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Beyond: Two Souls leaves critics divided

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Depending on your own predilection Quantic Dream’s David Cage is either a visionary auteur, or a pretentious twit who wishes he had the talent to make actual films instead of games. Whichever side of that fence you sit on, you have to admit that he does have a certain flair for visuals, and his latest bit of interactive fiction, Beyond: Two Souls is a beautiful thing to behold.  Is it any good though?

It seems that it all comes down to your own preferences – because the critical consensus is incredibly mixed, with reviews ranging from perfect scores all the way down to frightfully dismal forties. Here’s what critics have had to say:

Polygon’s Justin McElroy gave it an 8, saying:

With Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream has smoothed away nearly all the rough edges in how it presents its stories. The other edge of that sword is that it lays the stories themselves bare to be judged entirely on their own. With so many of the traditional elements of gameplay stripped away, like challenge and exploration, a tremendous amount of weight is put on Beyond‘s story to carry the day. While it’s exhilarating to see a team that has worked so hard to perfect a new way of telling stories, I couldn’t help wishing they had a perfect one to tell.

Making the inevitable comparison to Heavy Rain, Eurogamer awarded it a middling 6, saying:

Heavy Rain worked because it was a police procedural, a genre that’s all about narrow horizons and methodical reassurance. The tight confines of Quantic’s style suited it well. The same delivery just can’t contain Beyond’s epic scope, preposterous premise and high-octane action. You’re left feeling detached from it, and its component parts have nothing more than a frail spine of story holding them together.

IGN felt it was too much of a movie, and not enough of a game, giving it a 6 as well.

Scene by scene, Beyond: Two Souls is compelling enough, principally thanks to a remarkable performance from Ellen Page. But never before have I felt like such a passive participant in a video game, my choices and actions merely icing on a dense, multi-layered cake. Playing Beyond is a memorable experience, yes, but a good video game it is not; and while the credits were rolling I admit to thinking I would have been happier to sit back and watch a movie version that was eight-and-a-half hours shorter.

Gamespot was a little more impressed, giving it a 9

Top-notch acting makes the characters you interact with sound believable, and their faces are expressive enough that you understand their thoughts even when they remain silent. Beyond: Two Souls so easily melds story and mechanics that you become enamored with this young woman and her extraordinary life.

Destructoid was not particularly chuffed, giving it just five out of ten – mostly because it’s just damned boring.

For all the complaints that can be leveled at Beyond — and they can be leveled in feckless abundance — the overwhelming problem with it is that it’s just plain boring. Like a sociopath,Beyond: Two Souls knows how to act like it has a heart, while providing nothing of the emotional depth required to connect with an audience. Its characters can smile, and cry, and tell us they’refeeling all of these feelings, but their paper-thin presentation and the frequent narrative dead ends prevent any of their pantomime from becoming too convincing.

As with Cage’s other games, Beyond really seems to be a Marmite, love-it-or-hate-it affair. I’ve been playing it, and I feel I have to preface this with the fact that I loved Heavy Rain in spite of its flaws. Beyond: Two Souls though? I can;t say it’s particularly gripping or interesting. It’s not even the fact that it’s less of a game and more of an interactive movie; that would be fine if the story told was enthralling.

This one isn’t.

Last Updated: October 9, 2013

100 Comments

  1. NecroRince

    October 9, 2013 at 08:37

    I just don’t know hey. OVG and I watched the opening 5 minutes a while ago, and while stunning for a game, with amazing voice acting etc, it was a movie with QTE. A stunning movie, but not a ‘game’ in my opinion.

    Reply

    • Downloadable content John

      October 9, 2013 at 08:45

      Ah, one of those then?

      Reply

    • Skyblue

      October 9, 2013 at 08:46

      Heavy Rain was very similar. I enjoyed Heavy Rain but once finished I never touched it again even with all the promises of different story arcs/endings.

      Reply

      • NecroRince

        October 9, 2013 at 08:54

        Yeah. I mean I love the execution, and the story idea (won’t spoil) but cannot see myself as spending more than one playthrough…

        Reply

        • Downloadable content John

          October 9, 2013 at 08:56

          That’s usually the issue with games loaded with cut scenes (especially if you can’t skip them) they just don’t have any re-playability.

          Reply

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 09:00

            Issue here is, if you skip them, you end up at the credits… BOOM!

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:02

            Hahaha.

          • Skyblue

            October 9, 2013 at 09:10

            LOL

      • Aussious

        October 9, 2013 at 09:23

        As Cage had intended, he had said that the game experience should only be played once.

        Reply

        • NecroRince

          October 9, 2013 at 09:26

          For $60? 0-O

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:31

            Same price as a Taiwanese hooker!

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 11:04

            Not really, the treatment after said hooker is usually a bit more than $100 0-O

          • Aussious

            October 9, 2013 at 09:34

            Lol yes! Its way better than a Taiwanese hooker erhm who might be a dude mind you 😉

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 11:03

            Erm! 0-O

    • Umar ZoMg Reiner

      October 9, 2013 at 08:56

      Can’t agree with you there, I can’t call it a Movie, even though control is minimal. It’s just something different, hell, pressing X to Jason makes it a game lol

      Reply

      • NecroRince

        October 9, 2013 at 09:00

        Ha! Don’t bring your X magic here!

        Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        October 9, 2013 at 09:04

        It is the future Umar, interactive movies! Coming to a Bluray disc near you!

        Reply

        • Umar ZoMg Reiner

          October 9, 2013 at 09:05

          Movies + Kinect = Next Gen Movies!

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:11

            That would be really cool,except for one kind of movie genre…

      • NecroRince

        October 9, 2013 at 09:05

        Have you watched the first 20 mins bro? I think you press about 7 buttons… I press more when watching a DVD movie in that time…

        Reply

        • Umar ZoMg Reiner

          October 9, 2013 at 09:07

          Lol I play a lot of Visual Novels so it doesn’t bother me that much…I do understand what you mean though

          Reply

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 09:26

            You shut up FF13 fanboy!

          • Umar ZoMg Reiner

            October 9, 2013 at 09:27

            I did like FF 13 in all honesty

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 09:41

            Remember, we are meeting at the bottom of the Kimberly mine for our next gamer meet, that or Brass Bell…

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:43

            O_o

        • TiMsTeR1033

          October 9, 2013 at 09:15

          What kinda movie you watch! Need to see scenes a few times in a row… To um maximize the *cough* experience!

          Reply

    • oVg

      October 9, 2013 at 08:56

      Interactive movie, a good movie at that as the pacing is longer and the character development can be drawn out longer than a 90minute Hollywood movie.

      I think the $60 price tag for this is well worth it, but the target market is very small.

      Give it a few decades and David Cage will be mentioned as one of the few pioneers of interactive fiction after the cinema has fully adopted this formula.

      Cinema needs a kick up the pants, although the REAL 3D in the 22 minute cut scene in GRAVITY is going to make us drown in our own sweat. 🙂

      Reply

      • Umar ZoMg Reiner

        October 9, 2013 at 08:58

        Indeed, he could be paving the way for Games and Cinema to merge into something unknown to man . Will see where it leads though, but Interactive movies seems to be the next step for Cinema as in all honesty 3D movies are ass

        Reply

        • oVg

          October 9, 2013 at 09:10

          3D ass 😛

          Reply

          • Umar ZoMg Reiner

            October 9, 2013 at 09:11

            HAHAHA, Why did I get an image of an African American scream “DAAAAYUM”

      • Aussious

        October 9, 2013 at 09:42

        I remember a while back Spielberg and Lucas where talking shit about gaming and narrative, simply because they have never played games such as heavy rain and Fahrenheit.

        Reply

        • oVg

          October 9, 2013 at 09:55

          I bet those two muppets are rubbing their greedy OLD TIMER mitts together after seeing a videogame rake in 1Billion in 72 hours. 🙂

          Besides they just do not get it. I have had more fun with the characters from GTAV than Star Wars could ever give me.

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 9, 2013 at 10:14

            OVG speaks the truth!

        • NecroRince

          October 9, 2013 at 11:03

          Agreed. Those two are way over the mark…

          Reply

    • Aussious

      October 9, 2013 at 10:54

      Where does that leave MGS4 then?

      Reply

      • NecroRince

        October 9, 2013 at 11:02

        Well, you can equip weapons in MGS4, AND, here’s the clincher, hide under a box, B2S got nothing on that!

        Reply

        • Aussious

          October 9, 2013 at 11:06

          Point taken, unfortunately I have yet to play the game before I can give a full opinion.

          Reply

    • Kyou

      October 9, 2013 at 16:42

      DUDE THE VOICE ACTING IS TERRIBLE!!

      Reply

  2. Melasco

    October 9, 2013 at 08:41

    I was not a fan of Heavy Rain, and was never really hyped for Beyond Two Souls. One of my friends got it, and I’ll have a go when he’s done, but I just feel that it’s too much of a movie as well…. If I want to watch a story, I’ll go watch a movie.

    Mass Effect had a fantastic story, and was a full blown interactive game with a cut scene here and there, so I don’t see the point of making a game with so little interaction to tell a good story… But, I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve played / watched it, just not holding my breath…

    I think it’s a difficult game to pin a score on… Some will love that sort of thing, others will hate it.

    Reply

  3. Umar ZoMg Reiner

    October 9, 2013 at 08:42

    It’s a game, I don’t think there is any one way to really define a game, I mean, Visual Novels are considered games. I respect what Cage is trying to do. It’s not for everyone, I personally thought Heavy Rain was great. So will have to judge for myself I guess

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      October 9, 2013 at 08:49

      I also thought Heavy Rain was awesome. This is mostly twaddle though. My criticism isn’t centered around whether it’s a game or not. It’s an interactive film, and that’s fine. But if that’s the route you choose to go, the story had better be fucking worthwhile.

      Beyond’s story is not great.

      Reply

      • oVg

        October 9, 2013 at 08:50

        JASON!!!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 9, 2013 at 09:16

          What does oVg scream during sex?

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:19

            You would want to know, you dirty whore you!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:21

            I thought we were playing Jeopardy? :/

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:22

            Sure… The closet opens a little more with you Trevor…. everyday..

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:23

            Is that the infamous flaming closet?

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:23

            No just the gay closet…

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:24

            Flaming sounded a lot cooler. I wonder how many people who went to Narnia become homosexuals after returning back home.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:25

            TOO MANY!!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:25

            lol

      • Umar ZoMg Reiner

        October 9, 2013 at 08:51

        I’ve read so hey, watched the GT review too and it seems the acting is off the charts brought down by some not so great writing. Such a shame though, with such a cast, you could’ve had something really special

        Reply

  4. Kromas

    October 9, 2013 at 08:45

    Want story and game-play? Choose Last of Us. Want a choose your own adventure movie? ( I am coining that phrase :P) Choose Heavy Rain/Beyond:Two Souls

    Reply

  5. oVg

    October 9, 2013 at 08:47

    Emotions emotions emotions emotions emotion….s

    I did watch the first 20minutes and I was drawn in, but for replay value it is zero. A good interactive film. Far better than Heavy Rain.

    Ellen Page makes it work wonderfully 🙂

    Reply

    • NecroRince

      October 9, 2013 at 09:04

      Agreed, just a pity she is such a stuck up actress ‘oh, you used someone who looks like me in Last of Us’ cry me a fucking river…

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        October 9, 2013 at 09:09

        *Sings* CRY ME A RIVER!!! CMON CRY ME A RIVER!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          October 9, 2013 at 09:15

          Are you trying to tell us something Justin TIMberlake? Or is it Tanya-lake?

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:18

            When I am done with you will be Ricki Lake!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:21

            But I don’t want a sex change 🙁 Penis FTW!

          • SaintsRowNigri

            October 9, 2013 at 09:51

            Boom!

        • Rock789

          October 9, 2013 at 09:29

          **shudder** 😉

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:30

            I can sing! ….. like Elmo!

      • TiMsTeR1033

        October 9, 2013 at 09:12

        She looks bitchy too!

        Reply

        • Downloadable content John

          October 9, 2013 at 09:15

          Reminds me a bit of some of the girls I went to high school with. No one is ever friendly with the nerd. Bitches. All of them!

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:17

            I felt that pain! High school was a bitch!!

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:18

            With you there Tim. It sucks to be a nerd in high school. But my girlfriend is twice as pretty as any of them will ever be and she’s just as much as a nerd as I am. So they can suck it.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:20

            I knew my wife in high school, but never had the balls to talk to her then hahaha.

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:21

            Haha. Nice. Nah. I moved to the Republic of Cape Town the day after I finished high school. Haven’t had contact with anyone from high school since. Fresh start and all. Best decision of my life.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:22

            You from Jo burg originally?

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:23

            Durban. (the other big city)

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:24

            The water is better there though, nice warm sea!

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:28

            That it is Tim. Friendly people too. Well, some of them.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:24

            Durban? Oh you poor man! There, there… it’s okay. Let it out.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:25

            Dude Durban is sweet! esp if you like curry!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            October 9, 2013 at 09:28

            Not if you hate the humidity like I do. I went there once during summer for work, I think I dropped half my weight through sweat 🙁

          • SaintsRowNigri

            October 9, 2013 at 09:53

            If you think that’s bad, my fiance told me the other day she could not stand my guts in high school…

        • NecroRince

          October 9, 2013 at 09:27

          Oh yes, she is…

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            October 9, 2013 at 09:29

            Three women I would kill for free, Paris Hilton,Miley Cyrus, and that crazy bitch from Wizards of Waverley place! Flipping cant stand her! Oh and Justin Bieber, Id kill her too.

          • Downloadable content John

            October 9, 2013 at 09:30

            Yes, yes, don’t know who she is, and definitely yes.

      • Aussious

        October 9, 2013 at 11:13

        She is adorable though…

        Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 9, 2013 at 11:36

        But see it from her perspective, as an actor, your identity is what’s bankable. It’s what essentially feeds you and your family. For someone to just use your face, and not compensate you, that’s pretty shitty, and even more so if they say “Ah well.. you know it’s a homage to you babe – and technically, it’s not really you’re face… but it kind of resembles you.. lulz”.

        I’d be like.. “Oh hell no! SHOW ME THE MONEY JERRY! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”

        Reply

        • NecroRince

          October 9, 2013 at 11:48

          I get that, but be mature about it 😛 You’re just a nana, so you don’t count, hehehehe

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 9, 2013 at 12:16

            🙁 sniff! It’s cos I’m a ripe old banana, innit?

          • NecroRince

            October 9, 2013 at 12:50

            Yes! You smell!

  6. VanDerMerwe

    October 9, 2013 at 09:11

    As shown on Kotaku…

    Reply

    • Umar ZoMg Reiner

      October 9, 2013 at 09:20

      HAHAHAHAHA go for combo!!

      Reply

    • Pieter Kruger

      October 9, 2013 at 09:20

      HAHA! Saw that, also this….

      Reply

      • Aussious

        October 9, 2013 at 09:44

        Now that is a bit disturbing…

        Reply

  7. TiMsTeR1033

    October 9, 2013 at 09:14

    I seriously don’t know why make a game that is more of a movie… Should put a warning sticker on games like that… saying Artistic view or something, followed by this is a game movie..

    Reply

  8. Downloadable content John

    October 9, 2013 at 09:22

    I see Kalahari has a buy more and save promotion on games now…

    Reply

    • Umar ZoMg Reiner

      October 9, 2013 at 09:41

      Highly overpriced games so that it seems cheap in a bundle

      Reply

      • Downloadable content John

        October 9, 2013 at 09:43

        I saw.

        Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 9, 2013 at 12:18

        Now that you put it that way… cancels Puss in Boots purchase… 🙁

        Reply

  9. Aussious

    October 9, 2013 at 09:32

    I still maintain that Heavy Rain is the best game I’ve played this generation, and I don’t even own a PS3. We’ve been playing the same 3 games since 2006 ( cover shooter, FPS, Zombie game) Its always refreshing when something like Beyond comes along, I haven’t played it so I am not going to start praising the game yet without merit.

    Reply

  10. Rock789

    October 9, 2013 at 09:34

    I thoroughly enjoyed Heavy Rain. I thought it was a great, interactive experience with a deep story that, literally, changed as you went along – I liked the whole “No ‘Game Over’ screen” idea, with the story adapting to how you played.

    Beyond Two Souls seemed to promise to take that to the next level. From what I’ve seen, it may or may not succeed. The graphics, as far as I am concerned, are simply stunning! But pretty pics do not a game make. But I will reserve judgement until I’ve played and finished it (yes, I have pre-ordered it and will be playing it on Day 1). If it lives up to half it’s potential, then I will consider it money well spent.

    Reply

  11. Zubayr Bhyat

    October 9, 2013 at 09:49

    From what I played (30 minutes of it at least) it seemed to be quite cinematic and pretty thought provoking. That, however, was a minor portion of the game – I’d love to play it with more time invested.

    Reply

  12. Aussious

    October 9, 2013 at 11:27

    I will give it to David Cage though for always being ambitious, Does anyone remember this game came out on the Dreamcast and PC.

    Reply

  13. Kyou

    October 9, 2013 at 16:44

    THE JAPANESE ARE BETTER VOICE ACTORS!!

    Reply

  14. Jb Gingoyon

    October 10, 2013 at 02:36

    I give this 8/10. graphic is good and game play. Crack available here. http://beyondtwosoulsps3crack.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  15. Yasmin

    October 21, 2013 at 05:40

    I could really care less what the critics think, I pre ordered Beyond Two Souls months in advance and found the game to be very creative and awesome. I also found it to be cool that it felt like I was playing a movie. (And yes I consider it a game since I bought it from gamestop and put the disk into my PS3 to play it) Overall, I give Beyond Two Souls a 10 out of 10.

    Reply

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