Review - JOE plays 'Beyond: Two Souls' and gives our verdict
Starring Willem Defoe and Ellen Page, Beyond: Two Souls is a video game with a seriously heavy cinematic influence
From the moment we first spoke to producer of Beyond: Two Souls Guillhaume de Fondaumiere, we were pretty excited about getting our hands on the title. We got a little peak at what it would be like that night, but when we finally got a chance to review the game in full back in JOE Towers, we were still intrigued to see what the final product would be like.
With the acting talents and the likenesses of both Willem Defoe and Ellen Page, this game was clearly going to be different to your average title, and would it takes an obvious influence from cinema. What Guillhaume was keen to point out to us was also the organic nature of the non-linear storyline. It wasn't simply if you choose option one, then this will happen, but if you choose option two something else will happen, there was more to it than that, and apparently there were 20 different endings.
That said, in the game itself, that organic nature of choices comes across as somewhat lacking. Perhaps the case is that they have done their job in this respect too well and it feels as if there are almost no consequences for your choices, even if it seems like your character Jodie is about to die.
In terms of gameplay, there is enough here to keep you entertained, but it does seem like you're pressing the same buttons or simply repeating a particular combination over and over (and over). The flow of the game is perhaps the problem in this respect, it's jilted when you need to make a choice, or perform an action because it is so cinematic, and this jolts you into an activity, when much of what you had been doing before is, in a way, pretty passive. You may even find yourself sitting staring at the screen waiting for something to happen only to realise you were back in control of the character all along.
Having said that, once you get through the first few scenes (or missions, if you want to call them that) you'll become engrossed in the storyline and an hour's gameplay will only feel like 15-minutes.
The app feature is one that is also becoming much more a part of other games, and it is clearly still in its early stages here. It doesn't really offer enough to be a point of 'innovation', but it would certainly help gamers who are less confident with a controller or who might have never played before to get involved in the game. Handy for your younger sibling or non-gaming girlfriend.
Overall, there are some good ideas in here, and it's clearly a game that required a huge amount of work and effort to be pulled together, but the whole package doesn't quite work as beautifully well as it looks.
What has been touched on is hugely interesting however, and we have no qualms about saying that the lads at Quantic know what they're doing, and will continue to make interesting and innovative titles.