NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

I’ll admit right away I’m a big fan of Quantic Dream and David Cage. Don’t worry though, it won’t change this review in a biased way, quite the opposite actually.

See, many years ago I was walking aimlessly in my local video store looking for a game to rent over the weekend for my PS2. I ended up renting this game called Indigo Prophecy, I knew nothing about it at the time. By the end of the weekend, it was an all-time favorite for me, “instant classic” if you will.

Many years later I hear of this game called Heavy Rain being produced by the same people who made Indigo Prophecy, it immediately peaked my interest. I checked the reviews, teasers etc… I was all in. Heavy Rain was released and it was a day one buy for me. Quantic Dream blew me away. Everything about Heavy Rain was top notch. Was it perfect? No, but it was a game like no other I had played before. First person shooters are a dime a dozen, action adventure games are fun, but rarely does one now a days make you say “Wow, I’ve never seen that before”. Heavy Rain exceeded all expectations and gave us something we never seen before. It was an emotional ride that played out like a movie. Something we could feel, relate to, connect with. It raised the bar in the gaming industry for story telling.

Fast forward to 2012. I start hearing about this new project Quantic Dream is working on, you can guess how I feel about it. So, all that said, it leads us to where we are now, me reviewing the latest game from David Cage and his crew, Beyond: Two Souls. I need not tell you the excitement, eagerness, etc… that came with each new teaser and trailer I seen for Beyond, I couldn’t wait for this game. Does everything I just mentioned about Quantic Dream grant this game an excellent review? Does me loving David Cage’s previous work automatically give this game a high score? Far from it, actually. The bar is set high for this one, I expect Beyond to send me to places I’ve never been to before, to give me a gaming experience I’ve not yet felt. Can Quantic Dream pull this off? Can they continue to evolve gaming as we know it, “transcend” our gaming experience? You’re about to find out.

Not Safe For Work ~ Nudity

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls
Systems: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed]
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: October 8th, 2013
MSRP: $59.99

This review isn’t easy. Beyond: Two Souls was a very unique game. This year I’ve played through Tomb Raider, Injustice: Gods Among Us, God of War: Ascension, Hitman: Absolution, Remember Me, The Last of Us, and a few others, but Beyond wasn’t like any of them. Beyond does not disappoint when it comes to storytelling and invoking emotion from you. By stories end, you love Jodie, you feel for Cole, Nathan, and others. This game is a emotional roller coaster full of ups and downs. Thanks to the out-of-sequence pattern this game takes, you really have no idea what you’re going to do next. See, David Cage took a page out of Quentin Tarantino’s book on this one. The game consist of “Chapters”. Each chapter is a moment from Jodie’s life. These moments are not, however, given to you in sequential order. The game actually starts off towards the end, then from there, you jump from preteen, adult, teen, etc… in total random order. As the chapter is loading, it shows you a timeline of your life, only showing the chapters you’ve already beaten. Just think of playing a game based on Pulp Fiction and you’ll have a better understanding of what I mean as far as layout goes.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Something I must address first is the fact Mr. Cage spoke a lot about getting away from the quick time events most notably found in games like Heavy Rain, the God of War series, and a few others, but I didn’t really see that. Yes, this game depended on you (the player) much more, it didn’t give you hints such as “press this button” now AS MUCH, but it still followed that style of playing much of the game. I don’t knock them for doing it, I enjoy using the the controller to its full functionality such as moving right, or left, or shaking it, etc.. at certain points, but I don’t understand how Quantic Dream thought they were really getting away from this and advertised as so, cause they didn’t. Many times throughout the game you’re told exactly what you need to do, and you have a very short time to do it before you fail and the game gives you a negative outcome. At one point I’m sitting there, playing along and I get prompted to swing the controller straight down, I did so, so quickly and without thinking, I busted the controller against my knee cap. It hurt. But that’s a good thing, it makes me feel invested in the game. I don’t mind doing things other than just sitting there tapping the same button over and over, but who are you kidding here Quantic Dream? This is still a quick time event game, even if you did depend on us, the player, to make the decision a bit more.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Ellen Page and William Dafoe are phenomenal in this game. Not only are their voices used, but they’re exact facial features and expressions are carried into this game flawlessly. Motion capture was a big part of the production of Beyond, and only this generation (and beyond) could give us the intense facial details needed to convey the emotion Beyond tried to give us. The game isn’t about shooting, running, teaming up online with friends, or seeing how high of a score you can get, it’s about attaching you to Jodie and allowing you to feel what she feels. To be honest, it’s a rather dark story at times. Jodie is linked to a spirit entity named Aiden (pronounced I-Den). You do not know who Aiden is, or why he’s there until you’ve completed the game. I can, very thankfully, say that this is a complete story. By the time you finish Beyond, you know everything you need to know about Jodie, from her birth, parents, Aiden, life, ending, etc… We don’t get shafted like most of us felt with The Last of Us, this is complete from beginning to end. Along the way though, Jodie isn’t always happy with things, you’ll have to face some serious real-life issues such as suicide, feeling alone, poverty, etc… Quantic Dream by no means gave us rainbows and butterflies in the game, it can hit hard depending what you’ve faced in your own life.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Having said what I just said, this story isn’t amazing, especially in the beginning. Honestly, it took hours and hours until I even started to LIKE this game. I’d say the first 4 hours or so, I felt bored and unattached. I felt it was going nowhere, and very uninteresting. Looking back, it may have been due to the fact that I had spent 4 hours on this game and still had no freakin clue about who Jodie was or what the flip was going on. Thanks to the story jumping around, I was clueless about the true plot. Luckily, after many hours of playing the game, things started to make sense, I started to feel for Jodie. My eyes were opened and things stated clicking, the emotion was there, and it was pretty awesome. I’m not going to get all sentimental on you here, tell you this game changed my life or anything, but I do have to let you know this game can invoke real emotion. There were a few scenes in this game that made me think, made me feel something deep down, and one of them was when Jodie was homeless. I’ve never been homeless, I’ve been really bad off financially, but I’ve always had a place to call home so I can’t fully understand what that would be like, but Jodie’s homeless scene connected me with her. Here you are, starving in the dead of winter, you’re tied to a spirit that makes you a freak, you’ve been made fun of you’re whole life and looked at as though you’re a witch. No one loves you, you’ve been abandoned by pretty much everyone you’ve ever known and you’re considering suicide as one of the only ways you can get out of this self-misery. You’re walking along the road, freezing cold just looking for a way to get a few dollars. You could take your own life at any moment to end it all when you spot a man with a guitar. If you’re interested in this scene, here’s a quick video of how it plays out. Ellen Page can sing. At least this song she can sing. I’d seriously buy this single, there’s just something about it. The hurt, the pain she’s having, the confusion, the questions about her life, this minute long song sums up her whole life, and hits you pretty hard.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

The choices and outcomes in this game seem plentiful, but often forced. What I mean by this is even though it’s 2013, and we’ve made leaps in bounds as far as game play and storytelling, you still feel like you’re doing what the game tells you to do. Many situations concern life or death for the person you’re interacting with, and you know if you screw up and they die, you move on, no “do-over” button so to speak, but even with that it still plays out in a very familiar way. I wanted Quantic Dream to give me something I had never seen before, sadly, they didn’t succeed. While Beyond is very emotional, investing, unique, and familiar all at the same time, it didn’t have that “wow” factor I expected from Quantic Dream this time around. I can honestly say that, if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t normally play video games, or at least these type of games, I would recommend Heavy Rain to them before I would recommend this game. As I stated above, the graphics and details are there, the storytelling is there, even the gameplay is there, but it’s missing something to put this one over the edge.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

One last thing I’d like to hit in detail a bit more is this choices I briefly spoke of. During the bulk of game play, it’s quick time events and controller movements that get you through the game. Each decision you make slightly changes the outcome of the game. This is a game, like others, that has multiple different endings you can see. Depending on how you played the game, more options are handed to you at the end. I don’t want to give anything away here, so I’ll keep it general. From the very beginning, you’ll start meeting people and interacting with them. How you interact with them could change if they’re “available” to you at the end of the game. Maybe they hate you, maybe they’re dead, maybe they love you, it’s all on how you play the game. At the end, you literally choose how you want Jodie to end. This part of the game is not forced at all. For those of you who hate how things end at times, or get upset because you don’t have a choice, well this one is for you. You, and you alone have the power to decide Jodie’s fate and who she ends up with, if anyone at all.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

Should you buy this game? It depends. I hate to keep going back to Heavy Rain, but the fact remains they’re very similar in nature. If you enjoyed Heavy Rain, Telltale’s Walking Dead game, and similar games, then you should check out Beyond. If you’re looking for something fast paced full of action and adventure, then this game isn’t for you. This genre of storytelling is still a rare breed in gaming, shun by the majority of gamers simply because it’s not “fast enough”, but don’t let that deter you from picking this game up. Like I said, the first 4 hours or so are pretty brutal, even boring at parts, but if you have patience and you’re looking for something with depth you can submerge yourself in over a weekend, check out Beyond: Two Souls.

Game 4/5

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

OK, here’s the part some of you have been waiting for, does Jodie show some boobage? No. This is where having a big name actress like Ellen Page punched us in the mouth, no nudity. Sure it’s not really her in the game, but I’m sure it had a huge part in the decision to exclude any real nudity. Were there chances for it? Yes, without a doubt, but Quantic Dream capitalized on none of them. I counted about 8 times in the game where nudity could have came into play, or at least some sort of hotness. I’ll even be so kind as to list them for you:

Embassy – Hot red dress
Dance Party – Make out scene with fellow teen
Homeless – offered $10 to give a man a BJ. Even if you accept, it’s a no-go
Bar – Men are talking dirty to you, almost get yourself into a forced gang bang situation
Navajo – Bar and panties scenes in bedroom/shower scene behind the barn
Apartment – Shower
Apartment – Straight up sex with a dude (shows nothing)

Even though none of the above scenes show nudity, there is some “sensual” gameplay to be found. Many times you have a choice in how the scene plays out, QD just makes sure it stays “PG” rated. This is probably a good thing though, since Beyond requires both of your hands for most of the game.

Hotness 2.5/5

– DFN

BONUS

As I mentioned above, we don’t get to see any nudes of Jodie (Ellen Page), but apparently she was fully modeled. This makes sense, games usually use full models for characters for anatomical reasons, but apparently Quantic Dream may have even added nipples and such to Jodie. I guess it’s possible this is “fake”, some dude online made it up, but it’s still pretty sweet none the less. I’m still waiting for developers to start charging an extra $10 or so for “adult” versions like this. You’d buy it, you know you would.

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls

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8 Responses to “NSFW Gamer Review: Beyond: Two Souls”

  1. Noah says:

    HA, you said, “William Dafoe”. It’s actually Willem Dafoe. I use to say William often too, until the local record store owner told me it was Willem. Yeah, really common mistake. Like, who the hell is ever called Willem, you know?

    Anyway, yeah I’m a Quatic Dream fan too. I remember reading about Indigo Prophecy when it still had the European title of Fahrenheit (North American release was renamed for some reason). Game blew my mind with how rich the story was. Sure it starts to really go out into left field with the whole supernatural end of the world thing that the game ends up introducing, but the characters were always great. Heavy Rain was fantastic too. I really wanted to preorder this one so I could get the extra stuff with it, but I was recently let go by my job. Sucks because the holiday releases are coming out and I can’t buy much at all. I’m getting the new Batman, but I also really wanted Beyond and Watchdogs. Hopefully things change for me soon, but trying to find a job in this town and economy…

  2. al41103 says:

    agreed, i would pay 10 extra bucks if that means more nude and sex essenes, sex sells and the more hardcore the better xD

  3. Lordredek says:

    What! David Cage is a failure of the game designer! Seriously though Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain are just bad. It’s terrible writing. And David Cage is sexist and racist! I can’t believe you like him… All well that’s your opinion and I can respect that. But this is seriously disappointing. But common characters literally just walk out of the story in Indigo Prophecy. And your doing fucking dumb Matrix shit and fight a fucking helicopter. It makes no fucking sense! It’s just lazy half the shit they do at Quantic Dream.

  4. Roberto says:

    Naturally the comparison to Inidgo Prophecy and Heavy rain are pertinent, since the basic structure and style of every Quantic Dream game is the same. That being said, I think Beyond 2 Souls is by far the worst game they´ve done up to date. The interface is lackluster, to say the least, it has simply horrendous camera angles in several scenes. The amount of relevant interactive content is minimum (most of it is pure aesthetical). And even the voiceover of Ellen Page and Dafoe is simply not good, specially when you compare with the incredible job the actors in GTA V, for instance, have done. It is not a terrible game since the graphics are top notch and I love interactive novels as well, but apart from that it would get from me no more than a 7 out of 10. 3.5 if we use your rating system 🙂

  5. Noah says:

    Lordredek, please point out how David Cage is sexist and racist. If you don’t like the games that’s fine, but what’s with the accusations?

  6. DFN says:

    @Noah – First off man, sorry to hear about your job struggles. I’ve been there, and it sucks. Even with a Degree ad all in IT, nothing is ever safe and not having a stable source of income can really dampen your life. I hope things work out for you soon.

    As for “Willem”, I actually knew that then went ahead and wrote it wrong in the review anyway lol. That’s how freakin tough it is to remember something like that.

    @al4 – Me too bro. Have you played “The Saboteur”? It’s a really fun open world game based in the late 40s (I think it’s the 40s, been awhile) concerning Nazis. They have DLC that gives you a topless strip show. It’s an EA game, too.

    @lordredek – I think it’s a bit much to say he’s a failure since his games have sold so well and have captivated many. You may not like him as a person, but that doesn’t take away from his talent of making some innovative games. I do, however, agree with you about Indigo’s ending. That Ancient Indian garbage at the end ruined it. The game was fantastic, then had a horrible ending. Still a classic for me though, I loved it until the end.

    @Roberto – I see what you’re saying, I just don’t think the voice acting was that bad. I haven’t played GTAV yet (on purpose, I knew it would take over my life lol), but you could be right in comparison. 7 out of 10 is fair, which is what I would have probably given it if this was a “10” scale.

  7. Jack says:

    Wow you gave a much more positive review than Ars Technica:
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2013/10/beyond-two-souls-review-beyond-awful/

  8. Noah says:

    Hey, thanks for the words DFN. I have The Sabotuer myself, but I can’t finish it. I just can’t get into the gameplay even though the story was great, or at least what I seen of it. I tried playing it some time ago, but there’s just something about it that turned me off. You’re suppose to use stealth, but it’s like good luck with that. I would suggest to anyone though to at least try it. I’m going to have to find a let’s play of it because I wanna know what happens.