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Beyond: Two Souls review: an interactive experience you won't want to miss

on 8 October 2013

As a tear rolled down my cheek, it all began to make sense. The roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, presented via a mish-mash of out-of-sequence stages throughout the life of the vulnerable, yet incredibly strong, lead character, Jodie Holmes, had eventually led me to one of the finest video game endings of this generation. Though it was slow to get there (and I often questioned why I was forced to carry out seemingly meaningless Heavy Rain-like gestures, such as gathering hay for a horse at a ranch owned by ancestors of the Navajo tribe, cooking a romantic chicken curry in my lush city apartment for a work colleague, or dancing alone at a teenager’s party that I didn't even want to be at), it turns out that it was all part of the master plan: Quantic Dream’s director David Cage was taking me on a journey; and what a journey it was.

The conclusion to Beyond: Two Souls just seems so fitting and poignant at this particular time, when we sit at the birth of the next generation of consoles and the impending decline of the PlayStation 3. Maybe, just maybe, part of that tear I shed was because Beyond: Two Souls is the last big blockbuster exclusive before my PS3 gets shoved away in a cupboard to make way for the PlayStation 4. Whatever the case, the twist, the reveal and the immersive storytelling, which eventually leads to one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever had to make in a video game, has made for a truly memorable interactive movie that will stay with me for a long time.

The main focus of Beyond is Jodie Holmes and a mysterious entity that floats and moves around while connected to her by an invisible cord. Jodie is a special child and through Aiden (who is also a controllable character via single player or co-op mode), she can perform a variety of supernatural tricks, such as flipping over tables, possessing people and communicating with the spirit world. The game follows Jodie through stages of her turbulent life, switching randomly between the ages of 8 and 23 as you see a re-enactment of important stages that have shaped her character, including the time she spent locked up in in a secure government facility where they monitored her supernatural abilities and the tough decisions she had to make during her career in the C.I.A.

Continued overleaf...