Beyond: Two Souls

Year: 2013

Developer: Quantic Dream

Genre: Paranormal, drama, action, adventure

BTS is the last work released in 2013 by QUANTIC DREAM team led by David Cage, specialized in interactive dramas like Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy (2005) and Heavy Rain (2010), and more recently Detroit: Become Human (2018). All Sony PlayStation exclusive games. But in 2019 Quantic Dream divorced from Sony, so its games were ported also on PC.

I don’t know why, but BTS didn’t have the same success as Heavy Rain; BTS is not a masterpiece, but an overlooked game for sure.

BTS tells the story of a special girl named Jodie, following her life since birth to adulthood. She has the gift, or the curse, depending by the point of view, to be bond to an incorporeal and invisible entity named Aiden. Since her birth, she is showing supernatural powers through her psychic link to Aiden, growing from adolescence to adulthood while learning to control Aiden and the powers they share. Since her childhood, she is helped by doctor Nathan Dawkins, a researcher in the Department of Paranormal Activity and Jodie’s surrogate-father-figure. One day CIA goes knocking on Dr. Dawkins’s door to put the fantastic powers of Jodie at its own service… Ok, I’m not going to say anything else to avoid spoilers!

Well i have to admit that I was mesmerized by this title, I preferred playing this one rather than Heavy Rain.
Heavy Rain was released in 2010, three years before BTS, so it has no sense to make comparisons. Perhaps Heavy Rain was more innovative and better than BTS from a technical, aesthetical and cinematographical point of view, and also because of its deeper contents. But HR has an irrational, silly and illogical plot that didn’t satisfy me so much; it comes with too much alternative scenes and endings causing incoherence and with silly challenges disrupting the noir atmosphere.
On the contrary, BTS is more coherent thanks to its better storytelling and richer game mechanics, well integrated each other.
Yes, perhaps the story is not so original, something just seen at the movies; it reminds me a mix of Jean Luc Besson and Brian De Palma movies, Nikita (1990, Besson), Carrie (1976, De Palma), Fury (1978, De Palma), and also of a forgotten movie, Firestarter (1984), a b-movie from a novel by Stephen King.

Yes, someone might complain about the typical paranormal theme from B-movies, but i’m not selling BTS as a piece of art, just appreciating it for its well integrated and intriguing storytelling and varied gameplay .
BTS is able to give you a smart and high quality entertainment you shouldn’t miss!

I confess you that at first i was amazed as a child (that was not happening since long time for a game) by its peculiar gameplay: you can switch from Jodie to Aiden with a click! When you are Jodie, you have a third person view; when you are Aiden, you have a first person view, looking at the world through a sort of mystical haze; you can fly through walls and people and you can move and throw objects, giving birth to typical paranormal phenomena; and, yes, you can take possession of other human being! Amazing! I loved such interactivity! I was caught completely in the role of the misterious entity! 🙂 You can also play in coop mode, with a friend controlling Aiden! Such supernatural mechanics inspired the good but underrated title Murdered: Soul Suspect (2014, Airtight-Square Enix).

BTS is a mix of interactive drama and 3D action adventure, not the usual interactive movie. When you are Jodie, you are not facing just the usual QTE and multiple choice dialogues; sometimes you are also facing more traditional action challenges, even fighting and shooting in a 3D environment! Did I say that I love varied game mechanics? Yes, it’s not good to put everywhere weapons and fightings, but it’s good to have different game mechanics in the same game.

You’re not controlling a whatsoever avatar, you are controlling the motion captured actress Ellen Page, the beautiful Kitty Pride in X-Men movies and Ariadne, the graduate student of architecture in Inception by C. Nolan! And you are not interacting with whatsoever characters, your surrogate father figure is the motion captured actor Willem Dafoe! Oh, I love such a “nerd” mix of movies and games! 🙂

I particularly loved the not linear way of storytelling; it doesn’t follow the time line of Jodie’s life but goes on jumping and alternating episodes from childhood to adulthood. That’s the real reason why i reviewed it! 🙂

Oh, it’s a David Cage’s screenplay, so you have to expect for some failings… (Don’t hate me David!) 🙂 There is a silly and ugly episode about an american natives ghost legend, well suited for a Z movie! There are also a few inconsistencies and forcings in other chapters: e.g. would you send your daughter in to the mouth of the wolf? Ending is not so brilliant and in rare moments narrative situations are a bit superficial, with no dramatic depth… David, David….. you should allow for someone helping you to write…. 🙂 But all in all, the narrative and gaming experience is really positive! As in the best interactive drama, you can influence secondary events and activate alternative scenes and endings. This time, in contrast to Heavy Rain, there are no discrepancies between alternative sequences; and no absurd challenges. I liked the chapter set at Jodie’s home; it’s good in a narrative game to deepen the more personal and human aspects of characters. There is also a scene where you are the jealous Aiden and are disturbing the love meeting… so fun! 😉

It has been recently remastered for PS4 and now for PC

Rating: 87/100  (Info about Rating)

You can find more info about interactive drama here

2 thoughts on “Beyond: Two Souls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.