Title: Beyond: Two Souls

Platform: Playstation 3
Genre: Interactive drama, action-adventure

That’s So Meta

BEYOND: Two Souls is created by studio Quantic Dream, who made one of my other favorite games, Heavy Rain. These games are stand-outs because they blend action and story into feeling like you are in a movie. Quantic Dream’s hallmark use of motion capture creates realistic body movements and facial expressions. And in both games, you control the main character’s fate. More on that later.

You are Jodie Holmes, played by Elliot Page, and I could mic-drop right here because it’s awesome being Elliot Page. When Jodie was born, she was linked with an entity named Aiden. Jodie is the only one who can talk to Aiden, who does appropriately creepy entity-related jobs like possession and telekinesis. Because of her powers, Jodie ends up in a government facility run by Dr. Nathan Dawkins, played by Willem Dafoe. Second mic-drop.

As the player, you control both Jodie and Aiden and make decisions about what you say and do. The game follows 15 years of Jodie’s life, from a young child to adult, and the choices you make determine Jodie’s fate. There are 11 possible endings – with 23 different variables – so you literally hold her life in your hands.

The graphics are so jaw-dropping you have to see for yourself. For you veterans out there this is all gameplay; there is zero pre-rendering.

Power Up: Storytelling

The game does not play in chronological order, and you move through Jodie’s memories as a timeline. The plot draws you in as you jump around Jodie’s life and try to figure out how your choices affect what she’s recalling. I played this game in six hours jaunts because I NEEDED to know what happened.

Power Up: Shake It Up

You primarily interact with people and the environments by pushing in one direction or using one of the buttons for a choice. There are other elements in the game to keep it far from boring including puzzles, stealth, and action which somehow includes RIDING A HORSE.

Power Up: Co-Op

This was the icing on the cake for me. If you have two controllers and a friend, one of you can play as Jodie and the other as Aiden. I handed the second controller to my boyfriend so he could be Aiden.

Now when I was a kid, I told my sister exactly how to play two player games, because duh, I’m older. I didn’t want to do that with this game so I told my boyfriend to play however (and whenever) he wanted. Aiden is his own “self” so if he felt like jumping in at ANY point, he could. The randomness of Aiden made it MUCH more interesting.

Of course, if you do play with a friend, you can totally tell them what to do as Aiden if you’re as bossypants as me. (If I had a catch phrase, it might be “DON’T MESS UP THE ENDING. I GOOGLED IT.”)

Power Up: Elliot Page

Man, Elliot Page took this game to a whole new level. Through full motion capture, Elliot acted out the scenes as Jodie and the body movements and facial expressions are all him. It gives realism and emotion that is pretty unexpected.

Newbie #ProTips

This is a great game to start with on a Playstation 3. The primary controls are directional – like you push down to get Jodie to open a door – and your dialogue choices are made by hitting one of the four buttons. You’ll quickly memorize each button because some responses are timed and you really want Jodie to flirt with that hot guy.

There is a lot of coaching throughout the game so you can learn what it wants you to do instead of guessing. So if you need to sneak, it’ll flash which button you need to push.

Since there is SO much story, it’s a great couch-sharing experience. Someone can just watch this game and enjoy it as a movie. If you played straight through with zero mistakes it’s about an 8 hour movie, but it’s still a good movie.

And you will make mistakes. There is a certain annoyance factor to all games where your actions are timed, so you’ll probably find yourself repeating a sequence over and over. There is one training sequence that almost made me toss the controller so I had to take a break. But that’s what makes it a game, right?

Veteran #ProTips

Story, story, story. I can’t say it enough. The pace starts slow since you are little-kid Jodie, but evolves into full action as Jodie and Aiden attempt to steal documents from a foreign embassy. So if it feels slow and boring, give it a few memories – it’ll definitely pick up.

If you played Heavy Rain, and I hope you have, there are a lot of similarities in the controls and style. Quantic fixed a lot of the problems that came up during Heavy Rain, and I don’t mean the kinda bad acting. (I’ll love on you sometime soon Heavy Rain, I promise.)

There isn’t one single way to play through a memory, which can change the outcome and how Jodie and Aiden behave. I watched a YouTube on the embassy memory and the player did it COMPLETELY different than I did. This gives actual choice instead of being steered through the gameplay.

This also gives massive replayability. I didn’t have the patience to get all 11 endings so I YouTubed them for HOURS, but you have the option to replay memories or the entire thing if you want to see them all.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this game. Being able to share the game with my boyfriend was great, and the emotional story kept me addicted.

About the Contributor:

This post was written by Bianca Bickford.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.