Friday, May 9, 2014

Beyond Two Souls: This Unforgettable, Paranormal, Emotional Drama Is Cinematic Gaming At Its Best!

"Do this for me, Jodie ... Do it for me." - Nathan Dawkins

I said I would review this game after the A to Z Challenge was over. So here's the review. Long overdue. Let me shake the rust off ... driven games are the ones I gravitate to, for good reason. 2013 offered an explosion of innovative story games like the Tomb Raider remake, BioShock Infinite, and The Last of Us. Then this entered the scene and surprised many, myself included. Starring real actors (not just their voices), and the original score produced by Hans Zimmer makes this the most interactive movie experience I've played.

We first learn that our protagonist, Jodie Holmes, is a girl who's been linked with an entity, named Aiden, since birth. He is not a ghost. Not a poltergeist. No one really knows what he is, and fewer know of the dark entities that Aiden is protecting Jodie from. If only it were that simple. Aiden's jealous and overly protective nature makes it impossible for Jodie to make friends. The CIA's paranormal division wants to use her connection so they can create the ultimate special agent to do all the dirty work for them. Jodie is no tool, and leaving the agency gives way to a national manhunt.

Little do they know that Jodie (and Aiden) are the only ones, physical and supernatural, who can save the world from what lies Beyond.

I'll say this now: David Cage is the Christopher Nolan of gaming. Why? He hit the map with Heavy Rain, but Beyond Two Souls cinched the deal for me. The detail in his stories are great, with thought provoking lines. Getting Hans Zimmer to produce the music probably added to a Nolan-like atmosphere (cue Inception BRUM!).

The story unfolds as a broken time- line, meaning the events you see are not in linear order. This is a tough trick to pull a rabbit out of, but they pulled it! Bringing two high-profile actors into the game made it feel like a movie more than a game. Ellen Page? Willem DaFoe? Yes, please!

When done right, a broken timeline has the advantage of going back to the past to explain what you just saw, showing you instead of telling you, so to speak. This has proved effective since, now and then, you also get to play the anomaly Aiden. Yep. You get to scare people silly!

The player is given a wide range of choices, giving us a chance to wear the shoes of a medium and see first hand the psychological impact such experiences can have on anyone. It's an excellent character study on a ... well, fiction character. And she kicks butt. Watch for Jodie's left hook!

What emotions can you expect to experience by playing Jodie? Nothing for the faint of heart: foster abuse, isolation, near rape, homelessness, betrayal, being hunted by choppers, dogs, and armed men cross country. David took the "be mean to your characters" mantra to a new level!

And if you mess with Jodie, look out! When things get too tough, Jodie will call for Aiden, who has no problem pushing objects, possessing people, and strangling them if needed. Hey, Carrie! There's a new girl in town! 

There's literally a little of something for everyone in this game: drama, action, freaky stuff ... you name it! But there are a few things I don't get, like the shower scene - both of them. I still haven't figured out how that advances the plot. ANYWAY!

What I took from the game is the myriad of choices you make, and every single one contributes to how it all ends. ::spoiler:: You even get to choose to live or die at the end. That's heavy. You can even choose not to kiss Metal Gear Solid guy --> But the real jaw dropper is the revelation of what Aiden is, and I was impressed by the pure invention of a paranormal entity that I've never heard of before. There's no way I'm telling what that is. You must experience it for yourself!

As for content, there's adult situations and a heavy bit of language, and your choices do reflect how deep into the netherworld you go, but it's tamer than The Last of Us, which still holds my favorite 2013 Game by a hair, even with its controversy of using Ellen's likeness?

Beyond Two Souls has been called the perfect marriage of gaming and cinema. I couldn't agree more. It won't be long now when we're watching movies and we, the audience, get to make choices for the characters and see what happens. The game looks great, plays great, and the score (my personal favorite of the year) is top-notch. Good show, Mr. Cage! Whatever you're working on next, I'll be waiting.

__Cosmic Crullers__

What paranormal games have you played? Ever had a paranormal experience? Did The Last of Us really rip off Ellen Page's likeness?

I'm David, and this trailer contains brief strong language ...


  1. It's been years since I dipped my toes in the gaming pool, so to speak. Amazing how advanced they are.

  2. Trippy trailer, David. "most interactive movie experience I've played." That is so cool.

  3. Not really into gaming, but this looks very intense and quite interesting...

    Happy weekend, Sir David!

  4. I don't game so I had no idea it was so advanced. It does make me wonder... will the day come when movies become interactive? There will be regular movies, 3D movies, and interactive movies. And will they eventually make the other kind obsolete?

  5. Not a gamer, but that does look pretty awesome!

  6. When you first talked about Beyond Two Souls, I was immediately intrigued. And I'm not a gamer at all. But that storyline begs to made into a movie.