It’s not a game, it’s an interactive movie.
This is the first time I have such s difficult time deciding if I like a game or not. The game has a good story, but the actual gameplay can be quite horrible. It almost feel like I’m watching a really long movie, and sometimes I get to interact with the movie for no direct consequences. It’s a very confusing gameplay experience.
Beyond: Two Souls is about a young woman named Jodie Holmes (Ellen Page) who has a strange psychic connection with an entity called Aiden. Since she’s a little kid, Jodie has been living on the military base’s Paranormal Activity Department for close observation of her ability from researchers Nathan Dawkins (Willem Dafoe) and Cole Freeman (Kadeen Harrison). The game follows 15 years of Jodie’s life where she’s a test subject of the Paranormal Department, a CIA agent, and when she’s on the run.
However, the narration can be quite disjointed as it skips around in Jodie’s life. One chapter will be her in her twenties, the next she will be a young kid, and the one after she will be a teenager. At first the jumping narration is confusing to piece together, but then it begins to grow on me. I understand why they decide to narrate the story this way, so the gameplay won’t be too boring when Jodie is a kid. Also, this way we can piece similar life events next to each other for stronger effects.
My only problem with the story is that it can be unfocused from time to time. One moment it seems like a horror game, next it’s a sci-fi one and after that it’s like a poorly controlled shooting game. The shift of genres makes the story incohesive and distant. This is why filmmakers pick a genre and stick with it.
Despite the problems listed above, the story is still good regardless. Most of the chapters in Jodie’s life are interesting enough, we care about her right away. This is also thanks to Ellen Page’s performance. She’s perfect for Jodie, and we’re in love with her instantly. Sadly, not all the actors are utilized to their fullest potential. Willem Dafoe is simply his character from Spider-Man all over again, and I was hoping to see more of him.
Now we got the story part out of the way, let’s go into the evil part- the gameplays. The game has limited gameplay value that builds around the story. While the gameplay is similar to Heavy Rain, it lacks some of the interactions Heavy Rain provided. The primary interaction in the game now is right stick moving towards where the white dot is on the screen. The gameplay is simple enough, but it feels like it’s missing something.
The gimmick of the game is the option to control Aiden the entity. When he’s needed, Ellen will call out for help and he can interact with the surroundings with blue dots. He can process others, open locks and even chocks some enemies to death. However, despite all the useful things Aiden can do, his interactions can be quite limited to what the developers think is appropriate. It’s quite a disappointment.
The combat system is the weakest of Quantic Dream’s new control scheme. Time slows down during moments, and you must move your right stick according to where Jodie’s reacting towards. The problem is, her body language is not always easy to read, and I usually find myself ducking down when I’m supposed to jumping up, or turning right when I’m supposed to turning left. It’s not a big deal though, cause no matter how bad you screw up, there is no game over for the game.
And yes, you read that one right- there’s no game over in this game. The game gives you an illusion that your choices or mistakes matter, but that’s not the case at all. If you screw up, the game just takes longer to take your where it wants you to be that’s all. This is something unlike Heavy Rain, where a decision will actually kill off characters. I found this a big disappointment simply because the game lets you believe the decisions you made in the game actually matters.
Overall, Beyond: Two Souls is pretty decent, but not as a game, maybe as a movie. I still find it difficult and unfair to give this game a score when the story is so good, but the gameplay is so bad. So, I decide to give this game two different scores, one for the story, and one for the gameplay.
Categories: Video Game Reviews