An emotionally powerful masterpiece.

User Rating: 10 | Beyond: Two Souls PS3

I've played through Quantic Dream's games such as Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. Both of those games were amazing games that changed the way I thought about how games can tell a story. I appreciated the fact that they were very deep into the whole "interactive movie" genre that no one else has really perfected like Quantic Dream has.

That perfection is this game, Beyond: Two Souls. When I heard that Quantic was gonna be making another game back last year, I was super stoked to see what they were gonna do next. And when I saw that Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe were going to be in it, I nearly fainted, I mean come on, two of the most respectable actors in the industry starring in one of the most respectable video game companies' games? That's pretty sweet. Anyway, I finally got this game and man, it was breathtaking.

The story in Beyond is about a girl named Jodie Holmes (voiced by the wonderful Ellen Page) who has a special gift. That gift is an entity, known only as Aiden. He has no story, has no voice (well, only Jodie can understand him) and isn't very explainable, besides the fact that he can possess, kill, and move things and people around him. These two characters are very engaging, for they seem like such real people, especially Jodie. Jodie is complex, yet familiar, trying to live a normal life and make "normal" friends. I say normal like that because of Aiden. He's not so much "normal" as he is mysteriously attachable. He doesn't do too much at all but move things around and possess things and the like. But, those actions have meaning. If Jodie needs a person possessed in order to go to a party that she really wants to go to in order to act "normal", Aiden does those things because it'll make her happy. Another character is Nathan Dawkins, voiced by Willem Dafoe. He's a good egg, that cares for Jodie after she arrives at the Department of Paranormal Activity. He acts as more or less a father figure, since Jodie never knew who her father was. With Jodie, Aiden, and Nathan, the story plays along very well.

The story of the game is very detailed and emotional. You follow Jodie as she goes through an amazing journey. A journey to find out who she really is, and where she comes from. The narrative is amazing, with no narrator or storytelling really. It's just a girl living the life of a powerful ghost-wielding human. The story is long, which is nice because I like a game that's more of a movie than a game due to the fact that I LOVE a good story in a video game. There's no hand holding or anything like that either. You just watch a really long movie where you can interact with that movie at the same time. There are video game elements to it, they're just very vague.

I mean vague by the fact that the interactive sequences (which is really just the whole game really but that's not what I mean) have little dots that appear when you have the option to do something to that object or person, Jodie and Aiden both. Also, in conversations, the classic Heavy Rain "thought bubbles" appear in which it gives you adjectives on what thought that thought may be such as "Cold" or "Angry". These vague hints are absolutely excellent for immersing the player into the game world. Also, there is no "Game Over" to ruin the pace of the story which is nice because you remain immersed in the story while the story continues to go on. With that, the gameplay is spot on and deserves to be seen in more games to come. Not to mention that the last decision in the game is probably the most difficult decision I've made in a video game, period.

Now on to the graphics. Man, are they possibly the best I've seen in any game yet. The textures are clean and sharp such as Jodie"s torn up, bloody t-shirt, or the faces of the characters you interact with. The lighting is amazing and clear, especially in the night sequences. The animations, though are where Beyond's graphics shine. The way the characters move and interact with each other is so surreal and fluent. The way the characters faces contort and move to their speech or their mood or those two together is astonishing. It feels as though the characters are right there, in real-time, and not in a video game engine. It truly is amazing how Quantic has been able to accomplish this feat of amazing visual power with a soon to be last-gen console.

Beyond: Two Souls is a moving, wonderfully crafted work of art that stands out to be not just a great game, but a great movie that stands out as a monument for creativity. Anybody who enjoys a good story with a mix of subtle but beautifully crafted gameplay mechanics, should definitely, without a doubt buy this game, for it is a story worth discovering

Discussion

2 comments
bleedgreen2-1-5
bleedgreen2-1-5

Great review man, this review was one of the reasons I bought the game. I enjoyed Heavy Rain but I feel Beyond Two Souls was a much better game. I can truly say that I have never grown an attachment to any character like I did with Jodie. I really liked Joel and Ellie in Last of Us but until I played this I have never witnessed character development done so well, ironically Ellie from Last of Us is essentially another Ellen Page based character. Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe really put this game over the top and sold it even more, I was always excited to play it but those two really sold it to me. Everything about this game was done perfect and the final decision was a real hard one to make even though I knew I was planning on playing through this game several times so I'd see the other ending anyway. I would put this game on and next thing you know it's 3 in the morning, that's how immersed I became. Seeing the ups and downs in Jodie's life and her connection to Aiden was really something to enjoy. I beat it last night and I'm about ready to start this game for a second time today.I can honestly say this was one of the top 3 games of this passing generation and I hope that Quantic Dreams has more outings like this because they are becoming one of my favorite developers, also could there be a sequel to Beyond Two Souls? Because they left the door open and I hope so.

Great review man.

TheEveryMan
TheEveryMan

A solid and respectable user review that I enjoyed reading. I can see you were moved by the game and the messages intertwined within the storyline and characters, which is a rare thing to see these days. It's only natural that I take a dig at the competitors *Cough, COD, Cough* when I talk about this title, but it's new, it's original and it's worth the time invested in it. 

A 10? Hmm, not perfection, it would get a solid 8.5 in my personal opinion. The influences and imagery clearly owe something to film and television, and that sense of presentess, (which I don't even think is a word) isn't here, unlike in Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit.  You yourself state this doesn't feel like a game, but that's a double-edged sword, which I leave to the reader's discretion when coming across this review.

Ta-Ta