RELEASED: October 8, 2013
AVAILABLE ON: PS3
DEVELOPER(S): Quantic Dream
PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment
The Parisian David Cage (born David De Gruttola) founded Quantic Dream in 1997. The studio's big break came with a 2005 cult game called Fahrenheit (a.k.a. The Indigo Prophecy), an interactive drama which developed according to the player's decisions. Five years later, Quantic Dream hit the jackpot with an intricate murder mystery entitled Heavy Rain, which followed the same basic rules as Fahrenheit and sported life-like graphics, seamless dynamics and an amazing effort to appeal to one's emotions. There were four playable characters, any or all of whom could die if you made one mistake, or if they survived that mistake, chances were that their lives were ruined forever because you fucked up, or didn't care. Or was going for a specific Trophy. Or whatever. Whichever their fate was, it was PERMANENT. There was no coming back for that character. If they all died, you had beaten the game... but not in the most graceful way, I'm afraid. Heavy Rain made you feel bad... and it felt good. It was such an amazing experience, and it still is, in case you're wondering and haven't taken that first step, so amazing that it went on to win several awards from under the noses of the most obvious big wigs of the business, leaving the whole world to wonder what was so damn great about a playable movie. Then they tried it, they loved it, and they stuck around for seconds. In the summer of 2012, David Cage finally announced the long-anticipated next chapter in Quantic Dream's amazing tales - a supernatural thriller called Beyond: Two Souls, which was to star the equally amazing pairing of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. This ambitious and extremely well advertised product was to be the most amazing thing ever seen on the PS3, and it did have everything going for it just fine. Now I wanna know...
...Have you ever seen the "Rain"?
Ellen Page : Jodie Holmes
Willem Dafoe : Nathan Dawkins
Eric Winter : Ryan Clayton
Kadeem Hardison : Cole Freeman
Robert Burns : Philip Holmes / Possessed Scientist
Nancy Tate : Susan Holmes
David Coburn : Stan / Nicky
Maud Laedermann : Tuesday
David Gasman : Officer Sherman
Caroline Wolfson : Jodie Holmes (Age 9)
|Sometimes you've got to take a look into the|
mirror and ask yourself: "why am I this damn
perfect...?" (I'm well aware she's into girls.)
Might as well get the obvious issue out of the way first. The moment I heard something about this game besides its name, which was that (the FAN-TASTIC) Ellen Page stars as a girl with psychic powers who has a spirit watching her back and gets in trouble, not just with the cops but the whole damn government, I decided I'd do my absolute best to not compare this game to Heavy Rain once it came out. It might be a very similar game in terms of gameplay, but thematically and I'm sure, emotionally, so different that there's no point in comparing it to what was, I'd rather see it for what it is. Then I read the first reviews... contrary to just about all my expectations, the game was seriously put down. TRASHED. For everything they did with it. But, again, almost every negative comment about the game was followed by what went something like "Heavy Rain was so much better." OK, after two or three similar total ratings I decided I was going to wait 'til the price came down, but I never had any doubts about wanting this game. Those comments about how much better Heavy Rain was, didn't do shit to my conviction, and though the critics did mention a lot of plausible details that annoyed them, it still seemed like the worst thing about Beyond: Two Souls was that it's no Heavy Rain. It sure as hell isn't, that's true. In no sense. But it is an amazingly performed interactive film, with a (mostly) exciting story. That's what I expected from it, nothing more.
We're through talking about Beyond: Two Souls the game, although I do have a couple of things I want to mention later. For now, let's just talk about Beyond: Two Souls, the movie. As such, it is amazing. Especially if you make all the right (read: sensical) choices, you're in for one of the best ending sequences in video game history. Too bad it takes too long to present itself; Beyond: Two Souls is a really long journey, and for the wrong reason of certain scenes being dragged on for way too long. You're stuck in a wide open area with the closest - and perhaps only - hotspot quarter of a mile away, and you'll not only have to deal with the distance, you might have to deal with bad controls. There are so many different schematics for movement, you see; all chapters in the game are different, and you'll be playing as Jodie in several different points of her life. Which reminds me, some people have also been thrown off by the unchronological order of events, but trust me, at least one of the endings offers a solid explanation to it, and besides, certain plot elements are best left unknown 'til towards the end. Anyway, if the needlessly stretched out sequences, and perhaps the world itself, were trimmed a little, you would easily be able to see that Beyond: Two Souls is one of the most awesome stories ever told in a media product marketed as a game. It's also the one thing that Beyond: Two Souls does better than Heavy Rain; sure, the story has some weak spots, and for a while it seems like we're never going to know what Aiden's purpose is, like they forgot all about him halfway through the script. However, the revelation does finally come, and it's stunning. During the ending sequence, I forgot all about how mediocre Beyond: Two Souls was as a game. I put the controller down for applause. It is a masterful movie. Yet, once again, in Heavy Rain you could restart the game from a certain chapter which might've changed everything, including everything that happened in the ending. I'm not replaying one single chapter just to get a different ending - they're way too lengthy and boring to play for that. This opus has got to be one of the most conflicted things I've ever seen, and I know now I'm not going to reach any sort of conclusion talking about it. I'll just mention some things before I (try to) nail down a ranking.
|No official boob this time around. Semi-officials|
are placed on the net for you stubborn bastards.
There's very little need to even go into the graphics and sound. This game was made to drive all other games of the seventh generation off the table, tied together in a neat kamikaze bundle. That, it does - the makers learned a lot about the pros and cons of motion capture and video game cinematics during the three years down, and the game is a huge step up from Heavy Rain, which was (and is, even this far into the eighth generation) already one of the greatest-looking games of the high-definition era. The two lead actors are billed on the box of the game for a reason; they're not just voicing their characters, and the bonus material is really interesting to watch, as they really do act all these scenes, there's no CGI or outsourced stunt work involved. It's amazing, and of course, great voiceover work comes with it - and here we're talking about one of Heavy Rain's weaknesses. It's a definite step up, although there are some inconsistencies which stick out like sore thumbs for an extremely demanding listener, such as the pronounciation of "Aiden". Half of the amazing soundtrack's written by Norman Corbeil of Heavy Rain fame, who died of pancreatic cancer (a disease painfully familiar to me) during the development of the game and passed the torch to Lorne Balfe, most known for his work on the most recent Assassin's Creed games. No inconsistencies there - it's full-on blockbuster material all the way.
|She has something Snake didn't...|
Aiden is also key when it comes to the few stealth missions. He can distract enemies by producing noises, strangle certain enemies and even possess certain enemies to kill their comrades. Why not all of them, there's no real explanation for that, I'm afraid. If and when Jodie is fatally wounded, he can concentrate his energy to heal the wound on the spot. He also allows Jodie to examine dead bodies and certain items' relevance to the mission at hand by channeling a flashback straight into her brain. Finally, when you just fly around as Aiden, especially during scenes in which his presence is otherwise irrelevant, you might bump into these hidden dots of spiritual light. Tampering with those unlocks bonuses to the main menu, just like managing certain hidden criteria in Heavy Rain unlocked some bonuses between missions. At least the video documentaries are really quite interesting, you should keep an eye out for those bonuses.
|The game takes those breaks into everyday |
niceties, such as what to cook for an important date.
You can get better GAMES of the same genre for better prices. Heavy Rain goes for pennies nowadays, The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us are cheap considering their emotional charges especially if you're paying chapter by chapter. However, if you're content with a MOVIE that looks and sounds amazing, and features stellar performances by a couple of A-list actors and a few that are sooner or later joining that very same list, and still one of the greatest stories ever experienced in this format, Beyond: Two Souls is a keeper even at its current price.
+ The best visuals of the generation
+ Mostly magnificent story - with a great ending for once! - and fabulous characters...
+ ...With even more fabulous performances by the actors...
- ...All of it somewhat dragged down by pacing from hell
- Personal choices that ironically don't directly concern your character, or the ending all that much either since you can rethink a lot of things then and there; immortality makes you care less for what happens and how the story progresses
- Although features such as Trophies, decision-making (as shallow as it often is) and Aiden's free-roaming presence help a little, there's no escaping the fact that the game lacks a considerable amount of replay value in comparison to Quantic Dream's previous effort
< 7.0 >