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Nov 10 2013
By: MrSeival First Son 7 posts
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My own Beyond: Two Souls review.

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0 replies 202 views Edited Nov 11, 2013

Below is my personal point of view about Beyond: Two Souls game. Please, note that as a player I was quite sceptical about interactive-movie game genre, but Beyond: Two Souls changed my opinion on the matter completely. Now I believe that good interactive-movie is the best format of telling truly amazing stories.

 

My personal overall rating for this game is: 10/10.

The story.
Beyond: Two Souls is a heavily story-driven game, as any good interactive movie should be. Both genre of the story, and how exactly the story is told, make the game so very special. Personally, I'm not a fan of paranormal stories, but this game managed to show me such story in an unusual perspective and with very interesting ideas. The Infraworld and the Entities for example - remind me the Fade and Spirits/Demons concepts from Dragon Age series, concepts that I find very interesting to think about and play with. Specific relanionship between Jodie and Aiden is also very interesting concept. And of course, what attracts me the most to the story - the philosophical thinking about how different people are treating something/someone alien and each other. Thinking that is very important nowadays.
Ideas used in a game are very important, but they are not the only thing that shape the story. Representation of all these ideas is not less important. And that part of Beyond: Two Souls is just brilliant. The amazing actors' work and all the technologies that were used to move this work into game with awesome graphical engine, combined with beautiful music, great ideas and interesting scenario - made the game masterpiece. I can't remember a book, movie, or game that seemed so important and so real for me. I played through the game twice already - each time the same deep feelings and thoughts, each time I applauded in the end. Literally.

The gameplay.
Beyond: Two Souls gameplay is mostly QTE, however I can't call this a disadvantage. Simply, because Beyond: Two Souls gameplay is very diverse and interesting. It uses the entire gamepad. Movement with left stick and looking with right stick reminds any modern third person game (but has much more diferent animations than any regular game). 8 different buttons can be used in three different ways (press, press-and-hold, press-rapidly), and in combinations with each other. Swipe-like interactions with right stick remind swipes common for mobile games - very intuitive and handy. Even gyroscope and accelerometer are used. In addition to all of that, Beyond: Two Souls contains elements of different game genres - stealth action, cover shooter, simulator, and quest. Finally, Jodie and Aiden gameplays are completely different. Basically, I can't recall any FPS, TPS, or RPG game that has such diverse gameplay possibilities, especially - non-combat gameplay possibilities.
Some people may say that Beyond: Two Souls has too small amout of gameplay, and I will disagree. The game has enough amount of gameplay. It's not too large, so I never got bored with doing the same thing over and over again. And it's not too small, so I get perfect level of immersion, and feel like I'm participating in the story's events, not just observing.
Some people may also say that impossibility of protagonist's death is the game's disadvantage. But it is not, actually. It fits this particular story very well. And there are other good story-driven games that prove I'm right, for example Planescape: Torment and Darksiders-2. Beyond: Two Souls story depends on player's actions, but not in the way if you will die or not during the gameplay, but in the way of changing turn of events in the story's key moments.
What I liked the most in Beyond: Two Souls gameplay - is melee combat. I found it very dynamic, exciting, and sometimes very challenging. It was really exciting to see fully motion captured diverse melee and run scenarios with a lot of key-points for intuitive interactions, which are not always easy to perform. This kind of melee combat requires attention and concentration, it looks and feels really great and realistic, and honestly, I would prefer such melee gameplay over any other variants of melee regular games can offer nowadays.
One more thing worth mentioning is dialogue system. What I like about it is that unlike other dialogue systems, it's quite challenging. You can't trigger dialogue scene, then go drink some coffee, talk to your fiends for a while, make a couple of calls, and then return to the game just to see the dialogue scene as you left it 20 minutes ago. Dialogue options are fading in matter of seconds. Sometimes they are blinking and flouncing in accordance to your character's condition - when Jodie is tired or angry for example, and it quite hard to say something right in such a condition, just like in real life.

The conclusions.
Playing Beyond: Two Souls was really amazing experience. The story was very interesting and immersive, and it didn't require too much time to be told. Gameplay was really diverse, interesting, and dynamic, sometimes even challenging. For me, Beyond: Two Souls is pure essence of great interactive storytelling. 
When I look back at regular story-driven games, I find it quite annoying that in such games I had hours of routine and monotone gameplay that had nothing to do with storytelling. Moving your character around and fighting dumb AI-controlled dolls pressing the same buttons the same way over and over again was in fact very time-consuming and primitive, while 90% of story was always concentrated in cutscenes and dialogues.
What I want to say, is that now I believe regular games are not even nearly as good in terms of storytelling as interactive movies. Interactive-movie games are much more visual and immersive than any good book or comic, they are much longer than any good movie, and they have really diverse gameplay with no excess routine gamplay features inherent to all regular games.
I know that producing interactive movies is more challenging than producing regular games, but still I hope to see more games like Beyond: Two Souls produced in the nearest and distant future. And I really hope that such games will also start to come from AAA devs which didn't make such games before, but chose this path to tell their own truly amazing stories.

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