Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive narrative driven game from Quantic Dream; the studio who brought us Heavy Rain and the more recent Detroit: Become Human. Without a doubt, Beyond: Two Souls is the most underrated game of all time. It deserves more praise than it initially got after it launched. I urge you to play it before continuing further if you haven’t already, as it truly is one of the best Playstation exclusives of all time.
This was actually my 4th playthrough of this fabulous game, as I’ve played it a few times over the years. I knew how great it was the first few times but in order to make this review as accurate as possible I needed the game to be fresh in my mind; thus, another playthrough was neccessary.
Quantic Dream is easily one of my favorite developers of all time; they continue to make stellar games with amazing stories. David Cage is a genius with how well these stories are meticulously crafted and offer an emotional rollercoaster unlike any other. I hope to see many more masterpieces from this mastermind.
You play as Jodie Holmes, a young female protagonist who is linked to a paranormal entity by the name of Aiden. Jodie’s life is complicated due to Aiden’s presence, making it near impossible for her to lead a normal life. I can’t talk too much about the narrative itself because that could spoil your own experience but I can tell you what the story has to offer.
The narrative includes many elements of choice; these range from minor to major decisions that have an impact on the ending of the game. Minor decisions include things such as dialogue choices that don’t necessarily change much story wise but offer you the chance to express your own feelings through Jodie. Major decisions include life or death situations that will effect the ending of your game in significant ways.
The story follows Jodie’s life story from early childhood into her young adulthood in a rather unique way. You can play the story one of two ways: original or remixed. The original version has a way of jumping back and forth between chapters of Jodie’s childhood and young adulthood. Although this is the way that the artist intended, it may not suit everyone; some people may find this to be a little confusing at times. However, if you’re in that group, Quantic Dream has also provided us with a remixed version of the same story. This offers players the chance to play the story in order starting with Jodie’s childhood and leading up to her adulthood. The inclusion of this alternate way to experience the game wasn’t neccessary, but props to Quantic Dream for adding both to the PS4 version of the game.
Overall, the story of Beyond: Two Souls is something truly unique and deserves more praise than it initially got. It’s an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, regardless of the way you decide to play. I would also like to note that this game shares many similarities to the show Stranger Things. One might say that the show took a few influences from the game, as the game released years before the show came around. Regardless, both are amazing narratives deserving of your time.
Ellen Page is the actress and voice behind Jodie Holmes. She was perfectly casted and you can see the passion she put into this role. Her performance is incredible and she makes the game believable. Jodie Holmes is one of the most well thought out female protagonists ever created. Her backstory as well as overall mindset and how she reacts to situations really make you immersed in the narrative.
Attached to Jodie we have Aiden, an entity in which you can also control in many situations. Right off the bat, we don’t know anything about Aiden or why he’s attached to Jodie. We learn more about him as Jodie does, making it feel like we’re along for the ride with Jodie, discovering new things as we go.
There are many additional characters that you become emotionally attached to throughout the incredible narrative. Everyone has their role in the story and there doesn’t seem to be any throwaway characters; every character has an impact on Jodie’s life one way or another. Each character is visually impressive and realistic. Let’s not forget to mention the fantastic voice acting and emotion brought forth by these amazing actors and actresses.
The setting of Beyond: Two Souls is visually stunning and detailed. The game’s linear nature provides you a rather direct path to the objective of the chapter, but in great fashion. Environments are detailed and varied; from a desert setting with a feeling a vast emptiness and an unforgiving scorching sun, to the claustrophobic feeling of a burning down building. This game takes place in many different locations as Jodie can’t neccesarily stay in the same place very long for reasons I won’t spoil.
While the game is rather linear, it offers you the chance to do a little exploring every now and then. You can walk around the more open environments with Jodie and interact with various objects to get a feeling of the area you’re in or just learn more about that particular setting.
You can also take control of Aiden, giving you the chance to discover even more hidden secrets this way. The hidden secrets of Beyond: Two Souls are bonuses you can only find when playing as Aiden. These bonuses include exclusive artwork and behind the scenes footage from the making of the game. These collectibles are unlike the pointless ones you see in many games nowadays; they don’t have you collect them for the sake of giving you extra stuff to do just to prolong the life of the game.
These collectibles are very well hidden in each chapter and you never feel like the game is forcing you to go on a collect-a-thon. More games should include collectibles of this style for the fans who want to see artwork and behind the scenes footage. I mean, who doesn’t want to see how their favorite game was made?
In the terms of gameplay, there isn’t much to say. The gameplay in Beyond: Two Souls is pretty simple and easy to pick up for newcomers. It includes many quick time events but they seem more meaningful than most games and don’t feel tacked on. Choices you make in the game also direct the path of the narrative.
Realistically, you’re not playing this for addicting combat mechanics or anything of the sort. The gameplay focuses on exploration and adventure; everything ties into the main story. If you’re searching for amazing gameplay mechanics, look elsewhere. However, if you’re wanting an immersive and emotional narrative, look no further than Beyond: Two Souls.
In conclusion, Beyond: Two Souls is worth experiencing at least once. The beautifully crafted narrative and believable performances from the cast make this game a unique experience unlike any other. Do yourself a favor and buy this game. Support Quantic Dream so we can continue to get more enthralling experiences like this one.
Great review. I’ve heard of this one but never played it, might have to check it out. Just a note: You should use Elliot Page and masculine pronouns even though this work was before his transition.
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I should have mentioned that this review was written a couple of years ago and reuploaded today. I agree, though! Thanks!
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That’s cool. No worries. I know some folks who get really confused about how to refer to people’s past work so I just wanted to make sure.
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