(PlayStation 3)

Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3)

Game Review

Beyond: Two Souls Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Sammy Barker

Soul searcher

Beyond: Two Souls is a game that you should play. It may not immediately endear itself to everyone, but Quantic Dream’s ambitious excursion into the otherworld is an experience that deserves to be sampled at least once. This is a daring adventure that’s not afraid to delve into the aspects of life that the medium is often eager to ignore, and while it falls short of its lofty aspirations on occasion, it very much makes the equally innovative Heavy Rain look like a dress rehearsal. As far as console swansongs go, director David Cage’s spiritual slice of interactive cinema could not be more unique, delivering a tense, often moving, and frequently flawed journey through a distressed mind.

Relayed through a series of fragmented memories, you assume the role of Jodie Holmes, a troubled individual linked to an entity known only as Aiden. This unearthly association forms the foundation of the narrative, as the uneasy alliance defines the protagonist’s life. Picked up by the Department of Paranormal Activities, the orphan bonds with a kindly scientist named Nathan Dawkins, and the plot goes on to detail the biography of the haunted heroine from adolescence through to adulthood. However, due to the unorthodox narrative technique, you’ll never truly understand the full extent of the story until the credits roll – and even then, your choices throughout mean that your conclusion may differ greatly to that of a friend’s.

Nevertheless, it’s this constant sense of mystery that will lock you into the plot from the baffling beginning right through to the enlightening ending. While the Parisian developer has been criticised for constructing poorly paced experiences in the past, it appears to have happened upon a much more agreeable balance here. Much like its predecessors, this is still a fairly lethargic affair in places, where you’ll find yourself spending large chunks of time merely interacting with inane objects in order to further the narrative, but these extended sequences of deliberate activity are often contrasted by enormous set pieces that would make even Sony Santa Monica smile. The game’s quest for action does come at the expense of its very personal focus in places, but it’s hard not to get swept up in the sheer spectacle of it all.

That the developer’s managed to pull off some of the game’s more extravagant scenes on hardware that’s nearing its seventh anniversary is nothing short of breathtaking at times. While it’s only been a handful of months since The Last of Us scooped up innumerable plaudits for its outstanding visual fidelity, Jodie Holmes’ global excursion comfortably removes the Naughty Dog release from its graphical perch. This feels like a next generation title, with character animation that is leagues ahead of anything else on the market. The game not only improves upon L.A. Noire’s staggering facial replication techniques, but it marries the technology with performance capture that makes the cast feel genuinely real. There may be a few clipping issues or sloppily tied cycles in places, but the overall achievement is so impressive that it’s easy to forgive a few minor mishaps.

The technology alone is not the only major achievement, though, as the performances by Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe stand out in an industry that’s often ridiculed for its stilted and emotionless story sequences. Both actors pour their heart and souls into their respective alter egos, and the supporting cast is equally accomplished as well. It’s remarkable that we’ve reached a point where even the slightest inflexions on a character’s face can convey meaning, but Quantic Dream has managed to traverse that challenge with apparent ease; there are moments throughout the campaign where very few words are spoken, but the narrative is furthered nonetheless.

It’s unfortunate, then, that despite the technological achievements, the developer still couldn’t quite settle on a single theme to explore. If there’s a narrative flaw in the French outfit’s latest release it’s that it tries to do too much. The storyline awkwardly meanders between horror, sci-fi, romance, and more, never really lingering on a single genre long enough to make a meaningful impact. The plot particularly struggles when it attempts to step outside of Holmes’ personal tale, flirting with blockbuster brands such as James Bond as it clumsily depicts undercover military side stories and more. You will groan at some of the twists that Cage takes you on throughout the course of the title’s ten hour campaign – but somehow the luminary always manages to steer the story back to somewhere interesting before it fully falls off the rails.

The strongest moments come when the emphasis is on the lead character. There are a number of tender instances throughout the adventure that will give you goosebumps, as you interact with the game in a way that contrasts virtually everything that’s come before it. One scene, for example, sees you attending a condescending teenager’s birthday party, where the underage drinking takes an inevitable turn for the worse. Another lengthy sequence sees you preparing for a date, as you’re coaxed into cleaning your upmarket city apartment while Aiden attempts to scupper your plans. These slow passages are certain to prove divisive among impatient players, but the obsessively precise interactivity coupled with Ellen Page’s revealing monologues makes them infinitely more touching than the heavy-handed action encounters.

And it’s through the authority that the experience affords you that the narrative manages to resonate so profoundly. More often than not, this is little more than merely an illusion – the plot will branch before reconnecting at a pre-defined place – but there are pivotal points throughout the campaign where your actions will have a sizeable implication on the way the narrative proceeds. For example, one section sees you attempting to fend off an encroaching gaggle of government agents. Take them all out, and you’ll escape from your predicament without a problem, but get captured and the story will fork, taking you to an alternate scene where you’ll need to perform a new set of actions in order to progress. The end result is almost always the same, but you are in charge of getting there.

Considering the complexity of this approach, it’s impressive that the campaign manages to slot together with any sense of cohesion at all. Compared to Heavy Rain, however, the game feels much more tightly bound. There are still plot holes, contrivances, and moments that will make you raise an eyebrow in disbelief, but these are on the whole much less offensive than in the studio’s previous games. You will uncover the seams of the story if you specifically look for it, but accept a few leaps of logic and you’ll reach the conclusion of the adventure intellectually unscathed.

It’s these dubious developments that will prove a sticking point for some, though, and coupled with the general lack of familiar gameplay, the title is certain to split opinion. Quantic Dream has made a lot of commotion about the removal of quick time events from its latest title, but while the bluster isn’t entirely without merit, it’s a little overblown. The biggest change here compared to its PS3 exclusive predecessor is the removal of button prompts from the world. While you’ll still need to tap corresponding icons during speech segments, these overbearing options have been stripped from general play, replaced by a versatile white dot which rests upon items that you can interact with. Pushing the right analogue stick towards it triggers a contextual animation, allowing you to examine objects with swift and simple motions. But while this is a more tactile solution, it doesn’t really change the flow of the game, as you’ll still wander from one delicately detailed environment to the next, hunting for the right items to further the plot.

That doesn’t mean that the developer hasn’t invested significant effort into increasing the interactivity of the game, though. Not only are the locations now significantly larger – including a dreamy desert ranch that you’re free to explore at one point – but you also almost always have access to Aiden, the spiritual entity that’s linked to the protagonist throughout the entire campaign. The phantom can be accessed by tapping the triangle button, which transports you to a first-person viewpoint of the world. Using the ghoulish accomplice, you can target objects and people by holding down the L1 trigger and pushing and pulling the analogue sticks in different directions. This allows you to break various bits and pieces, possess non-playable characters, and relive memories.

The spectre is free to move through walls as well, though the tether between it and the heroine prevents you from staying too far away. In truth, the game limits your traversal quite a lot, outright blocking you from breaching some areas that appear within reach. While it does seem odd that Aiden is unable to explore some rooms and not others, it’s no less perplexing than the fact that 95 per cent of the buildings in Grand Theft Auto V cannot actually be entered. Unfortunately, this is merely a consequence of budget restrictions, and considering the amount of artistic attention that’s been poured into each and every environment, it’s not especially surprising here.

In fact, while the character animations are undoubtedly the highlight, the moment-to-moment visuals in Quantic Dream’s latest release are nothing short of staggering. Each of the locations feel lived in, with a tremendous amount of thought and attention devoted to each individual item and ornament. Impressively, because the game occurs over the course of a number of years, you actually see some of the environments evolve, as the infantile Jodie transforms into a teenage tearaway, and the inclusion of heavy metal posters in her room bolster the transition. All of the animations are completely contextual, too, meaning that the main character moves differently when she’s a stroppy youngster compared to a more mature adult. The little details help to sell the fiction, and while there’s never an enormous amount to do in a single sequence, you will still find yourself engrossed as you soak up as much of the scenery as possible.

Not that you’ll always have the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds, however, as there are a couple of chapters that demand your urgency. It’s in these sections that the game best resembles a more traditional affair, though it still very much maintains its own unique identity. One lengthy act, for example, takes you to Somalia, where you must infiltrate a well-guarded warlord’s base. To do this you must use a combination of stealth and offence, employing Aiden as an aide to help distract guards, possess them, or outright smother them in cases. This does provide the basis for some very straightforward puzzles, but the game often guides you through these conundrums. There’s a distinct lack of urgency throughout, as like in Heavy Rain, the game doesn’t end when you make a mistake. However, you’ll quickly realise that Jodie’s safety hinges on the plot coming to a satisfactory conclusion, and that means that you never really feel in danger like in the aforementioned game. In most cases, making a mistake will result in a fight sequence or the heroine decisively dashing back behind cover while she rues her own recklessness.

It’s a contrived solution, but arguably no more so than a misplaced game over screen. Nevertheless, the restricted repercussions are perhaps most prominent during the heavy action sequences, which also discard the divisive quick time events. Instead, the game frequently slows down during these occasions, providing you with a short window to mimic the protagonist’s momentum. For example, if she’s swinging a punch to the right, you must quickly copy that motion, or the set-piece will branch in a different direction. It works, but it’s not always clear what the game actually wants you to do, so you will make unexpected mistakes at times. Alas, a lot of the title’s appeal is making spur of the moment decisions that you may regret, and the release does do a great job of making you feel under pressure.

The overall presentation accentuates this sense of stress, employing excellent camera effects that make it difficult to grasp exactly what’s happening on screen in places, while the audio flits between heartfelt orchestral motifs and pacey, driving melodies. Despite the untimely passing of original composer Normand Corbeil – who the release is touchingly dedicated to – replacement Lorne Balfe has managed to construct a score fitting of the late musician’s legacy, and it’s undeniably one of the game’s strongest assets. In truth, the audio presentation is exceptional throughout, augmenting a great sense of atmosphere as you splash through puddles and click across tiled floors in daring high heels.

But in spite of the outrageously impressive production values, this is not a short lived experience. A single playthrough will last you at least ten hours, with multiple runs encouraged if you want to explore the various branching paths. There are also secret items to uncover which provide a little more background on the game’s production process, in addition to the possibility of downloadable expansions in the future. Elsewhere, an interesting addition allows you to play in co-op with a friend, with smartphones and tablets supported as basic input devices for those not familiar with the complexities of the DualShock 3.

Conclusion

Beyond: Two Souls’ imperfections don’t necessarily add to the title’s appeal, but this is still a game that you should experience irrespective of its flaws. While the plot takes a number of questionable turns, the outrageously ambitious subject matter, coupled with the release’s downright staggering technological achievements, make Quantic Dream’s current generation opus worth examining all the same.

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User Comments (61)

TOMBOY25

#1

TOMBOY25 said:

this just got a 4/10 on videogamer.com !

EDIT: and a 6/10 from ign, jeez looks like it may do poor in sales.

get2sammybAdmin

#2

get2sammyb said:

@TOMBOY25 Yes, I'm not surprised. This is going to prove very divisive. That's one of the best things about it, though - it's something different. You've never played anything like this before, aside from maybe Heavy Rain. And it's massively more ambitious than that.

TOMBOY25

#3

TOMBOY25 said:

@get2sammyb i really enjoyed the demo i'll pick it up later tho this year ive gotta afford KZ:Shadowfall, COD:Ghosts, Driveclub, Pokemon x , phoenix wright dual destinys, mario 3d world, and Watch dogs all on my grand budget of £27......anyone fancy a kidney.....anyone ?

MadchesterManc

#4

MadchesterManc said:

Ive got it preordered and Im not regretting it one bit. Cant wait for release! Quantic Dreams games are like marmite after all, you either love them or hate em. Personally Id take one of these type of titles over the likes of GTA any day of the week. All I needed to hear is that its more compelling than Heavy Rain, which sounds about right from @get2sammyb review. Nicely done.

Savino

#5

Savino said:

GTAO is killing my free time!! I will pick this one when I put this cocaine aside!!

Which, with some dlc, could be never.... (Read GTAVI)

Splat

#6

Splat said:

I just picked up my copy and my voucher code for my pre-order bonus won't work... I know I'm typing it in right.

ZeD

#10

ZeD said:

Nice review @get2sammyb - I think this game may struggle to get the sales it needs. The demo was very good & I loved Heavy Rain. But I feel it might have the same issue for me as The Hobbit. I loved Lord of the Rings & I should love the Hobbit just as much, but I don't; I just like it.. So I feel that I may like Beyond but not love it as much as Heavy Rain.

Splat

#11

Splat said:

From the PS Blog.

“If you received your Special Edition for pre-ordering at GameStop, please note that all the extras included on the voucher code will be live after today’s PlayStation Store update this afternoon.”

:)

get2sammybAdmin

#13

get2sammyb said:

@MadchesterManc It's arguably less focused than Heavy Rain, but dramatically more ambitious. It's hard to really compare the two directly because they're so different. If you're drawn to the concept, you should definitely hold onto that pre-order.

@Legendaryboss Yeah, I suspect that it'll be very divisive among players, too. It's not perfect, but I think if you can overlook a few narrative missteps, it's a very interesting game.

@ZeD I don't know about sales. Everyone thought Heavy Rain would flop and it ended up doing very well. I just hope that the people constantly campaigning for something different give it a chance, because this is a very unique release.

@Splat Awesome. I've ordered the special edition, too. What bonus content do you get again? I really want the soundtrack.

@ShogunRok Told you - though I expected the bottom-end of the scores to go lower. I thought we'd see some 3/10s, but I think the lowest I've seen so far is 4/10. There's still time yet.

Kodeen

#14

Kodeen said:

Penny Arcade Report has my favorite summation of this game:

"Beyond: Two Souls is a mixture of a game that's not fun and a story that's not interesting."

ZeD

#15

ZeD said:

@get2sammyb From what you have played, do you think 4/10 is a fair review? Can you perhaps see where they are coming from?

get2sammybAdmin

#16

get2sammyb said:

@Kodeen Haha, I disagree that the story's not interesting, but that's a different discussion. The gameplay conversation is moot in my opinion because that's not what Quantic Dream's games are about. Would it be better if you ran around with a machine gun and earned XP? For some people, yes - but then it wouldn't be the same game.

@ZeD Yup, I can absolutely see the criticisms. If you didn't like Heavy Rain, you expect a little more "gameplay" from your games, and you're not able to overlook some of the strange narrative decisions from the genuinely good ones, then I could see how you could end up with a lower score. I don't really agree, though.

Splat

#17

Splat said:

@get2sammyb - From GameStop I got a steelcase,behind the scenes video,soundtrack,PS3 Theme,PSN Avatar Pack and GameStop exclusive 30-minute playable additional scene DLC.

That is if my code works later. :)

DilMan33

#19

DilMan33 said:

No thanks!

I am okay for long cutscenes around games; if they actually have a game behind it, but not an interactive drama.

Experience at least once, you say? Well certainly not for £30!

Bliquid

#20

Bliquid said:

Loved Farheneit, loved Heavy Rain, love emotional introspective games a lot (TWD above all, since it made me cry).
Tried the demo for B:TS aaaand...
Didn't like it. At all.
It actually irritated me.
Especially the train/woods part, chaotic and not..."readable".
And don't come telling me that they coudn't do a better, more fluent and varied gameplay.
From the demo, it seemed even less interactive than HR.

get2sammybAdmin

#21

get2sammyb said:

@Bliquid I'm not 100 per cent sure what's in the demo, but there aren't many sections like the woods where you're running away without any clear purpose. I think if you liked Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit you should still give this a go.

Visiblemode

#22

Visiblemode said:

@get2sammyb thanks Sammy. Had this preordered forever, figured on it being divisive like HR, but early reviews had me nervous. That said, your reasoned and logical approach was needed and appreciated. Ready to go pick up the preorder.

JMC

#27

JMC said:

@get2sammyb
I enjoyed reading your review a lot. Even though it's getting a lot of criticism I don't regret pre-ordering it as I loved Heavy Rain and from your review I guess this game is even better than that.

Scollurio

#28

Scollurio said:

If they would have made it a little bit more The Last of Us I'd be interested in this, but the Demo alone was a huge turnoff and reading that the story itself is mostly tropes and cliches... whats left then?

Munkyknuts

#30

Munkyknuts said:

I loved Heavy Rain because it was a different beast. I love picking up the indie titles from PSN because they are more likely to do something different as well. Beyond: Two Souls will get critisicm for being so different but that is the case with most things that stand apart from the crowd. I love the oddities and the risk takers....there are plenty of conventional games to choose from, a flood of them even. I'm looking forward to playing the game and giving it that little boost in sales.

Splat

#32

Splat said:

The PS Store (In the US atleast) is updated and my voucher code worked. :)

get2sammybAdmin

#34

get2sammyb said:

@JMC Thanks for reading. I definitely feel it improves on Heavy Rain in a lot of areas.

@Scollurio I don't know, it's not really trying to be anything like The Last of Us, so it'd have to be a completely different game. It's totally cool that you're not a fan of the approach, though.

@odd69 The demo should be already out.

kingandaval

#35

kingandaval said:

I found the demo to be amazing. Really enjoyed it. And hopefully when the game arrives, I'll enjoy that too :-)

I know I'm not going to get a story like Heavy Rain that's going to grip me for every second, and I never expected to. HR hit every note perfectly and played my heartstrings like a true maestro. But if I even get 20% of the same experience and grippingness, it'll be money well spent.

Ginkgo

#36

Ginkgo said:

Great article Sammy. I fully expexted this game to polerise opinions. Personally I can't wait to play it.

Splat

#37

Splat said:

I'm a couple hours in and I really like it. The controls can be pretty frustrating but if you can get passed that It's pretty sweet. I'm enjoying the story/voice work alot and I think the game looks really good.

I think anyone that liked Heavy Rain should be all over this but if you didn't I would pass.

Visiblemode

#38

Visiblemode said:

Just a few hours in, so jury out on a lot of things, except graphics....holy....crap... Insanely good looking...insanely. Makes Heavy Rain look a gen behind. Imagine the implications for free roam next gen (this good ) and this style next gen (beyond real).

However, marketed all wrong. Should push it as interactive movie. THIS is how you "enter the livingroom" not by replacing a cable box, but rather replacing some of what the cable box pipes in, with something similar but with interactivity.

Follow this style a few iterations in the future and the possibilities are amazing.

Gamer83

#39

Gamer83 said:

I just simply don't care for Quantic Dream's idea of 'gameplay.' Now, I haven't played this one aside from the demo but I'll give it that it at least has an interesting premise for a story and the voice acting seems to be top notch and for $20 or $30 I could see buying this game and getting through it simply on that alone. The problem I had with Heavy Rain was not only did it severely lack any actual gameplay but the story and acting were laugh out loud pathetic. I prefer the way Naughty Dog makes games. Uncharted and The Last of Us are both very cinematic experiences, but both franchises also offer great gameplay.

Scollurio

#40

Scollurio said:

@get2sammyb I enjoyed reading your review, as I mostly do, I totally get where you're coming from and I totally get what one could like about Beyond Two Souls. Like you said, its a devisive "game". And that's where the deviding starts for me as for me, a game is a "fun past time built on interaction with a virtual world and/or other players" - and Beyond Two Souls, after having played the demo 2 times, is really weak on the interaction part, If you happen to play through it, make a video of it so I can watch it like a movie on youtube! ;) I'd totally enjoy that!

Scollurio

#41

Scollurio said:

@Gamer83 Im totally with you on that, even if you think about GTA 5 Storymode, it's mostly open world (and what a world) AND it is - at least to me - quite the cinematic experience with the cutscenes and 3 really well developed and played characters. I was enjoying a clip on youtube showing you all the voice actors and that GTA ALSO did go the route of motion cap + voice actor + visual appearance = real actor. So that means, there IS actually someone looking like Trevor, lol. Called Steven Ogg...

Visiblemode

#42

Visiblemode said:

@Scollurio GTA is a better game, and so are the naughty dog games. The comparison to GTA seems to be a stretch though, because despite the cutscenes, the game is open world, different genre entirely. What ND does is much more of a fair comparison, except that ND games are like AAAA titles, and in a league of their own. What QD does is worthy of praise though.

Gamer83

#43

Gamer83 said:

@Visiblemode

I actually don't think QD is far off from being able to reach the level of Naughty Dog. What has been created in Beyond is a fantastic world with great characters and a highly interesting story to tell. Unfortunately QD, unlike Naughty Dog, doesn't seem to realize that people buy game consoles to play games not 'interactive experiences.' I guess like others I applaud QD's ambition and willingness to try something new. I'm just disappointed that it's something I am completely uninterested in.

Scollurio

#44

Scollurio said:

@Visiblemode I chose GTA as a comparison totally knowing of the different genres to make my point that "cinematic experience" can be "open world" easily and doesn't have to be be "push button to door" and "act like you car, push something, and if you fail, no matter, the game will move on". So cinematic, awesome experience does NOT mean on rails, strict linear narrative and almost nonexistant player input by necissity it was a choice by QD and a poor one at that in my book. I don't want to rain on your parade though, if you enjoy the game, more power to you! Thats what all of this is about right? ;)

Gamer83

#46

Gamer83 said:

@Scollurio

I also like GTA V better. I hope that on PS4 Quantic Dream is finally able to make something that resonates with me though. I will say from a 'gameplay' perspective I think Beyond is actually a step up from Heavy Rain, but it's still severely lacking compared to my favorites of this generation which would be the Uncharteds, The Last of Us, GTA V, Rocksteady's Batman Arkham games, Bioshock and the Tomb Raider reboot. All these are heavy on cinematics (despite the vast difference between some of them) but all are also games first.

Scollurio

#47

Scollurio said:

@Gamer83 funny, except on batman which I haven't played since I'm not too much into comics again I totally agree with you! Fun side fact: I did enjoy indigo prophecies though! :)

Crimson_Ridley

#48

Crimson_Ridley said:

The reviews this game is getting reminds me of Deadly Premonition. You either loved it, or you didn't. Games, movies, music and books that divide opinions so fiercely are normally some of the best because they really get to you in some way.

I'm looking forward to playing through this game, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it thoroughly.

get2sammybAdmin

#49

get2sammyb said:

@Gamer83 All of those games, though, feature characters that you're supposed to relate to, but end up murdering (or beating up) thousands of people througout the course of their respective campaigns. I'm not saying you're wrong, and I enjoy all of those games, but I think first we need to find a solution to this idea that 'gameplay' amounts to little more than shooting people or driving a car.

Scollurio

#50

Scollurio said:

@get2sammyb I see what you mean but for a wide mass appeal the answer surely cannot be "move your thumbstick towards the door, or wait until the game does it automatically". Im all for alternative games and yes "violence" as such has proven itself as primary way of interaction in videogame worlds, but I think of EverQuest Landmark for example or Minecraft where the building and to some extent trading will be the main way of interaction until EverQuest next hits and ups the ante. Yes I know, not cinematic games, but not shooters/driving games.

And whereas Beyond Two Souls seems to - logically if you try to tell something dramatic - resort to violence once again, there could have been more player choice or actually a "normal" control scheme and with invisible walls (like they are in place anyways) and pre-determined cutscenes Mr. Cage could still have achieved his vision of the story just the player would actually feel like that and not like a bored Player or an overexposed Movie-watcher. But yeah, just my unprofessional opinion and again really don't want to rain onto anyone's parade!

get2sammybAdmin

#51

get2sammyb said:

@Scollurio Not at all, it's an interesting topic, and clearly something that the industry is divided on. You're not alone at all with your thoughts and opinions.

Visiblemode

#53

Visiblemode said:

@Scollurio @gamer83

While I am enjoying the game, flaws and all, I do think Heavy Rain was more on track with it's consequences system (or so it seems).

I think to say that the game goes on fail-or-not is sort of an oversimplification. All games do that. You just have to restart from the checkpoint or whatever. In the case of this game, your sense of accomplishment isn't in avoiding failure, but in how smoothly you succeed. In the end that's true of most games anyway isn't it? Mario always saves peach if you keep playing. Mario's version of "smooth" is collecting everything and not dying often, in BTS smoothness is making good choices and not staggering around like a fool getting beat up and messing everything up. The fact is though, in both games, you keep playing you get to the end (in a similar amount of time too, actually).

I see this as the infancy of a new form of incredible gaming. At the moment it's got a few too many warts, but to say that consoles are for games and not interactive movies isn't fair really, since there's room for all genres from Singing and Dancing games to Gameshow games to FPS games and interactive movies fit right in there. However, more importantly, I think we're only a few iterations away from a QD game that nails the experience and blows the world away.

What's needed? They need to hone the 'gameplay' elements. Unconventional mechanics can work and do to a degree but there's a lot of room to feel more in control. Storyline created by real screenwriters. David Cage has his moments but much of his stories feel forced and/or weird. Dynamic range...from individual to individual the story has to feel very different based on how they played it.

So yeah, works in progress, but let's not get out the torches and pitchforks just yet, remember early third person action games? There was plenty of reasons to give up on that genre but they didn't and now we have games like The Last of Us. The industry is sometimes about giving us the best new version of what we love, other times it's about planting seeds for the future.

Scollurio

#54

Scollurio said:

@Visiblemode I totally agree with you about screenwriters of real movies penning scripts for games being an awesome thing and all, and yes I do think that QD has the potential to create something stellar, which Beyond Two Souls clearly is not, but like you said, it's probably a step into the right direction and a "needed roadkill" on the way to get there.

BUT
The oversimplification needs to go. Really. I know it won't but this is just c**p. By your definition all games will be the ending cutscene once you load them up in a few years. You would have beat the game anyways right? You would have won? why not just give you the ending cutscene and call it a day? It reminds me of Diablo 3, which on consoles is far better than on PC but still it made away with conventional stat distribution and just said: Lets do it automatically since when you're a barbarian the player will boost STR and VITALITY most anyways, and if the player plays a sorceress he will invest in INT mostly, so lets just do all of that automatically.

I do understand that in games like GTA you do not have to manually shift your car, you just accellerate and brake, its a needed omission for gameplay as it wouldn't add anything and just overcomplicate things if you'd have to care about proper gear shifting. But furthersimplifying it would be like adding your destination into the nav and then just watch your character drive there, with no interaction from you.

No, Interaction should ALWAYS be a crucial part of gaming and it shouldn't be oversimplified to a point where its getting silly.

Oh I know its a long post but I can think of another game... Army of Two III. Which was utter bull as well. It also oversimplified things, it narrowed levels down to tube-levels, as the players shouldn't worry too much how to aproach the situations at hand they just gave them ONE (i.e. NO) choice at all. And you don't even need to push a context sensitive button anymore to give someone a lift over a ledge or help open a door, no, you just walk to the door together and then BAM: cutscene. I mean, people would have opened that door anywys right (especially since its the only way out of that part of the level).

Seriously everyone is yelling NEXT GEN and NEXT GEN for me is open level design, multiplayer worlds that persist, things that give you choice, like the missions in GTA, they might be the same mostly, but they always play out differently because of some random events and the unpredictability of the situation or different players might tackle given situations in different ways. Some will sneak to the car that has to be stolen, others might drive a patriot over all the enemies and just ram the car to be repossessed out of that alley, whatever floats their boat. But give us choice.

Im really curious about games like THE CREW, METAL GEAR, THE DIVISION and EVERQUEST NEXT as it seems games like those offer a great diversity, player interaction and most importantly player CHOICE about how to tackle different gameplay situations. This is truly next gen for me, a change in thinking and designing games, the better graphics is just an added bonus.

Sorry, long post,
Kudos to you if you're still here reading this!

Visiblemode

#55

Visiblemode said:

@Scollurio it seems on the surface that we're debating, but on most points we actually agree heartily.

That said, I think there is room for games where failure doesn't occur, think Flower or Journey for example. I don't think we should penalize too heavily for non-traditional structure.

Funny enough what you said about the whole game potentially being a cut scene was interesting because it drew my attention to the fact that modern games are just that easy. Having been gaming for more than 30 years I really almost see no difference between a "no lose game" and a more traditonal one. Modern games usually only add grinding or difficulty spiking. Mostly, completion is all but certainty. They're still fun, but this QD style might just be the Kurtz in the Heart of Darkness, getting persecuted for being a pure version of what everyone is making.

Now someone bring up Demon's Souls and we can all go home. LOL

Gamer83

#57

Gamer83 said:

@get2sammyb

All those games involve more than just shooting or driving a car though. Regardless, I'm going to take that any day over an 8 hour QTE, which is what Heavy Rain pretty much amounts to and is what MS is going for with Ryse. I don't really want to see games going in that direction. And that's the one plus for Beyond is that I feel like it's at least trying to move in the right direction, at least a lot more so than those other two 'interactive experiences.'

Knux

#58

Knux said:

I'm going to buy this game when I have enough money. If Beyond: Two Souls blows Heavy Rain out of the water (and I love Heavy Rain), then this is a no-brainer.

odd69

#59

odd69 said:

Sorry guys wake me up when this gets good, i didnt like the demo all too much. I guess its just me.

cherrypoppa

#60

cherrypoppa said:

just finished beyond two souls and your review is spot on, graphics are the best I've seen and Ellen Page is just fantastic!! while there are big action scenes and James Bond like levels, it's the small day to day stuff in Jodie's life that moved me and like "The last of us" that is what will stay with me and makes this game stand out.

twentyonegunsxo

#61

twentyonegunsxo said:

I'm so glad you guys loved this game as much as I did. I gave it an 8, as well (http://poppycockreviews.com/beyond-two-souls-review/). I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I thought it was a beautiful experience. I went on to get the Platinum. :)

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