The remastering trend continues with Quantic Dreams’ 2013 PlayStation 3 exclusive adventure game, Beyond: Two Souls, getting a new-gen makeover for the PlayStation 4.
David Cage’s supernatural follow-up to his 2010 PlayStation 3 game/interactive movie Heavy Rain really cemented my opinion of the French developer as being a frustrated film-maker. Heavy on the plot, but light on the gameplay, is the hallmark of a Quantic Dreams game.
Perhaps taking on board criticism received from Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls features some gameplay elements that go beyond the series of quick-time events of its predecessor. In many ways Two Souls has more in common with Cage’s 2005 game Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in the US) than Heavy Rain.
Beyond: Two Souls follows the life of Jodie Holmes, played by acclaimed actress Ellen Page who also provides her face, voice and motion capture performance to the game. All her life Jodie has had a special connection with an invisible entity that she calls Aiden. Whilst she has some control over Aiden, the entity is prone to child-like telekinetic outbursts.
It is after one such outburst, that proves too much for her foster family, that Jodie ends up being taken in by Doctor Nathan Dawkins, played by Hollywood veteran Willem Dafoe.
With each episode of Jodie’s life, players get to interact and control Jodie. Choices and successes affect the narrative, taking players on a fairly unique journey. As well as Jodie, players get to control the entity, Aiden- passing through walls and, when appropriate, causing all sorts of mayhem. With a second gamepad, another player can play as Aiden.
Well looked after, but isolated, Jodie grows up in the care of Dr Dawkins and as a young adult is recruited into the CIA were her peculiar talents are put to work. The story is riveting, but in case I ruin it for you I’ll stop there. Suffice to say the plot involves deadly experiments and personal tragedy that’ll keep you captivated for the entire experience.
Returning to Beyond: Two Souls, once again, I’m doing what the game’s auteur probably never intended me to do, play through the game again. David Cage went on record to say that he never intended the game’s predecessor, Heavy Rain, to be played more than once.
This time, though, new to this remaster, I got the opportunity to play through the game in chronological order, rather than as the series of flash-backs in the original game that sometimes became a bit confusing.
Playing through each chapter sequentially makes the plot easier to follow but takes away some of mystery. It’s still an interesting tale and one that is still enjoyable whichever way you choose to play it.
Beyond: Two Souls was a great-looking game on the PlayStation 3, so visually, this remaster doesn’t add much. Being originally released so close to the launch of the PS4, the game didn’t get the exposure that I felt it was due. This new release gives the game the new least of life that it really deserves.
The game tells a good yarn, which is a good thing as there’s more story than gameplay, something that potential purchasers should bear in mind. Still, if you go in with the right expectations, as an interactive experience Beyond: Two Souls is in a class of its own and well worth the price of entry.