Beyond: Two Souls Review

GAMING | by Andrew Shawley | in Reviews | 16th October 2013 - 15:00
Beyond: Two Souls is the latest offering from David Cage and his studio, Quantic Dream. Based in the supernatural, Beyond follows the story of a girl, Jodie Holmes, through fifteen years of her extraordinary life, starting from when she is a little girl to when she is a fully grown woman. Beyond is a fascinating and emotional yet flawed game, which takes you, as the player, on a journey you will not forget in a hurry.

Gameplay 6/10

Beyond's main flaw is its gameplay. It appears as if Quantic Dream still has not found the perfect balance between Quick Time Events (QTE's) and standard gameplay mechanics. This being said, it is still refreshing to have a different control set to the bog standard crouch, aim and jump set which plagues the majority of games these days. A feature introduced in Beyond is a new fighting mechanic developing on the 'scuffle' QTE's of Heavy Rain. The new mechanic slows down time, instructing the player to move the right analog stick in the direction Jodie is moving. The mechanic is neither an improvement nor a step backwards from Heavy Rain's QTE fight scenes; rather, it is just another method to accomplish the same ends.

Without doubt, Beyond's gameplay will have a love/hate phenomenon with players; however there is one aspect that the majority of people will enjoy which is when the player takes control of Aiden - the spirit connected to Jodie from birth. As Aiden you can glide seamlessly through walls, Vader-Choke enemies, possess people to your advantage and even heal wounds. Playing as Aiden is a very free-flowing and enjoyable experience and the controls are smooth and easy to grasp.

Graphics 10/10

Video Game graphics do not get much better than this. The fantastic performances of the actors is captured at such great detail that it is becoming increasingly impossible to distinguish between the real people acting and what is shown in the game. However, it is not just the character models that are excellent; Beyond also has some of the most beautiful set pieces in any game. One such set piece is a mission called Navajo, in which Jodie finds herself stranded in the desert, seeking refuge with a family of Native Americans. Everything from the glorious orange sand to the dullish green of the cacti looks fantastic and really draws the player into the beautiful setting. The games presentation also improves on the cinematic feel of Heavy Rain making you feel as you are in a superbly cinematographic film.

Plot 8/10

As you would undoubtedly expect from a David Cage game, Beyond's plot is as ambitious and complex as it is flawed. Before playing the game you should be made aware that the game is centred on the paranormal and so to be fully engrossed into the story, you have to buy into the theme. This is where Beyond stutters. It does not do enough in the early levels to make you believe in a small minority of aspects in the game. Whether they are plot holes, Cage's over-reliance on clichés or miscast supporting characters such as Willem Dafoe. Some of the issues are resolved towards the end of the game, however these issues do not retract from the main focus of the game, which is Jodie. Not long into the game you begin to really empathise with Jodie, partly due to the superb, award-worthy performance from Ellen Page and partly due to David Cage's ability, more often than not, to provoke emotion from the player.

The plot is almost unnecessarily told in a non-linear narrative. Although for large portions of the game the non-linearity seems purely artistic, it does come to make some sense towards the end of the game when key plot points are revealed, which would not have been as dramatic if they were portrayed linearly.

For all its problems, Beyond has some of the best missions seen in a game this year. One such example sees Jodie living on the streets with a group of homeless people. The poignancy of this mission cannot be understated. As Jodie, we beg on the streets, desperate for money to keep Jodie alive, go into shops to plead for food and busk on the streets, singing from the heart and strumming your heart out on guitar in the hope that generous souls will spare us a dime. We also witness the camaraderie between the homeless, who all try to keep each other going and Jodie becomes an integral part of their group towards the end of the mission. The level is also an example of the brilliance of the supporting cast, who portray believable homeless men and women in this particular memory of Jodie's life.
All in all, the plot is powerful one and the game itself is of good length. The character progression from a young girl to an adult is better than the majority of films that try to achieve the same effect and the empathy we feel for her is similar only to TellTale's 'The Walking Dead'. Unlike Heavy Rain, the choices you make in the game do not have as much of an impact to the story as the ones made in Heavy Rain, however there are some major decisions you have to make at the end of the game that drastically affect the games conclusion. The plot may stretch into silliness from time to time, but Beyond's narrative is one of the best in a video game and sends out a bold statement about the potential of video games.



As with Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls is a game that you may be hesitant to revisit as to not taint your initial experience of playing through the story, however, there is definitely some intrigue into what would of happened if you did things differently, whether it be different play styles or making different decisions. The plot is a healthy length and a fair amount of trophies and collectibles should keep you entertained for a while after you have finished the main game.


Beyond's plot may wade into dangerously cliché waters at points (look out for the 'Shimasani' moment in the mission Navajo) but David Cage's talent for drawing emotion from the player is still evident in this beautiful and well acted game that may not reach the heights of Heavy Rain, but still serves as an emotional and rewarding experience for the player.


About the author: Andrew Shawley

The Owner, Developer and Editor of, Andrew is a Filmmaker and Developer with a passion for Television and Video Games as well as Film.

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