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Beyond: Two Souls Reviewed by Chad Mitchell on . Beyond: Two Souls may be hard to wrap your mind around, but is ultimately worth sticking through. It's not a conventional game, making wild swings for the sake of style and storytelling. Some may enjoy the spectacle of it all, but others will be frustrated by the quick-time events and time jumping. No matter where you stand, Beyond: Two Souls is a worthwhile story that ultimately pays off in the end! Rating: 64%
Beyond: Two Souls
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  • B-
Beyond: Two Souls is a rare game. Not in the sense that it's hard to find, or even that it's worth a lot. It's a game whose genre can best be described as 'interactive drama' that stands out amongst a world filled with first-person shooters and third-party action games. But this is not what makes Beyond rare. What makes it stand out amongst these other games, is the fact that it is the only game I've ever hated and loved at the exact same time. This can best be described as a high school relationship, where you know there are other fish in the sea, but you still hold on to the first one you caught ... no matter what.

Beyond: Two Souls is the story of a woman, named Jodie, through various points of her life. Little vignettes of experiences that she has had, people she has been with, and the experiments the CIA has been doing on the ghost that is attached to her.

Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3)

This is where the hook of the story lies. Who is this being? Why is he attached to her? His name is Aiden and together they team up to do things like figure out what card a woman is holding, sneaking out late at night, and joining the CIA. You control both of them through prompts, quick-time events, and stick movements. During action scenes, the action slows down and whatever the direction Jodie is moving, you must move the control stick the same way to complete the action. This can sometime be hard to judge, but more on that later.

The stories in the game are all told out of order, which is good because it evens out the action with the emotional stories and balances them throughout the entirety of the game. There are some highs and lows with both of these that range from 'Why did I need to see this?' to 'YES! This is awesome!' But the great part about it is that there is a reason for the player to see all of it, because it all comes together. This is where the strongest parts of Beyond: Two Souls lies.

From the moment you take control of Aiden for the first time, you're given the ability to explore a bit and mess around with the people and the things around you. There are some well-placed moments where you can make people's lives a living hell, or just back off and chill out a bit and watch the action from his perspective. One particularly memorable scene is during a date, where you can choose to ruin it for Jodie or just let her have some fun. Being attached to her, Aiden can never go but so far away. This cuts down on how much exploration you can actually do, but there always seems to be enough things that are pretty entertaining during the moments you can play as him.

Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3)

In terms of story, there's a healthy dose of sci-fi, action, exploration, mystery and even some horror elements. The vignettes all seem to fit well with the style, even though it can sometimes be pretty jarring to go from one extreme to the other. One story that definitely stands out is called "Navajo."

But with all the good must come bad. I mentioned earlier that you could only go so far with Aiden, and that's true, but there are multiple moments in the story where that's thrown to the wind without any explanation. Aiden can suddenly go what seems hundreds of feet away when the story calls for it, but during normal exploration it can sometimes only be what seems like 10-20 feet. Another hugely noticeable flaw is during the 'puzzle' sections. Jodie needs to get into a room and Aiden needs to possess someone to make this happen for her. Unfortunately, you can't simply possess anyone, but rather only the person you need. These people are highlighted in orange. There are also people that Aiden can strangle to death to get by. Why is he limited in this way? This makes the game unbelievable in a lot of cases. If he can do this to one, why not the other?

Beyond: Two Souls (PlayStation 3)

This brings me to the major drawback of this game. There are some games that hold your hand with things like map markers and constant reminders of where to go. Normally you can turn that off. Beyond: Two Souls basically handcuffs you to that hand. If you start walking another way, the game turns you around. If you fail a few quick-time events, the game just continues on anyway. There is no feeling that you actually have to be good at the game to play it. This was intentional, but it ultimately hurts the immersion in the long run. I also feel like it was sometimes very hard to tell which direction Jodie was going during the action scenes. A lot of times I would end up failing a quick-time event just because I misinterpreted her momentum. But this only led to some audible sighs and just continuing on.

So, I've told you the bad and I've told you the good. Should you play the game? Absolutely. This is still a great game. Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe are two great actors and give absolutely great performances. The visuals are stunning for a PS3 game. Also, it's worth it just to support the game developers. This game was made by David Cage and the folks at Quantic Dream. You might remember them from such games as Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit) and Heavy Rain. Both of which are wonderful. The fact that this game is allowed to exist is a testament to Sony's belief in new player experiences and game development that breaks the mold. This is definitely what Beyond: Two Souls does. I urge anyone to try this game and decide for themselves how they feel about it. Believe me; it's worth it by the end.
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