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BEYOND: Two Souls
Platform: PlayStation 3|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$14.88+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on March 16, 2015
Add a story if you're a fan of Quantic Dream's work.

I've been a fan of QD for a while. I didn't play their first game on the PS1, but I quite enjoyed Indigo Prophecy, which was a flawed but magnificent monster of a game that started out strong but fell apart in the last third. And of course I loved Heavy Rain. Heavy Rain was actually the first game I played on the PS3, and is probably my favorite overall, or at least in the top 5. You are probably going to see a lot of comparisons to Heavy Rain in my review, as well as in any review of Beyond: Two Souls - and rightfully so since it is a huge step backwards.

B:TS is a quasi-interactive game that focuses on a young lady, a tragic protagonist who has the unique gift/curse of being tethered to a ghost, to which see is psychically and spiritually linked. That tethering allows her to see things no one else can see, and to cajole her ghost to do things that no one else can do.

I say "quasi-interactive" because, while you have the opportunity to make choices, those choices really do not have consequences. Which is what distinguishes this game from Heavy Rain. In Heavy Rain, you played several different characters, and their individual choices could lead to markedly different story outcomes - whether they live or die, whether they save the kidnapped boy or not, whether the bad guy is stopped or lives to kidnap another day. Here, you are only playing one character (two, if you count Aiden). Your choices are limited to whether you go right or go left in a fight, whether you say one thing or another, whether you pick up an object and look at it or not. But there are no lingering differences. You survive no matter what, and the story unfolds in precisely the same manner either way. Even one of the bigger choices of the game, whether you get revenge on a half dozen bullying kids at a birthday party, has no additional impact beyond the end of that scene.

Given that lack of choice, whether one likes the game really turns on whether the story is good. So... is the story good? The answer is... yeah, it's good. Not necessarily good enough to passively watch most of the time, but good. The acting is extraordinary, and here is where I credit Ellen Page, Willem Dafoe, the other actors, and anyone behind the motion capture. They really nail the characters in this game. Page herself delivers what might be the best video game performance I've seen in a video game that was not Last of Us. If it was ever thought that voice and motion capture acting in video games was not an art form, QD puts that to rest right here.

The problem is that the story is not necessarily as immersive as it seems to want to be. The story is presented out of chronological order at different parts of Jodie's life. And by that, I don't mean flashbacks; flashbacks generally involve a sequence of past events running concurrently with the present events. No, B:TS presents the protagonist's life completely out of order. So you may start at the end when Jodie is 32, then jump back to when she is 16, then back to when she is 8, then forward to when she is 12, and so on. The reason for this is apparently to allow the player to feel like Jodie: disconnected from people, always on her own, ill at ease, a stranger in her own life. But the problem is that it serves as a stark reminder that nothing you do in this game affects anything that happens at any other time. Where you will be, and in what condition, when you are an adult is not even slightly modified by the choices you made as a child or teenager or young adult.

Mind you, one can say the same about a number of video games, which is why video games have action, and challenge, and the possibility of death.

And yet, there are moments of near-greatness in this game. For instance, there was one chapter where you find a Navajo ranch and you live with them for a few days. There is a genuinely creepy mystery that only you can solve. The dramatic weight of the story mixed with the solitude of the location and the relative silence of the Navajo family sets an eerie tone. Ironically, the game tends to shine during the chapters that aren't pushing the central plot forward: like at the afore-mentioned birthday party, or where Jodie helps a homeless girl deliver a baby. But during the more integral chapters, like when you are investigating the scene of a botched government experiment, or are evading the feds, the feeling of being on a set, predetermined path is more evident, and thus more frustrating.

This may seem like I'm down on the game. And I guess I am, sorta. The truth is I quite enjoyed it - but I enjoyed it more because it was different from the norm than because of the game's own merits. Most of the time, I just wished I was playing Heavy Rain.
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on July 7, 2017
If you enjoyed Heavy Rain developed by Quantic Dream then this is another game by the same Development team that sits pretty high on my list of best PS3 games, you get great performances by Ellen Page and William Dafoe as they voice Jodie and Nathan Dawkins it's worth checking out if you like Choice based games that feel more like a movie then an actual game.
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on December 15, 2013
I have Platinumed this game, and it wasn't because i really enjoyed the story but because i didn't want to start a new game before i went on a trip to europe.

Story: For an interactive story based game, this game forgot that what makes these types of game special is the variety of scenarios i can get my character in through my own choices. This game gives the illusion of choice, but after playing the game to platinum i can officially say there are really only a few choices that can be made and most end in exactly the same way. I'm a huge heavy Rain fan, and this game fails in every way that made that game special. There are moments just like in Heavy Rain that are really moving, but the lack of permanent death, and how the story is told out of order forcing any one choice from having any meaningful impact on the scenes that follow it. One of the things that i loved about heavy Rain was to see how my combination of choices influenced the following scenes. This game, has none of that mystery or excitement in a second play through, because each scene is predetermined. On the over all story, parts were nice, mostly the first half for me, and the last few scene before the end, but the middle was nothing more then filler.

GamePlay: The game play has been streamlined since Heavy Rain and mostly for the better. But the choices of how to go about a fight scene have been completely removed and your left with one choice, win or fail. if your fail Aiden will step in and simple save you... it a little to simplified. I miss being able to choose if i want to hit the bad guy with the lamp or kick him.

That said i loved playing as Aiden. He can do basically three things, one: piss off the characters around him by messing with the surroundings. Two: Kill people for Jodie. Three: Solve really basic puzzles, like open the cookie jar. But messing with people is fun, and when he's let loose the game shines, sadly the result is always the same story wise.

Replay: this has little to do with my over all score but should be noted for anyone thinking about trophy hunting this game. None of the dialogs can be skipped, expect to watch the same thing, over and over again. you can do chapter select, but it starts from the beginning of that chapter, and a few chapters take an hour to complete... I watched the Full second season of American Horror Story on my second play through. But on a positive note or if you want to call it that, you can leave go to the bathroom, or make some dinner and the scene will carry on, Jodie just keep talking, even if i didn't choice an answer. But I must stress because the variety of the game is heavily lacking, replay never seems to change the results of the gameplay.

Over all the graphics are really nice, and it makes me excited to see what they'll be able to do on the PS4 for their next game. The story, is actually nice for the first play through mostly, but don't expect the story to change enough on the second play through to be interesting. I paid $25 on black friday and it was worth it, but if i paid full price I'd been disappointed.
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on December 26, 2014
I loved this game, for the game itself.... At least the parts I got to play. I thought this would be a great game to play with my fiance and I knew he's wanted it for a while now. We got it, started it and had no troubles until the Homeless chapter when it suddenly started freezing and refused to load. Then when we shut off the PS3 and tried loading it again, it wouldn't even load to the home screen, just a daunting black screen. We had to restore the PS3 and lose our data. I wasn't even upset about having to start over until it wouldn't load past the first chapter.

Normally, I would assume that this was a hardware error, except that there are innumerable forums about Beyond Two Souls having these issues for EVERYONE. So if it doesn't happen to you in at least some small way, consider yourself lucky.

I love the story and the characters and the situations and would love to update this review if I find some magical solution and manage to play through the game. Until then, three stars only for glitchy game.
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on October 22, 2013
I am not what you would call a serious gamer so I think I may have enjoyed this game more than most. But I must say even for me, this game was very short more like a movie than game. You should know that going in.This is not your typical video game. All that being said,It was amazing the graphics,the story and the acting were outstanding. Loved the interaction with Jodi and Aiden. Sometimes I did have problems with the controls on Aiden but as I said, I am not a true gamer so most of you may not have any trouble. The story is where this game shines the most. The life of a girl who has supernatural gifts that lead her from basically being a lab rat to the CIA to Homeless, and more along the way. I played Heavy Rain and this is on par with that but on the down side it really short. So, Would I buy it again, at full price? YES! Because from the opening scene, the story pulled me in. You can tell that everyone involved in Beyond Two Souls wanted this game to be an experience that would touch the player on a personal level and that is what it did for me. I cared. My emotions were involved.For me that is a game worth my money. If you just want blood, killing and fighting, this game is not for you. This was art. Games like this will keep me a Play Station owner and coming back for more.
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on December 27, 2015
Before I get into why I gave this game a 5 Star rating you should understand what this product is. It is not a video game, but rather an interactive movie. You make choices as you follow and affect how the story unfolds. There are (I believe and may be wrong) 28 different endings depending on your choices. If you like games that are choice based and not looking for a first person shooter or RPG, then this is your game.

The story and acting is great, the choices and diversity that is given to the player are numerous. You have replay-ability that will have you going back making different decisions just to see how characters and events change. It can be a bit creepy, but not nearly as bad as most thriller/horror games I've seen and played.

It is a great story that will change upon your decisions and for that alone made this game so much fun to play over and over. Just understand that there is very little in terms of playing an action based type game, but there are moments that the game incorporates aspects of a traditional FPS.

Have fun!
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on July 4, 2014
This is no Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit) or Heavy Rain. I was grossly disappointed by this one. Storyline is interesting, but not that interesting. Just seemed less compelling. In addition, the changes you make during the game don't seem as significant or varying as what changes happened in Heavy Rain. Maybe that is just because Heavy Rain was more of a murder mystery and this is more like playing Ellen Page's life. I have to say, creating characters with the motions of the actors playing them was a pretty neat idea but not enough to turn this game around.

To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed by the ending too. Just seemed like the endings you could choose were really you pushing you in one "right" direction.

Don't waste your money if you get bored easily and that comes from someone who liked Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain.
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on February 9, 2014
I feel it is pretty much as everyone else feels about it so this review won't be long. To make it short and sweet, the movie standpoint and character expressions, movements, facial appearance, etc are truly outstanding and had a lot of time and effort put into them hands. The story line is detailed and easy to follow with a lot of thought and effort put into also. Now the game play it self, not so much. You basically use mostly 4 control buttons for the whole game except for a few parts where you may use more which makes the controlling the character easy and simply. Here's the problem, the game is suppose to be designed for free will play but it's really not. You play Jodie(human character) and Aiden(the entity or ghost that stays and interacts with Jodie whole life). You are pretty much allowed to switch between the two and play with both of them the entire game or play with two players and one be Aiden and the other Jodie. Aiden has many abilities. He can choke, move things, break things, pass through walls, let Jodie see what he sees, possess people, etc. But the game limits when and what abilities he can use. It dictates how far at certain times he is allowed to move away from Jodie, what people he is allowed to possess, what people he is allowed to choke/kill, what wall he can pass through, etc. So this limits the free will concept of the game. Jodie is pretty much cut and dry. She just moves and interacts with Aiden and her surroundings the only problem I had with her is her slow motion scenes. There is one part of the game where they teach how to interact with fighting with Jodie. So when I started seeing this slow motion scenes I always thought it was a fight scene and that you where suppose to move toward the motion(when you have the game this will make better sense) but in fact some of the scenes are dodging scenes where you need to move away from the action. It is a little hard to tell which way they want you to move because so scenes you have to perform both actions and if you mess up it can cost you. Like for instance, a certain amount of hits or dodges can earn you a trophy. Don't get me wrong though, there is some free will involved in the game and certain things you do will effect later events, for instances the game has 24 different endings so that definitely a time killer if really looking for something to do, but I feel its a CONTROLLED FREE WILL game. A little longer than what I wanted to write but I wanted to make sure you understand what you are buying. Some other people wrote a more in def detail description of the game and characters so if you wanted to know more about it, you should probably read theirs. I just tried to give a quick short version and hope it helps.
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on October 23, 2013
I enjoyed Heavy Rain, so I was interested that this was coming out. I decided to try the Demo first, and it was a day one purchase for me. The controls like anything take a little getting used to. Sometimes it's hard to understand what direction they want you to move the controller. Other than that, the Story is GREAT!

They don't tell the story in a traditional way, it kind of jumps around a lot. I just played the first few chapters, but liked it so much decided to write a review now. It's more action oriented unlike Heavy Rain. The game keeps you wondering who Aiden is, and if he's a friend or foe. There are MULTIPLE ways you can play the game. If you mess up a "sequence", it can change the game drastically. So the replay value is high.

For you who thinks this looks like Ellie, don't worry. You won't ever think it's her when you start playing it. The game draws you in so much that you won't want to put it down. If you not sure about this, download the demo. Also, if you do like the game, please support the game by buying it new. This most likely won't get the sales like the big Triple A games. So if your a fan Support it! You won't be disappointed if you love a great story.
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on January 31, 2014
now, i'm not going to sit here and type about how much this game is beautiful (if you played it you know just how breathtaking the graphics are for a ps3 release), but i will write about how i feel this game made me feel as a whole.

it takes the idea of the similar gameplay and feel of Heavy Rain and makes it with Ellen Page as the main character. i'm cool with that. i loved heavy rain and all the amount of choices and endings in it, maybe this one will have the same feeling too!

nope. it's like watching a movie... which is interesting in its own account. but, here is the thing, with a movie you are kept in suspense and the movie doesn't ASK if you want a choice done or not and then tells you "EH, WHAT'S THE POINT I'MMA CHOOSE FOR YOU. GO SCREW YOURSELF, PLAYER".

it is interesting, yes. games that have done the illusion of choices (bioshock infinite and walking dead) can sometimes be the best way of making a deep impact that no matter how many times you play it, you can't save everyone or change your outcome. but this game take the idea of something so definitive of 'choices' and gives you the middle finger in the biggest way possible.

see, when you have a 'god-like' figure in the game (you know, jodie is like kung fu action jesus) you don't feel the need to protect them. in fact, i realized that i could play the game with honestly leaving the remote down for most of the action sequences. honestly. i know it's a 'movie' geared game to change the mindset of players and such but... what's the point of 'playing' a 'game' like this when you can just watch it?

some ideas would make for a more interesting approach for a movie rather than a game. heavy rain? great game! again, the combat didn't always affect the outcome but if you messed up an answer it would take note and change the game like a never ending book. beyond two souls? EHHHHH you're ideas and input don't count so here's a shower scene instead and an awkward make out scene instead.

i get how deep and interesting and revolutionary this game wants itself to be... obviously as seeing there's a part 2 that may or may not come out. but this isn't a way to have the game work. you can have a linear story and have it more interesting than this.

quantic dream is a beautiful production company but... their director? they need to get rid of him. honestly. to say this is was a huge letdown in my hopes of gaming doesn't properly sum up my true emotions for this game.

buy it if you want, it's an interesting idea with great control ideas.. but if you want something that gives the illusion of something much deeper than what it is (just listen out for that annoying "AHHHHHHHH~~ AHHHHHHHHHH~~ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-AHHHH-AHHHHHHHH" music that always plays when they want you to 'feel' something deeply emotional) then this is the game for you. the team at quantic knows its shit. it's beautiful, plays smoothly and is wonderful.

the story isn't worth a second playthrough.
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