and the motion capture was almost perfect. Even though I had several screw ups with the QTEs during the fast scenes, I never became mad at the game or wanted to give up because it was too fun and interactive. Even if you are not into this sort of gameplay, this game is a must play just to experience the story. Jodie’s story is one I will remember for along time as she is not an easy character to forget.