Beyond to Souls Review
Would we recommend you go out and buy Beyond: Two Souls? Well, that’s a catch. If you like fast paced action games and want to feel the adrenaline rush when you jab your controller, this is not the game for you. This is a game for those who want to sit back, have really simple onscreen controls and want to see a story unfold in front of them. The only problem is that this story takes 10 hours to run and there is not enough entertainment to keep you engrossed in the gameplay. It takes a while for the story to be created but most gamers will drop their controller long before it happens. If you don’t mind quicktime control throughout the entire game and are ready to sit in on a 10-hour long story that would be better described in a two-hour movie, go ahead and enjoy the game. If not, we recommend that you invest your money elsewhere.
Beyond to Souls detailed review
With the advancement of technology gaming has become more cinematic in nature. The game shows your emotional character and the graphical capabilities of the gaming hardware make these animations look believable. We’ve seen a lot of games with animated characters that give you a sense of control by liking the gameplay. Games like Heavy Rain, Mass Effect and more give you a sense of control over the progress of the story and your choices are important to how the story unfolds.
Beyond: Two Souls is the latest addition to the cinematic action game genre with a difference. Simply put, the makers of Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream) have created another cinematic masterpiece but in this case the gameplay is less. The story is compelling enough to take you to the next chapter but the gameplay feels like a series of fast-paced events with slow battles.
Starting with the story of the game, you play the role of Jodi and play through multiple events in her life in a nonlinear chronology. You start with his childhood, go to him as a young adult, go back to him as a teenager, play as a child, and so on. Jodi is a baby with a gift. He has a strange emotional connection with a mysterious being called Aiden. She is taken to the Paranormal Activity Department where Nathan Dawkins teaches her how to control the entity. He joined the CIA, helped the homeless and even fled to try to lead a “normal” life. The game’s nonlinear storyline confuses you at first but as the story progresses; Pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.
The story of the situation you are in gives you multiple responses and results You can choose to be honest in a conversation, to avoid it, or to be rude The choices you make throughout the game affect the final result The game has multiple endings, and depending on the choices you make, if you’re interested in seeing how the situation unfolds in different situations, the game is worth a second game and maybe even a third, depending on if you feel comfortable with the gameplay and control.
Without wasting any time, I would like to say that the story starts slowly and at times feels like a Hollywood “B-flick”, but when the puzzle pieces start to fall into place, you are compelled to watch. What a twist at the end of the next cut scene.
If the story of Beyond: Two Souls is his strong point, then the gameplay is his weakest and that is not a good thing. If you’ve been playing Heavy Rain (the latest venture of Quantum Dreams on PS3), you’ll feel at home with the gameplay. If not here’s a new product just for you!
Control the pair with the left analog stick to get you started and it feels a bit lazy. Jodie takes forever to navigate the environment, and it’s only when the action starts that she starts to run and we hope that during other gameplay situations we would have given her the option to run. The right stick is used for relevant actions and battles. A prominent white dot will appear on the screen where an action can be performed, say to investigate a dead body, pull a lever here and open a door there and so on. The thing is, it takes quite a while to get used to getting the relevant controls right, so there is an initial feeling of frustration while playing the game.
The same can be said of war. Here, Jodi performs the fight himself. When player input is required, time slows down for a second and you need to push the correct analog stick in the right direction to perform the relevant action. If you miss, Jodie gets hurt.
The rest of the work, such as breaking a window and going out or opening a closed door or climbing through a broken fence, etc., are all fast-paced events. You get a button prompt on the screen and you have to press it sequentially or tap on that one button to perform the action. The game also uses the PlayStation 3’s Six Axis Controller, which means you throw your arm up and down in the air to perform onscreen actions.
We’ve seen a lot of games like God of War, Uncharted and many more fast-paced events, but it’s just a cinematic event to give the player a sense of control and make it feel fun. But in the case of Beyond: Two Souls, the full gameplay is a series of fast-paced events with a series of analog stick noses to fight. It does not have the ability to hold the player for long periods of time.
Jodi is not the only playable character in the game. You also have control over Aiden, the entity that is always present with Jodi. Aiden could take a bit to get used to controlling. You use the left stick to navigate and the right, simple FPS control to steer. Since Aiden is floating in mid-air, you have the ability to use the R1 buttons to move her up and the R2 buttons to lower her. This is convenient, especially during vertical gameplay.
Aiden also has a set of capabilities that he can perform with two analog sticks. You can pull both sticks back and forth to hit objects, leave doors open and much more. You also have the ability to push the sticks inwards to remove the opponent and to capture your enemies. These actions though are contextually sensitive and you cannot randomly acquire a guard or kill someone depending on your will and novelty.
Switching between Aiden and Jodi can be done seamlessly by pressing a button at any time during the game. But there are sensitive moments in the story where you can’t control Aiden and in some situations where you only play as Aiden for a while. As for Aiden, you can’t travel as far as you want. There is a link between Jodi and Aiden and the distance you can travel is limited. If you ever get lost and can’t find a way back to the pair, there’s a purple link that connects Aiden to the pair. You can follow it at any time.
Overall, the gameplay mechanics are good at times, but they’re too slow for regular gaming sessions. Jodi feels uncomfortable controlling and you can get shaky during battle by simply tapping the analog stick on the wrong side. It may take some time to get used to the “enemy possessor” sessions controlled by Aiden and there is nothing to entertain you here for long.
Graphics and sound
The graphics of the game are where Beyond: Two Souls really shines. You have Ellen Page and Willem Daffo in the role of Jodi. Nathan Dawkins. The game’s voice acting and motion capture is spectacular and during cut scenes where relevant story elements are revealed, you can’t help but tilt down the controller and watch the action like a movie. Star cast really put on a show that is no less than what you saw in their best movie performances.
The game looks best on the 8-year-old PS3, which is as long as God of War, Uncharted 3, The Last of Us and many more. From the snow-covered town, to a burning house and lab, to the streets of the suburban house, the game is great to watch.
Whether it’s an attempt to capture motion, navigate the environment, battle or just a genre conversation between characters, the game looks good.
Would we recommend you go out and buy Beyond: Two Souls? Well, that’s a catch. If you like fast paced action games and want to feel the adrenaline rush when you jab your controller, then this is not the game for you. This is a game for those who want to sit back, have really simple onscreen controls and want to see a story unfold in front of them. The only problem is that this story takes 10 hours to run and there is not enough entertainment to keep you engrossed in the gameplay. It takes a while for the story to be created but most gamers will drop their controller long before it happens.
If you don’t mind quicktime control throughout the entire game and are ready to sit down to a 10-hour long story that would be better described in a two-hour movie, go ahead and enjoy the game. If not, we suggest you invest your money elsewhere.
Developer: Quantum Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment