Entertainment media has changed a lot over the years with the line between video games and movies as a means of telling a compelling story is growing thinner and thinner the further we go into the future. Quantic Dream wants to thin the line even more with their games. But is having a cinematic movie experience in a video game truly a way to tackle this or does it end up becoming the lesser of both worlds? Here's our review of Beyond: Two Souls.
Jodie, a girl with a spirit entity attached to her since she was a child. And Aiden, the said spirit entity.
The story is told in a non-linear fashion shown via chapters on a timeline which you see during loading screens between said chapters. While this method of story telling may sound intriguing, it felt as if it was done to make the overall story much more interesting than it actually is.
Because of this, the pacing between chapters can be a bit jarring as events can start from something as intense as a chase segment against the police on a moving train to a very slow segment such as preparing dinner.
Another issue with the story telling is the lack of character development for most of the cast. Characters who you thought were insignificant turn out to be big players in the scenes to follow but with no build up whatsoever.
Controls are simple enough with free walk movement using the left analog stick as opposed to the tank-style controls present in Quantic Dream's previous game, Heavy Rain. Though I sometimes wished that Jodie had a run button. Interaction is done with the right stick when Jodie is close enough to the prompts. The prompts are for the most part very vague in what you are interacting with and how
Controls are simple enough with the left stick for movement and the right stick for interaction. The thing is, Jodie moves at a snail's pace through out most of the game. Awkward turning animations and invisible walls have led to me getting stuck in a few places from time to time. A run button would've been nice. With Aiden being a ghostly figure, the perspective shifts to first person as you float around the environment. You can phase through objects and walls.. But not all walls. Also, the distance from which Aiden can fly away from Jodie varies depending on the stage and situation. So if the game doesn't want you to go there, not even your ghostly powers can make a difference.
Quick time events are done differently here than in most games in a sense that there are no button promts. Instead, time will slow down and you have to push the right stick in the direction that you think Jodie is moving. It's great when it works but is confusing and frustrating when it doesn't.
The game wants you to think that your choices make a difference. While some will change the outcome of a few scenes, they ultimately don't affect the main story. At least not until the last 20% of the game.
Though I did end up enjoying the story, it took way too long to get to that point and I don't see myself playing through this game again.
Beyond: Two Souls - 5/10
- Story gets interesting past the halfway point
- Strong endings
- Top notch acting and motion capture
- Unclear interaction icons
- Knowing that Jodie can't die removes the tension from gameplay
- Most choices don't affect the overall story