Andy Naylor reviews Beyond: Two Souls…
Quantic Dream released Heavy Rain quite a few years ago now; it wasn’t a game in the traditional sense, but some kind of game/film hybrid. I loved it and I wasn’t the only one, it was a huge hit. I thought it looked exceptional and had a truly addictive and interactive plot. Each in game choice choice, mission failure or success had a real effect on the ending you’d receive, which gave it such a unique replayability factor. So, with obvious reasons to be excited, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Beyond: Two Souls.
To start, stellar cast. Willam Dafoe and Ellen Page bring a bit of Hollywood glitz and quality to proceedings, their acting throughout was exceptional. Unfortunately, that is where the Hollywood quality ends. The thing that made Heavy Rain exceptional was the story and the story for Beyond: Two Souls feels like a story by numbers. The plot is predictable, uninspiring and riddled with clichés. For a game that seems to pride itself on being like an interactive movie, it’s not a very good movie. Rather than playing the game and thinking, “I need to know what happens next!” I found myself giving it longer than I should of because of Heavy Rain’s success and thinking, “Surely it gets better than this.” It doesn’t. It just plods along and is genuinely quite boring while it fashionably hops the timeline in an effort to be modern. Rather than finding this interesting and revealing, it simply becomes a bit tedious.
The graphics and visuals are as you would expect from Quantic Dream, sublime from the very start. The face modelling of Dafoe and Page are quite outstanding, and the range of emotion that is on show from the character models is very impressive. The environments are beautiful, and for the majority of the time offer a sympathetic background to what is currently occurring in the story, but do suffer from being too large and empty in areas. Everything feels too spacious and big and certain areas of the story would better suit a more claustrophobic setting.
The controls are solid. There’s not an awful lot to really control in truth, but everything functions perfectly and quite intuitively. Handling the second soul, Aiden, is a little strange at first, but that’s because his movements are so unlimited and unusual. Once you are used to the unique character handling it soon becomes quite fun and liberating controlling the mysterious Aiden, whose twist you can’t see coming a mile off.
The game play is solid, the graphics excellent but due to the nature of the game everything hinges upon the story, which is simply not good enough. It feels like a man has been left to over indulge in the plot, with no one willing to tell him where to draw the line, where to push him in a better direction and where to say no. After the brilliance of Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls is a bitter disappointment.
Andy Naylor – Follow me on Twitter