Beyond Two Souls Review

For all its promises of representing a change from the usual (supposed) shoot-bang zeitgeist, Beyond is just as nonsensical as any Call of Duty. It's a thriller without any intrigue, a character study bereft of character, and a game short of actual gameplay.

In fairness to David Cage, his decision to build a game around the life of a troubled young woman is a brave one, and Ellen Page's performance is good. But on the whole the scenarios he presents us with are so contrived, so boring, as to render all interest in what happens to Jodie – and the malevolent spirit that she is connected to – utterly dull.

Heavy Rain had problems, but its central conundrum was enough to pull users through the experience. Beyond has no such draw: there's no mystery to Jodie and Aiden's relationship, nor is there to her power: everyone seems to know about it. The motivations of your supporting characters - CIA spooks, shifty scientists - are telegraphed too early to surprise or excite.

So too with the decision to hop back and forth between different stages of Jodie's life: with no character building or conspiracy to work out, they become pace-sagging vignettes, exposition masquerading as interactivity. This is mostly due to gameplay being so uninvolved: you're oftentimes just guiding Jodie to the end of a 'scene' – by, say, opening doors, or rolling over in your bed – rather than making informed, influential choices. Combined, it makes flashing back a chore: you're not learning much, and you're actually doing even less.

The narrative's problems feed into the mechanics. Aiden's powers – and how they're exerted – are woefully inconsistent with the story, and the game is utterly straightforward in its moment-to-moment interaction with the player. Which would be fine if the game's narrative hooked you in. But it doesn't. There are bright moments, but when a game sells itself on a story, said story better be good. This one isn't, and anyone expecting Heavy Rain 2 is going to be sorely disappointed.

Completed the story in 12 hours.

4 / 10

  • Excellent visuals.
  • Some good scenarios.
  • Terribly clichéd.
  • Doesn't feel like you're really participating in the story.

Click above for enlarged Beyond: Two Souls Screenshots

25 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

IronMit's Avatar

IronMit

This site has got confusing really fast. I understand different reviewers have different tastes but now we have S.Burns really disliking his last few games (That I have read) well below the metacritic score (if we take that as an average) and Simon loving all the games he reviews.

Coincidence or inconsistency?

I initially came because of Chris Schilling's Hitman review and his nowhere to be seen now.

Anyway, all the reviewers here clearly love games ..so.... Could we have quick run down of what all the reviewers think in the right hand column as they play game? Maybe one sentence, or just a number? No, I don't want to listen a one hour podcast of you guys discussing it.
ps. What does Matt think!?:)
Posted 19:27 on 08 October 2013
KamSage's Avatar

KamSage

Admittedly, I think it's worth playing still, just not at full price. Mixed review games make me not want to gamble my money a possible bad investment, or at least something I'm not interested in.
Posted 19:08 on 08 October 2013
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77@ NickTheSwede

I agree, this is one that needs to be experienced first hand. Steve Burns is a gamer and a person just the like the rest of us, just because he didn't get on with it does not mean the rest of us won't either.
Other reviews around the web are very scattered across the board.
Posted 17:26 on 08 October 2013
KamSage's Avatar

KamSage

I really do wonder why Sony doesn't pull a reign on some of these decisions in games. I mean people blame publishers for stifling creative freedom in games, but publishers help focus certain aspects of the creative developers like Cage.
Looking at Molyneux and Suda 51 for that sought of thing.
Posted 17:10 on 08 October 2013
bornoftheumbra's Avatar

bornoftheumbra

I really enjoyed the demo, I thought the set pieces were good fun and the storytelling and look of the game were stunning. It may be a little too stand offish for me but I will definitely be purchasing it when I can. Wasn't an avid fan of Heavy Rain but I did really enjoy it.
Posted 17:04 on 08 October 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Well, I disliked Heavy Rain intensely (stupid plot and boring as dirt, IMHO, which are the qualities bemoaned here) - not as badly as LA Noire, to be fair, but not far off...
Posted 16:52 on 08 October 2013
NickTheSwede's Avatar

NickTheSwede

don't cancell a pre-order just because of a review. Listen to players. They love it.
Posted 16:46 on 08 October 2013
gnothfield's Avatar

gnothfield

Ouch indeed. Pre-order cancelled, I might pick it up cheaper later as Cage's experiments are always interesting...
Posted 16:31 on 08 October 2013
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77

Ouch! Didnt see that coming, im still getting it though.

I bet the reviews will be a mixed bag for this so its probably best to make up your own mind.
Posted 16:29 on 08 October 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Yeesh... Beyond never even blipped on my radar, and I'm glad of it.
Posted 16:22 on 08 October 2013

Game Stats

Beyond: Two Souls
4
Out of 10
Beyond: Two Souls
  • Excellent visuals.
  • Some good scenarios.
  • Terribly clichéd.
  • Doesn't feel like you're really participating in the story.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 11/10/2013
Platform: PS3
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: SCEE
Genre: Adventure
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 836
View Full Site