Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3) Review

By Adam Riley 24.10.2013

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

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.


Quantic Dream







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   


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