Beyond: Two Souls stars Ellen Page as a young girl named Jodie. The story revolves around her life, from childhood to adulthood, as she struggles with the fact that she is tied to a ghostly entity named Aiden. Jodie is taken care of by a team of scientists lead by Nathan, played by Willem Dafoe. The rest of the cast isn’t as notable, but does a great job. And while the story is told out of order, jumping loosely around, it successfully builds character setting up an emotional ride and an air of mystery. It has its cheesy, oddball moments, but it’s engaging nonetheless.
The game controls similarly to Quantic Dream’s last game, Heavy Rain. Players can interact with the environment to either add depth to the story, or to solve puzzles. Aiden can also be controlled at the whim, furthering interaction. For example, Aiden can posses people in order to, say, unlock a door. While figuring out the way can be a bit obscure at times, the game does a good job contextually telling players what to do. There’s a lot of variety in each episode as well. One moment Jodie will simply be playing at her house, interacting with objects, and the next she’s on a stealth mission akin to Metal Gear Solid. Some of the ideas in these segments are worthy of spin-off games. They’re flawed, but innovative.
If there’s one thing people can’t deny when playing Beyond, it’s the graphics. The voice acting and motion capture look Beyond amazing and the music captures every emotion and epic moment. The game has a very cinematic feel thanks to the camera angles, which makes controlling Jodie a hassle sometimes. Dark lighting can add to the inability to control her, or Aiden correctly, which is frustrating, but not problematic. Beyond feels like a HBO mini series that, admittedly, could have used trimming as well. David Cage, the director, is a talented, but flawed, visionary.
Beyond: Two Souls is undoubtedly one the PS3’s best exclusive masterpieces. The graphics alone are leaps and bounds above what PS4 and Xbox One games look like, proving the PS3 still has life left in it. It won’t appeal to everyone, but for those looking for something truly unique, don’t look Beyond this one.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on November 22, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.