Review: Beyond Two Souls
This has to be one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write. Mostly because I’m still unsure how I personally feel about this game. Some things worked, some things didn’t, and some things just left me blinking at my television for answers. From watching announcements at E3 2012 up to the latest preview this year, it was truly hard to answer my customers as to what the game was about. Now that I’ve actually played it, I have a much better grasp on this game, but it still has me left with certain plot holes, frustrations, and exciting moments that have given me nothing but a wave of emotions with this story line. Before getting much farther into this review, I’d like to state that I will be organizing this in a fashion that will not take specific examples from the story as to not ruin this game for anyone wishing to complete the journey on their own.
The main protagonist of Beyond Two Souls is named Jodie Holmes. Everything in this game revolves around her and certain peaks in her timeline, which you will experience in a non-sequential order. This helps set up the gamer to really focus on key points from Jodie’s past to just before her present self. What makes Jodie so special is an entity that is connected to her in a rope like fashion named Aiden, who has been with her since birth. At a very young age, she is dropped off to a government facility and monitored by two researchers (Nathan Dawkins and Cole Freeman) who want nothing more but to understand Jodie’s entity and what she/it can do. In early adult-hood, the CIA take Jodie from the facility and into their program under the eye of an agent named Ryan Clayton.
The game play for this was nothing like I had expected. To me, the previews setting up this game showed something of an action adventure game like The Last of Us. Granted, I had never played anything that Quantic Dream had made and am still interested in giving Heavy Rain a try, but have now just purchased a Playstation 3. This game is based on a bunch of quick time events that have a hand in setting the story into certain directions, which could generate great replay value for some gamers. I honestly don’t even know if you can die in this game based on the fact that if you “fail” a few quick time challenges in a row, you just have to go about a level in a different way. Trust me when I say I sometimes had Jodie get the crap beat out of her just because my reflexes were too jumpy and I chose the wrong way for her to dodge or punch, and never once did I die.
By far the most impressive thing that this game has is its the graphics and animation. I had done a good amount of research into how they were capturing the emotion/movement that the characters would be going through. Even if I hadn’t seen all the extra touches they had done with motion capture, I would have been able to feel it with each passing frame this game had. Constantly, I was trying to get Grant’s attention at the screen (even though he was watching it the whole time) just because I was that excited at how well this game had caught human nature. Besides just being able to see a character’s facial expression so vividly, they even added little quirks like how children swing their arms to and fro as they walk sometimes just because. It’s little moments like that that truly make you appreciate all the effort they put into the characters in this game.
Over all, I really can’t tell you if this game is worth the full retail price or if you should wait until it’s a little cheaper. It definitely has a story that is worth playing through and talking about with friends, but the game play and certain plot holes did lose me at times. I wish I could go into more detail about what I mean, but that would mean spoilers. I’m more than confident that I’ll be able to really lean into my opinion on a future podcast once other members of Geeks With Wives have completed the game. This game is beautiful and unique. It has multiple ways of experiencing it and even gives you the choice of two endings, which also can be viewed in multiple ways. If you are looking for a game that involves you not worrying about life and is just focused on immersing you into a fictional universe with twists and turns, then this is the game for you.