So I’ve completed Beyond: Two Souls for a second time, this time controlling Aiden instead of Jodie (more on the characters and the story later). As with my first play through, I’ played as a co-op experience but with a different second player and an additional friend watching us both play.
It was during this play through that I realised just how underrated this game really is. The spectator (granted, an Xbox player) had never even heard of it, but was completely blown away by the quality of the story, graphics and game play. It was him who first commented “this game is massively underrated”.
A Bit About Beyond: Two Souls
Beyond: Two Souls is a single player or co-op interactive drama/action/adventure game exclusive to PlayStation 3.
The game was developed by Quantic Dream and written and directed by David Cage. This is the same team that was behind both the ground-breaking PS2 game Fahrenheit (also known as Indigo Prophecy) and the stunning Heavy Rain for the PS3.
An introduction to the story
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, and without any spoilers, this is a brief overview of the game, story and characters.
The game is centred around a girl called Jodie Holmes, played in full by the brilliant Ellen Page. Jodie has a supernatural soul, known as Aiden, linked with her at all times. Aiden has his own character and personality, despite having no voice or physical appearance, and this can be both a help and a hindrance for Jodie through her life.
The story flows in a non-chronological order of scenes, documenting Jodie’s life events from a small child to a young woman. You start mid-way through, and then move back and forth in time to build on the story and experiences you’ve learned.
What is so great about Beyond: Two Souls?
An interactive movie
It’s easy to compare Beyond: Two Souls to a fascinating supernatural thriller, with the added bonus that you control both the story and the game play. This makes for an incredible interactive experience that draws you in every bit as much as a great movie or TV series would. Having big names including Ellen Page and William Defoe only contributes more to this sensation. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fear – the game is fantastically gripping and engaging.
The game was actually filmed and directed just like a movie, with incredible technology able to capture fine details and result in stunning graphics:
Shape your own story
One of the best elements of Beyond: Two Souls is the freedom the player/s have over the paths the story takes. Decisions that you make don’t just effect minor scenes in the future, but can completely transform the story as a whole.
As such, my second play through was also transformed by the making of different decisions and we got to experience a darker side to our characters based on different actions.
Two completely different experiences with Jodie and Aiden
As previously mentioned, I have now completed the game twice and played once as Jodie and once as her entity, Aiden. The best thing about it was that both experiences were completely different, with Jodie’s human controls vastly different from Aiden’s paranormal ones.
Comparisons to Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy) and Heavy Rain
Quantic Dreams previous two games were based on a similarly unique interactive experience and are also both fantastic games.
There are obviously similarities between these and Beyond: Two Souls, such as the interactive thumb stick action control and the paranormal theme in the case of Fahrenheit. However there are also many clear difference that make each game stand out in their own right.
The one thing I would say about the comparison is that if you enjoyed either of the previous games, you’ll love Beyond: Two Souls. Equally, if you hated everything about the experience, you probably won’t find something you like in Beyond.
Have you played Beyond: Two Souls, or perhaps Heavy Rain or Fahrenheit? Do you enjoy the unique style of interactive game play and the heavy focus on strong narrative? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment below.