Beyond: Two Souls review: an interactive experience you won't want to miss
- Posted October 8th, 2013 at 11:00 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Beyond: Two Souls is so unique, powerful and engaging that it's easy to forgive some of its gameplay flaws. Quite simply, a stunning production.
- Visually it's in a different league to many games on PS3. Stunning facial animation and locations.
- Great characters, great plot, excellent twists and a fitting conclusion.
- The action sequences are superb and switching between Jodie and Aiden delivers a unique mechanic.
- Some interactions are over excessive and gameplay plods along on occasions
- The action sequences are so good, we would have liked to have seen more.
The major change from Cage’s previous games is the fact that you also control Aiden and can switch to him at almost any time throughout the campaign to help you out. When I played the earlier Beyond: Two Souls preview code, controlling Aiden was much more of a non-linear experience where you could move around environments freely to explore and interact with objects. However, Beyond is now a much more linear experience than I expected. In first-person view, Aiden moves around attached to Jodie by a cord, and it’s simply a case of looking out for orange-coloured blobs. You tap the bumper and you immediately move to that position to get a different view of your surroundings. Then, you look out for blue markers, which indicate Aiden can interact with something.
It’s a lot of fun experimenting with Aiden’s powers, which include scaring people by knocking over objects, reading their minds to trigger a flashback, and totally possessing a character, which then allows you to walk around in their shoes. The latter is the most fun, as you can possess people in order to get past groups of guards, warp into the body of a sniper to take out enemies on the ground, or possess a government employee in order to bypass security and escape from a research facility. Aiden is often called on for help to heal Jodie and help her out of a situation, but you can also cause a bit of mischief with him just for the pure fun of it. Using both analog sticks to perform Aiden’s actions is extremely intuitive, too, and the rumbling of the DualShock controller as you interact with objects and people once again serves to draw you into the game by making a physical connection between Aiden’s powers and the game world.
Beyond is also about player choice, and though you physically follow a linear path throughout the game, only deviating with Aiden to search for bonus unlockables, you’ll be faced with a variety of decisions, some of which just affect the dialogue at that particular time and others that have a bigger impact. There are some choices you need to make purely for the fun of it, allowing you to shape Jodie’s personality by deciding, for example, whether to snog the guy who has just approached you at a party, but there’re also moments where choice really does matter. Will you leave your apartment in a mess prior to a dinner date? What dress will you wear? It’s this level of player choice that makes Beyond feel like a very personal experience that inevitably leads you to feeling some sort of bond and care for Jodie.
Beyond isn’t without its frustrating moments. A few technical hiccups where interactive spots can be hard to find, or disappear for a short while, have left me trapped in an area for much longer than I hoped, while interactions for the most mundane of things can be excessive. Nevertheless, come the final curtain, you'll almost certainly be impressed by what’s been achieved. Beyond: Two Souls is as much an experience as it is a game with cinematic production to rival Hollywood movies, strong storytelling, solid characters and some brilliant interactive sequences. Without doubt, it’s up there with my favourite games of this console generation. Not only is Beyond: Two Souls the best-looking game to have ever graced PS3, but it’s also a very powerful and evocative drama that wouldn’t be out of place on the big screen. You need this game in your life.