David Cage and the development team at Quantic Dream launched Beyond: Two Souls back in 2013 for the PlayStation 3, and now the gorgeous PS3 game has come to the PS4. While the game does have improved visuals, it is still an experience that is more concerned with looking good than it is being an actual game.
Beyond: Two Souls does look better on the PS4 than it did on the PS3, however, the improved visuals aren’t as significant as something we saw from a game like Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Beyond was already an incredibly good looking game for the PS3’s era, and the jumps we see in textures, facial animations and environments are incremental.
For those who had the opportunity to play Beyond: Two Souls on PS3, you’ll be interested in experiencing the Remix order you can play the game through. I must say though, playing this game through the Remix order reveals the randomness and at times frustrating switches from one point in the story to another.
An example of this is the transition, or lack thereof, when the game moves from the “Broken” mission to the “Navajo” mission. There really isn’t much sense to how lead protagonist Jodie Holmes can go from running away from the authorities through a rainy forest to all of a sudden appearing in the dry Arizona desert. This and some other instances are just a few of the ways Beyond: Two Souls story seems more random and broken, given the fact that chronological order implies a chance to better understand the narrative.
That aside, when you look at each mission individually, they are as entertaining and intriguing as they were before. The characters of Beyond: Two Souls are pleasantly relatable as are their struggles throughout the game. The relationship you choose to establish between Ryan and Jodie reveals itself to be a very important one as you complete the story of Beyond: Two Souls.
Whether or not I choose to keep their relationship plutonic or intimate made a difference for me. I chose the latter and after certain events happen in the game, that made an impact on a life or death situation Jodie found herself in. This is a game that presented me with the excellent gameplay mechanic of choice and often times contextualized it with one difficult decision versus another.
Beyond: Two Souls truly struggles with the player camera and controllers quite often, and these two elements can be the most frustrating parts of the entire experience. Maneuvering tight spaces, like any room in the game, with Jodie can prove to be an infuriating task.
Not only is there not a sprint button to expedite the game’s pace, but I was often subjected to an inconsistent slow walk or slight jog from Jodie. Quantic did a poor job of giving players the freedom to move as they please and if that wasn’t enough, the game’s camera can be downright terrible.
Exploring the, at times, tight spaces of Beyond: Two Souls can be a very annoying task. When I tried to control the camera, that ended up disorienting the direction Jodie was walking and she ended up moving to a place I wasn’t controlling her to go to. The game’s camera is one of the most frustrating parts of this game and that’s a shame, given how simple of a mechanic this should be.
Despite the confusing nature of playing the game in Remixed order, Beyond Two Souls proves to be its most compelling when it puts the element of choice in the players’ hand. I found many moments on the game to be quite conflicting when it came to whether or not I should take a life, no matter how helpless they were, or when using Aiden to accomplish a task.
One of the enlightening revelations of playing the game via the Remix mode is seeing exactly how the relationship between Jodie and Aiden evolves. The two go from unfamiliar acquaintances to near best friends and this transformation proved to be quite rewarding for me to witness.
When finished with a mission, it’s extremely interesting to see what choices players made compared to the decisions I went with. I loved being able to see how my path compared with someone else’s and it was intriguing to know there were, at times, alternative paths I still needed to discover in the game.
Overall, for gamers who are thirsty for an experience that focuses on the story it is telling, Beyond: Two Souls has a tale worthy of your time. On the other hand, if you are someone who is looking for a challenging gameplay experience, all you’ll find is a very basic set of gameplay mechanics that leave a lot to be desired.
- Element of choice
- Remix mode
Sony Computer Entertainment of America provided byteclay.com with a PS4 code for Beyond: Two Souls for the purposes of this review.