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Beyond: Two Souls - Review by Andy Urquhart (PS3)

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Beyond:Two Souls was one of my most anticipated games of the year, I preordered it months ago and had vehemently avoided spoilers and even refrained from playing the demo as I wanted to experience everything this game has to offer and play it the way it was intended to be played.

I began playing at 8pm on Friday 11th October (launch day in the UK). I put the console off at 6:30am the following morning having being put through the emotional wringer. I simply could not put this game down, I had to know what was going to happen next and I just kept going till it was all over. I decided to wait a few days before I wrote my review to play through some of the scenes again and to see if the emotional impact of the story was impacting my view on the game.

Beyond: Two Souls is the best looking game on the current generation of consoles, the animation of the characters is unbelievable even compared to the likes of Tomb Raider and The Last Of Us, Beyond shines above all else.

Gameplay is where you will either love or hate the game, now if you have played Heavy Rain (or The Walking Dead by Tell Tale Games) you will feel right at home here. However Quantic Dream have clearly learned from some of the awkward controls as Beyond is (for me) a masterclass in control schemes. Jodie controls as you would expect while walking around, it's when she is required to do something, fighting, jumping etc. that things get interesting. Gone (mostly) are the invasive on screen prompts for every single action and now we have a very simple system of using the right analogue stick to mimic Jodie's movements. It's a bold move that pays off in spades and really helps get you in that role. While Jodie's sections are fairly set out and there's not much exploring to do, Aiden, Jodies entity is basically free to go wherever he wants as long as he says reasonably close to Jody. This is a huge departure and a massive breath of fresh air in this style of game combining structured storytelling with largely unbridled freedom is something special indeed. The ability to just float around through walls and people is very cool indeed and some of the details in the game included for people such as myself who like to explore the environments are just amazing having circuit boards inside the computers in the game was a particularly nice touch.

In terms of story I'm going to say very little as this is a story that should be experienced in its entirety.
You play as Jodie and her entity Aiden who is invisible and tethered to her. The game takes you through various events over the course of 15 years in her life. Beyond that I will only say that this is the best story of any game I have ever played and I am not ashamed to admit that I genuinely shed tears during my play through. This is an emotional game that really takes you on an incredible journey with Jodie and boy does it leave a lasting impression.

If I could level any criticism at Beyond it would be only that it's on PS3 and it should really be a PS4 game, the control scheme would work even better using the PS4 touchpad. And I have no doubt that it would have looked even better on PS4 but like I said minor gripes only.

There's a reasonable amount of replayability here as well with art work and making of documentaries as unlockables for finding hidden items as well as replaying scenes and taking different actions to see how that will affect the outcome and yes there are multiple endings and plenty of trophies to collect for doing specific things in certain scenes. If you aren't interested in doing any of that stuff then a weekend rental would probably suffice to get through the 10-12 hour main story.

I also tried out the companion app available free on iOS and android, this allows you to use your smartphone to control Aiden when you switch to him. The action is all still displayed on the TV however and while the app works reasonably well (no latency at all) it takes away a lot of the freedom that makes playing as Aiden so good. Interesting and Worth trying out once, very good for partners who perhaps aren't al that into gaming.

Beyond: Two Souls will almost certainly by my game of the year, is the best game I have played in years and a true contender for the number 1 spot on my top 100 games, I recommend that everyone play through it at least once.

Andy Urquhart
42 Level One
 

 

 

 

Overall Score - 96%