FutureFive NZ - Review: Beyond: Two Souls

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Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls is the latest game from the creative mind of David Cage.

His previous game called Heavy Rain was critically acclaimed thanks to its excellent storyline and unique gameplay.

Beyond: Two Souls is similar to Heavy Rain in a lot of ways, although it adds elements of its own too to make the experience different.

With Heavy Rain, the game had a realistic setting as you were tasked to solve a series of kidnapping/murders. Beyond: Two Souls goes the supernatural route as Jodie Holmes (the main character) has a ghostly entity attached to her that is named Aiden.

The best thing about Aiden is that he’s a ghost that becomes playable whenever you press the triangle button.

Controlling Aiden is without a doubt the best feature of the entire game. Aiden can go through walls, move around objects, kill people and even take control of their bodies. Aiden does have some limitations since he cannot drift too far away from Jodie.

Not to mention the game won’t allow you to freely do whatever you want with Aiden either. You normally have to explore around until you see a blue dot on the screen before you can control Aiden’s actions.

The premise of the entire game is unique since the journey that Jodie goes through isn’t what you normally see in a video game. This isn’t your usual hero’s journey where the main character has to save world by shooting and fighting through lots of bad guys.

No, there’s something deeper about Beyond: Two Souls that makes it more intriguing than most other video game or movie out there. Players will have to experience Jodie’s life as a kid until adulthood where she has to find answers about Aiden, the world and even herself.

As the player, you will help Jodie find these answers, but you will also get to see some of the hardships that she faces by having a ghostly figure by her side at all times.

Much like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls has an excellent and unpredictable storyline. I don’t want spoil too much of the story, but it’s gripping and exciting for the majority of the time.

It’s one of the few games where you’ll actually care about the characters and start to feel sorry for them. You’ll also get angry at some of the actions of other characters in the game too. My mom and sister (who don’t play games) watched me play this game as they were hooked onto the story as well.

When you have two non-video gamers interested in a video game, you know the story is of a high quality. Some may disagree with me, but I enjoyed this game’s story more than The Last of Us.

One of the things that make this game so enjoyable is the fact that there is a lot of replay value on offer here. If you only play the game once, you haven’t fully seen all of the other scenarios that could occur in the game.

There are multiple decisions that you can make during each of the chapters that could lead to different outcomes. Exploring numerous outcomes you missed out before becomes really addictive once you unlock all of the chapters in the game.

There are also (by my count) five different endings that you can view as well. I obviously won’t say much about the endings, but they are all entertaining to watch.

There are other incentives to play through the game more than once other than seeing the different outcomes unfold. You can also find and collect bonuses in each level that unlock goodies such as behind the scenes videos and more.

The character models are one of the most realistic I’ve ever seen from a video game since L.A. Noire. Ellen Page (who plays Jodie) looks (and acts) phenomenal in this game.

Sometimes it may feel like you’re actually watching a movie more than playing a video game. Willem Dafoe (who plays Nathan) plays his role really well too and his wrinkly face is rendered to perfection here.

Although I did not know the actors who played the other characters, they acted their parts excellently as well. The actors really help you get immersed into the story as their performances are engaging and very realistic. This isn’t the type of game where the characters are bland and lack any emotion…

You wouldn’t think a game like this will have an offline co-op mode, but it does. A second player can join in and control Aiden while the other player is Jodie. If somehow you get stuck and don’t know what to do, you can call your friend to help you out.

It’s a nice touch to the game, since it lets a second player get involved rather than just letting them sit on the sidelines.

The one thing I didn’t like about the game is that Jodie’s life isn’t played out in the correct order. The story would have been easier to follow and be more suspenseful if you were to play the chapters in the correct order.

No, the chapters are all muddled up and sometimes you’ll be confused as to when and where things happen in the timeline because of this random way of storytelling.

For example, you start off the game seeing Jodie as an adult, and then you play her as a child, then you are an adult again and then back to a teenager and so on.

There’s actually a storyline reason why the chapters are all muddled up, although it’s still kind of random how the game is set out this way. You could always replay the chapters again, and see how events fit into the timeline if you somehow get confused.

There are certain chapters in the game that are longer and less exciting than others. Sometimes Jodie will settle down in one place and do “normal” things.

When I played the game the first time, some of these events felt slow and I wanted to her to focus on the main storyline instead. By the end of the game, you’ll get to understand why some of the parts are slow because you’re supposed to connect with certain characters more than others.

Still, I did feel kind of bored when Jodie had to do chores on a farm. I play video games to avoid doing chores in real life; I don’t want to do them in a video game…

Overall though, Beyond: Two Souls is another entertaining and great game from David Cage. The story is excellent and engaging throughout and the acting is superb.

Graphically, the character models are realistic and it’s amazing the aging PS3 can still produce visuals like this. The fact that you are able to control a ghost is something you won’t find in any other video game which makes Beyond: Two Souls a unique experience.

Not to mention there’s a lot of replay value on offer here too thanks to the multiple scenarios you can explore.

The game only has minor flaws, but these aren’t enough to ruin what is essentially one of the best games released this year.

Graphics: 9.0
Gameplay: 9.0
Sound: 8.0
Lasting Appeal: 9.0

Overall: 9.0

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