Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: Beyond: Two Souls
Game: Beyond: Two Souls
Publisher/Developer: Sony/Quantic Dream
Genre: Interactive Adventure
Describe This Game in Three Words: Beautifully, Deeply Unsettling
Plot: Jodie Holmes was born linked to a mysterious and invisible entity named Aiden who can telekinetically manipulate the environment and possess people. He's just barely under the control of Jodie, though, but that doesn't stop the CIA from recruiting her in espionage and to tackle invasions of Aiden's kind from another dimension. The game covers 15 years of her life in an epic drama of loss and madness.
Up, Up: Beyond: Two Souls aims to be closer to a cinematic event than a video game, and it achieves that in spades. It's the first game I've ever seen with the voice cast listed prominently on the front, with Ellen Page as Jodie and Willem Dafoe as her handler/father figure Nathan. There are very, very few games that can honestly be said to capture the same oomph of a truly unique film, but this one certainly does.
It's a wickedly addictive experience, and like most great artistic games it works best by turning the play into a parade of emotions. In something like Portal it's perseverance and strength. In The Last of Us it was dread of a world that can take anything you love at a moment's notice. Here, the thing you'll feel constantly is doubt, and the weight of choice.
Your actions are highly open-ended in a way that Mass Effect can only dream of. You control an insane amount of nuance in the story. As a teenager (The game jumps around Jodie's personal timeline erratically) I gave in to a desire to take revenge when a party turned brutal as other guests locked Jodie in a closet for being a witch. I had no problem unleashing Aiden to terrify them by hurling chairs around, but stopped when I realized I might actually set the house on fire. I didn't want to be a monster, did I?
Then later, Jodie finds herself in a bar on the edge of being gang-raped. I don't know if I could have left that scene without having Aiden possess an attacker and making him gun down his friends and then himself, but I did it anyway. Did it gladly. That's the innovative nature of the game. It constantly opens you to the weight of your actions.
Review continues on next page.