Beyond: Two Souls
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Quantic Dream
Release Date: 10/8/2013
I think I should mention that I am a bit of a fan of Ellen Page. When I heard she was starring in a video game, I immediately wanted to play it. When I played the demo, I was impressed with the visuals, and couldn't wait until I could get a chance to play it. This was the game that nearly busted my complete avoidance of those dreaded ubiquitous Red Box machines. I was that eager to play it.
The game in it's presentation reminds me quite a bit of Heavy Rain. Visually stunning, great narrative, shitty as fuck controls. Despite my complete hatred of the controls, I have found myself locked into playing this game for the last several hours, drawn in despite the rage inducing control scheme by a powerful narrative, and some great motion capture acting.
The game is presented in a strange non-linear narrative. Scenes take place over a set time-line, but not in any discernible order. The story unfolds ever so slowly, giving you glimpses of Jodie Homes's (Ellen Page) character in the past, present, and the future. Jodie is a woman psychically linked to a mysterious entity named "Aiden". Aiden is at times depicted as a violent, angry creature, and at other times is depicted almost like a brother to Jodie. At the point that I am writing this, I have no clue what the hell Aiden is, in all honesty.
The visuals, as I have said are stunning. Beautifully motion-captured likenesses of Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page run around the screen, in a tense sort of psychological thriller. The environments are insanely detailed, with small little touches all over the place that make the world pop. It is in all honesty, one of the most beautiful interactive games I have ever played.
The biggest problem I have with this game are the controls. Oddly enough, I have to praise the controls as well. This game offers up a unique control scheme that I have not seen yet. It allowed me to connect my iPhone to the system wirelessly, and use my iPhone as the controller. Conversely, I could use the PS3 controller. Both offer the same sort of non-responsive, rage-inducing controller scheme that nearly had me chucking my controller through the TV. The onscreen character seems to respond almost grudgingly to the inputs, and seems to randomly turn her ass around and go the exact opposite direction of where you want her to go. In one scene, I am trying to save a woman from a burning building, and I have to go up a flight of stairs, turn, and head down the hall. It took me entirely too long to get the character to go down the hall, as opposed to turning around and heading back down the stairs.
Despite the control issues, I want to know more about the story, and that led me to play despite my inability to get the character to do a damn thing I wanted her to. This, above all else, is a huge triumph in my eyes, and perhaps the single greatest thing this game has going for it.
RECOMMENDATION: If you like your games pretty as hell, but completely uncontrollable, then this is the game for you. If you prefer a game that you can control, then you might want to look elsewhere.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a game, that I wish was a movie. The story is fun, and interesting, but the control scheme is so god-awful that I just can't recommend this to anyone except the most die hard fans. Despite the frustrations, I still found enough enjoyment in the game, that I am unable to give this game a failing grade. Speaking of grades....
PLAYER 2 SCORE: 7 out of 10.