The road to the release of Beyond: Two Souls has been an interesting one. I first saw the game during E3 2012 and was intrigued. Ellen Page made her debut as the internally tortured Jodie Holmes. In our initial introduction, it appeared that Jodie could either control or was being followed by some supernatural force. However, it seemed that the other ‘Ellen Page game’, The Last of Us, stole the spotlight. (Yes, we are well aware that Ellen Page was NOT Ellie in TLOU.)
As we found out more, it was apparent that Beyond: Two Souls was going to be David Cage’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain and for the most part appeared to be another interactive cinematic thriller. Aiden, the supernatural entity that seems to accompany Jodie was introduced and we quickly learned acts as the primary interaction piece within the game.
The concept sounded cool but would this be more of the same or truly a groundbreaking experience?
There really isn’t a direct answer for that type of question, to be honest. It turns out that Beyond: Two Souls isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s cinematic presentation and story both prove be its strongest and weakest points, depending on who you are talking to. In fact, it seems that the more hardcore gamers seem to think that Beyond: Two Souls‘ action sequences seem to stretch from David Cage’s wheelhouse and forcibly emulate other popular titles. On the other side of things, those that seem to be able to appreciate it as an interactive movie seem to feel that the characters within this story are incredible well developed and the violent twists and turns seem to continue to draw the ‘player’ into the mix. Both sides feel that dialogue can be forced at times and Cage’s natively French language barrier may actually have something to do with this.
David Cage strives to be the Martin Scorsese of the video game medium and just watching the camera angles or dynamic shots that take place in Beyond: Two Souls, it is apparent that he is entering his own strides within Beyond. If Heavy Rain is Cage’s Raging Bull, then Beyond: Two Souls is easily his Casino. While it may not be the most positively received title under David Cage’s belt, it will be considered ‘important’ by far. It will be the topic of discussion for years to come, and as titles like Quantum Break challenge the genre that Cage has laid claim to, he will continually show everyone else how it is done.
One thing is for certain, Beyond: Two Souls absolutely sets the bar for presentation. Graphically, the characters within this world look mostly realistic and some of the sets in which the game takes place are absolutely stunning. If there is a game that we will be able to look back on and see the maximum potential of the PlayStation 3, Beyond: Two Souls will be that title. As far as audio goes, the game strives to set an amazing tone with the soundtrack and effects seem to be edited as exactly as you would see during a movie. The only hiccup that you will encounter is some of the questionable script choices for the voice actors. Also, teeth.
The game play elements within Beyond: Two Souls are fairly (and sometimes painfully) linear and easily offset by the introduction to numerous Quick Time Events that can absolutely catch the player off guard. Outside of these events, there is little to no challenge in actually advancing the storyline and game play seems to be a short term macguffin to the bigger picture of the cinematic story.