Beyond: Two Souls Review
There was a lot of buzz around “Beyond: Two Souls,” but the real question is, did the game live up to all the hype?
I was more than a little under-whlemed playing this game, kind of the same way I felt when playing “Heavy Rain.” Quantic Dream pioneered the “Interactive Drama” genre, but there does come a time when it just isn’t enough to sustain a game.
You play as Jodie and the invisible entity that has been attached to her since birth, Aiden (pronounced I-Den. Don’t even get me started on how annoying it is to hear them constantly pronounce it that way). She is left in the care of Doctor Nathan Dawkins (Willem Dafoe) and Cole Freeman (Kadeem Hardison) at the Department of Paranormal Activity (the DPA) by her foster parents to “assist” in research into understanding and controling the Infraworld. Throughout the game you play as a little girl to a young adult working for the CIA and travel to various locations across the globe.
The game is beautiful; there is absolutely no denying that. The acting is phenomenal, even if at times Ellen Page’s Jodie seems whiney and off-putting. While the story is engaging, the order in which they decided to tell it seems confusing. I understand they were trying for a nonlinear narrative but it left the story a little muddled and confusing to the point where you might have missed the various plot holes. It kind of went this way: we start at the halfway point, then we go not to the beginning but to just before our start point. Then we move a little closer to the beginning, but then we will take the story to almost the end. The entire interactive movie went this way, and it felt as if you were watching “Memento,” but on crack.
Now, I called it an “interactive movie” because this is not a game; it is all about the story. You can move Jodie and Aiden around and interact with objects, but only to an extent. Everything else is quicktime event. This is the gist of what you can do: move to a set area and initiate the quicktime event. After the quick time event is over, you watch a movie and move to another area and another quick time event follows. THIS IS ALL YOU DO THE ENTIRE TIME.
Controls are just awful. For the most part you’re told which buttons to hit, but when you have to fight someone where you only use the right thumbstick, the “cinematic angle” becomes a hindrance. Because you are unable to see the actual angles with which they are coming at you, a lot of the times you will block or strike in the wrong direction. This happens more times than it should.
Although visually beautiful and well written, this is not a game. I really wish Quantic Dream would stop making “games” and just make movies already. Both “Heavy Rain” and “Beyond: Two Souls,” although beautiful and ground-breaking, fail to meet even the lowest expectation of a game.
Final Verdict for Beyond: Two Souls :