Video Games: “Beyond: Two Souls” is Unique But Flawed

Beyond-Two-SouldVideo games have evolved to satisfy the short attention spans of their players by offering accelerated game play and little emotional attachment. Developers Quantic Dream prefers to go the opposite route and focus more on plot. However, the story of “Beyond: Two Souls” is rather convoluted, and the game play lacks excitement.

Jodie is a very troubled young girl whose invisible companion isn’t a figment of her imagination. In fact, it’s a spiritual entity that can interact with the physical world and it has a mind of its own. Jodie refers to it as “Aiden,” and she calls upon it to help her out of tough situations.

The story of “Beyond: Two Souls” spans fifteen years of Jodie’s life, and it jumps back and forth from her life as a young girl to teenager to young woman. I think the story would be more cohesive and that players would invest more emotion in Jodie’s plight if it were told in sequential order. On the other hand, choosing Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe as the main voice actors was brilliant!

Players have extremely limited control over Jodie’s actions as they guide her. She can only walk around and interact with items that have a white dot floating near them. During combat, players push the control stick in the direction her limbs are moving to block or attack, which is both simplistic and unsatisfying.

Controlling Aiden is much more fun, but still oddly limiting. Players guide him around in astral form and interact with items that have a white dot near them. It’s cool to scare other characters by making items fly across the room or by messing with electronic devices, but it would be nice to have the freedom to interact with anything I choose.

“Beyond: Two Souls” is worth playing for the unique experience, but not everyone will appreciate the slow pace.

DEVELOPER: Quantic Dream

PUBLISHER: Sony

SYSTEM: Sony PlayStation 3

PRICE: $59.99

ESRB RATING: Mature

REVIEW RATING: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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