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Beyond: Two Souls review

This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

Quantic Dream tugs at your heart strings in its latest project.

Developer/Publisher: Quantic Dream/Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Interactive drama
Modes: Single player, Dual mode
Available on: PlayStation 3
Release date: Oct. 8, 2013

Video games are maturing like never before. The “interactive drama” genre is growing ever popular, with games like The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain, and now Beyond: Two Souls getting a lot of attention. Critics claim that these games are hardly that, and that they should just be made into movies instead. In speaking with GameSpot about Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream’s David Cage said, “No one should be allowed to define what a game is or should be.” Look how much video games have changed since their invention. If games don’t change and evolve, then what’s the point?

While some argue that Cage should be making movies instead of games, I completely disagree. There are so many different types of games today, and Cage is trying something different. The thing about Cage’s games is that you’re either going to love them or hate them. Those who are open to trying new types of games will praise Cage for doing something so different and special, and others who think he should just make movies will never touch anything he makes; that’s the beauty of it.

The game follows Jodie Holmes, a girl who has had an entity attached to her since birth. This entity sometimes helps her get out of sticky situations, but overall, it has ruined her life. People think she’s a “witch” and a “demon” because the entity, Aiden, gives her supernatural powers. Throughout the game, which spans 15 years, we see her go through all sorts of depressing situations because of Aiden. Whenever something good is about to happen, Aiden seems to ruin it for her, even if it may be unintentional.

Nathan Dawkins, played by Willem DaFoe, is with Jodie for most of her life, acting as a scientist who studies her behavior, and also as a father figure.

Some might say that the story is confusing, and it is at first. It jumps to different points in time like a Tarantino movie, and some will like it and some won’t. After playing for a few hours, this style of storytelling really grew on me.

Players can switch freely (usually) between Jodie and Aiden, making for really fun and interesting gameplay. I found that I loved playing as Aiden, as he could do things that I’ve never been able to do in a video game, like flip cars, possess people, and knock down doors.

While Beyond has some issues with its control system that sometimes make playing the game very frustrating, the incredibly well-written story and performances by Ellen Page and Willem DaFoe make up for it. Also, I felt like my PlayStation 3 had to work very hard to play this game. It was a lot louder than usual, and it constantly felt like the game was going to freeze. It only froze one time throughout my first playthrough, but it had a few hiccups that caused it to freeze for a second or two. I have the 500GB Superslim model, if that makes a difference.

Beyond is a game that must be played all the way through. I have to admit–when I first played it, I wasn’t so sure that it was going to live up to my expectations. But, as I continued to play, I fell more and more in love with it–especially with its characters. Without spoiling anything, the ending is one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had with a video game of any kind.

Fans of Heavy Rain should pick this up immediately if they haven’t already, as its similar to the 2010 thriller in many ways. People who have never played a game that differs from the usual first-person shooter should give this game a shot as well. No matter what people say, it is a video game, and a great one at that. It’s just much different than your average game. Branch out and try something different. Change can be a good thing.

Beyond: Two Souls was an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Final thoughts

Gameplay: As to be expected from a Quantic Dream game, the gameplay consists of quick time events and not much of anything else. However, I did find that I did a lot more walking around and exploring than in Heavy Rain, which was a nice change. The controls can be awkward at times, which can be discouraging.

Appearance: Beyond: Two Souls is a beautiful game. It features some of the best visuals that the PlayStation 3 has to offer.

Sound: The music in this game is beautiful. The late Normand Corbeil, who passed away in January of this year, began composing music for this game, but passed away during development. The finished soundtrack was composed by Lorne Balfe and produced by Hans Zimmer.

Bottom line: Beyond: Two Souls has its share of problems, and the way it tells its story will not be liked by everyone. But, those who really give it a chance should prepare for a beautiful adventure.

Overall score:

80/100


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