Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3) Review

By Adam Riley 24.10.2013 3

Review for Beyond: Two Souls on PlayStation 3

Fahrenheit on PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC was a truly amazing sensory experience, making the player feel like they were really there in the midst of the engrossing adventure. It definitely helped put Quantic Dream on the map, and the question on everyone's lips had to be 'will the team be able to match such quality again?' The answer arrived about five years later when David Cage and his trusty colleagues introduced Heavy Rain on PS3 to the world in 2010. Hailed as Game of the Year by various publications, it set a new standard for many in the adventure genre. Is it three in a row with the launch of Beyond: Two Souls, though?

Interactive media is seen by some as the future, as what better than being able to shape how books or movies develop? Well, the answer from some is 'I'd rather not bother at all,' since entertainment is something that certain sectors prefer to be hands-off, instead relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere. Bringing something to a traditional gaming platform such as the PlayStation 3, as is the case of Beyond: Two Souls, then, is a delicate prospect.

Players are in control of Jodie, a girl with an ethereal being called Aiden attached directly to her soul (in effect giving her Two Souls!), and the scenario chops and changes over various time periods. It begins with a scene from the present, and quickly leaps back to various points in Jodie's history as the story begins to unfold in highly cinematic form that proves to be extremely engrossing, thanks mainly to supremely realistic visuals and strong vocal performance from the lead actor (Willem Dafoe; American Psycho, Spider-Man 1-3, John Carter) and actress (Ellen Page; X-Men: The Last Stand, Inception, Juno).

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PlayStation 3

Rather than being like a point-and-click adventure, as initially thought from the first stages of wandering around a facility as Jodie in her youngest form playing with various aspects of the scenery, Beyond: Two Souls quickly reveals itself as being more of a reaction-based story with limited capacity for doing anything with the surroundings when controlling Jodie.

Many highly impressive titles have made great use of multiple characters for the sake of crafting intriguing puzzles for gamers to try and crack, dating right back to the likes of Lost Vikings on the 16-bit SNES. Here, the spirit-like Aiden can float outside of Jodie's body and be moved around within a limited radius (due to being tied to the poor girl, whose pain increases the further Aiden travels from her). In effect the game is attempting the same style, with supernatural entity often helping Jodie out of tricky situations - opening locked doors, causing distractions, frightening people, or flat out killing folk in order to save her life (and presumably its existence at the same time).

Aiden seems to go wild and lose control, but in many cases that is actually left up to the discretion of the person in charge of the controller (no Move compatibility, sadly, for what would have been a much more intuitive point-and-click system). Want to keep the peace and simply escape, or go into full-on destruction mode? The choice lies in the hands of the gamer! Beyond: Two Souls tries to throw plenty of decision making like that into the story in the hope of making it feel like actually being the main character, but sadly the majority of the time most of the options are inconsequential in terms of progression. Agreeing or disagreeing at junctures causes minor script deviations, but nothing critical enough to warrant repeat play. Additionally, enhancing punches, kicks and defensive blocks by flicking the right analogue stick in the required direction when prompted (by the action inexplicably slowing down) does not bear much relevance as scenes are not points-driven, so making mistakes matters not and the action continues regardless in most cases, even meaning that the controller could merely be left alone without fear of failure!

The whole idea is extremely intriguing, but there are times where it falls flat since it really is nothing more than pedestrian input from those playing through the adventure. The atmosphere really helps draw people in, and the acting is of the finest calibre, but the full potential of the actual game aspect is never quite achieved. There is large scope for intricate puzzles and intriguing conundrums, but they are ultimately absent. Thankfully the fine acting, interesting story developments, and sublime presentation are enough to wrap people up until the adventure's conclusion.

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Despite some moments where it feels like the 'game' element of Beyond: Two Souls is ultimately missing, the overall experience of this interactive movie-like product is so gripping that it manages to survive any bumps en route to the final credits. Whilst not quite at the dizzy heights of Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream still has a worthy hit on its hands with this psychological thriller.

Developer

Quantic Dream

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

THE cinematic experience on PS3 - better than Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain in that regard, and yet sadly it's lacking the amazing gameplay that made its predecessors so loved. I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, but I can certainly understand why some critics have been rather harsh on it.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Been clearing up a few games recently, and ploughed right on through this. Came out having really enjoyed it actually. I mean, I love Ellen Page anyway, so I think that helped, but I found myself being pretty attached to Jodie. I think it was probably because you actually grow up with her, albeit going back and forth through her life, but still. It feels like you really get to know her. The graphics are probably amongst the best I've seen last gen, and the acting really helped bring things to life.

Was pretty annoyed that the decisions you make rarely have that much of an effect in the grand scheme of things, though - at least until the ending. I also thought Ryan was a nobhead so I wanted nothing to do with him in the end, but the game still makes Jodie fall for him anyway. That was annoying.

Not really the best story in the world, and gameplay was seriously lacking, but I knew what kind of game it was, so I managed to get pretty immersed and came out enjoying it a lot. I'd rather that this type of game was made than not at all.

That's the thing - if you know what you're getting into, then the lack of hands-on elements is more acceptable. Graphically it's stunning. The main thing I remember about the game now, though, was playing around at the very beginning, watching the animated TV show in her room!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Ofisil

There are 1 members online at the moment.