Beyond: Two Souls (PC) Review

By Athanasios 01.08.2019

Review for Beyond: Two Souls on PC

Beyond: Two Souls is an adventure game that belongs in that tiny, yet constantly growing, family of interactive dramas, and, more specifically, the Quadric Dream-flavoured dramas the likes of David Cage's Heavy Rain. Originally a PS3 title, and probably the most technically impressive one on the platform, this little trip down the supernatural lane has been remastered for the PS4 era, and has even been released on the Epic Store, so that members of the PC Master Race can get a taste of it as well. Is there any reason to try something that received such highly polarised reception, though, or is it better to wait for the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain to get a release as well?

For as long as she remembers herself, Jodie has been chain-linked to a spirit that's both a curse and a blessing. 'Aiden,' as she calls that, is constantly messing up her life, but it is also quite the skilled fellow. Essentially a poltergeist, Aiden can go through walls or push objects, and even possess or harm other people. Gameplay-wise, this means that the protagonist will use this being to overcome all sorts of challenges. Just don't expect much of it... challenge, that is. Typical of most interactive dramas, Beyond: Two Souls was made to provide an engrossing, cinematic experience, and not intricate puzzles to solve, or tough enemies to defeat.

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PC

Gameplay constantly feels the least interesting element in here, especially whenever it doesn't help the narrative in any way, and just comes off as an excuse to have more QTEs and simple button inputs, whether that's to just put on your shoes, open a door, or beat up your enemies to a pulp - oh, yes, David Cage is still in love with those. Will this convince QTE "non-believers?" Certainly not. Will the rest enjoy this? Well, it depends. Some chapters clearly show that QTEs can be quite the tool for immersion when handled correctly, while others show that these can turn the game into a chore - especially when they don't even work as intended, and as a result ruin the mood.

As always the thing that matters the most in such titles is the story, as the gameplay is just there to complement it, and help the player feel like part of it - and the perfect example where the game fails with that, as well as when it doesn't is the use of Aiden. Jodie's first "test" of her abilities, or a birthday party that she has to attend to, are two simple, yet deeply emotive, memorable parts, whereas Jodie's CIA training is nothing more than long and boring tutorial, where you forget that Aiden even exists. It's also annoying and counter-immersive how inconsistent this is when it comes to limiting the use of your ghost powers.

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PC

In conclusion, a great game Beyond is not. A good drama? Occasionally. Beyond: Two Souls follows Jodie from childhood to adulthood, passing through numerous phases of her troubled life; from when she was just a small, innocent kiddo, or shy teen, to that time where people of power started getting interested for her gift, and for what that could do for them. It's a very... Christopher Nolan kind of tale, too, as it begins in the "present" and constantly goes back and forth between various periods. It's an enjoyable enough trip, but, like with the gameplay bit, not one that's exactly an example of consistency.

Take the whole back-and-forth storytelling. This style of fractured narrative has worked wonders in movies like Pulp Fiction, Batman Begins, Snatch, and many more, but here it mostly feels like there's no point in it. This new remaster has added the Remix mode, which shows everything in a chronological order, but since this was clearly made to be presented like in a non-linear fashion, it creates new problems - at least for first-time players. As for the story itself, it falls somewhere between decent and very good... but it's better to come in with low expectations, especially if spoiled by Cage's previous, and far superior interactive dramas.

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PC

Ellen Page as Jodie, and Willem Dafoe as her father figure and "mentor," are great as always, but they feel underused. It's hard to connect with Page's character despite spending an enormous amount of time with her, and it's hard to connect with Dafoe's character before for the first half of the game he is just... there, and it's a shame, because there are plenty of moments in here that are genuinely stirring. Take the chapter when Jodie has to live on the streets; a chapter that actually makes you care about minor characters, whereas plenty of main ones are completely forgettable, like the borefest that is Ryan Clayton (Eric Winter), one of the major supporting characters.

In conclusion: this is a good supernatural thriller/drama, that's quite rough around the edges; not great, but not a bad way to spend a bunch of evenings with. What about this version, however? When this came out for the PS3, it was simply fantastic - one, if not the technical swansong of the platform. As expected, this new, PS4/PC version looks great… as long as one isn't looking for something spectacular. The retouch job is a very subtle one, and in a title that already looked next-gen-ish when it came out. Simply out, there's not much in here for those who have played this before, but newcomers can rest assured that what they are buying is the definite edition.

P.S.: Terrify everyone at the birthday party. Make them scream! Burn the house to the ground!!!

Screenshot for Beyond: Two Souls on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The original Beyond: Two Souls was an interactive drama with a severely inconsistent level of quality when it came to gameplay and storytelling, and completely consistent when it came to its stunning audio-visuals. This new version, is still an interactive drama with a severely inconsistent level of quality when it comes to gameplay and storytelling, and even better in regards to how it looks and sounds. Any reason to try it out now? Only if you haven't done so before, as the remaster is a bit of a poor one to warrant a second purchase.

Developer

Quantic Dream

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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   

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