Feeds
Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Do the dishes, then save the world? It can only be David Cage’s new sci-fi thriller

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Psychic sidekick

Talk of environmental interaction brings me expediently towards problem number two: user input. At times it’s almost as if Cage simply doesn’t trust the player to make the most of his game, so few are the opportunities for the player to deviate from his plan.

Beyond eventually becomes more "movie in which you occasionally direct the two main characters" than an actual game. The fact that Quick Time Events (QTEs) are used to cue opportunities for interaction means you’ll be watching for QTE prompts as much as you watch the action.

Beyond: Two Souls

Inspiration from Terminator 2...

The ghostly Aiden is similarly locked and, rather than having the capacity to go rogue and tear an environment apart, is limited to interacting with certain items and hostiles. That’s not entirely believable behaviour for a supposedly all-powerful entity, even one tethered to its host.

Eventually my eyes ceased to properly take in the game’s often beautifully designed locations and instead simply grew used to surface scanning for the blue dots that signify objects and people that Aiden must mess with to progress.

A shame, especially as Aiden has but three ways to trigger such interactions and which are repeated throughout ad nauseam.

Beyond: Two Souls

...and Blackhawk Down

Attempts to present the action through movie-style viewing angles and a cinematic aspect ratio also compromise believability. Not because such scenes don’t look impressive, but because you’ll end up stumbling around environments blindly – a situation not helped by Jodie’s rather bloated turning circle.

So far, so many criticisms, but that’s only because Beyond is so good that its limitations - perhaps "differences from mainstream gameplay" would be a better description - stand out so glaringly.

Few games communicate emotion with the skill in display here – a quality helped massively by the performance capture of actors Ellen "Juno" Page as Jodie and Willem Defoe as Doctor Nathan Dawkins, the parapsychology boffin who befriends her. Fewer games still even attempt to address issues such as homelessness, rape and loss with anything approaching Beyond’s maturity.

Beyond: Two Souls

Ectoplasmic extravaganza

Hand-nursing Jodie through her early life also connects you with her character, and that of Aiden. Like a worrisome father despairing at his daughter’s boyfriends, I even ended up banking on her choosing the "right" man. I think I need to lie down.

The Reg Verdict

Beyond is destined to be a divisive title and it’s certainly not a game without flaws. But it does cover new ground. In an industry always being stifled by publishers who play it safe, that’s nothing to be sniffed at.

A lack of what you might call traditional gameplay – Beyond is almost on autopilot at times – might be game-breaking. Likewise the limits in where Jodie and Aiden can go and what they can interact with.

Beyond: Two Souls

Rentaghost was never like this...

Many games seek to put you in the centre of the action and give you the control you lack as a passive watcher of a film. But rarely does story exist as anything more than a pretext or as gap-filler between levels.

Beyond tries to combine movie storytelling with sufficient choices to allow the player to control events. It hasn’t perhaps found the sweet spot that must exist somewhere between films and games, but it comes darn close. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Do the dishes, then save the world. It can only be David Cage’s ‘Beyond: Two Souls’.
Price: £50 RRP

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.