Tuesday, December 17, 2013
BEYOND TWO SOULS
Thanks to my Spanish colleagues at Frankfurt, I got on my birthday Beyond two souls. I had previously played both Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain, and I personally like David Cage's approach to videogames. If you haven't tried any of them it'll suffice to say it's all about the story, and gameplay is limited to press buttons on certain moments to trigger the next story bit. This works for me as a variation from other (actually practically all) games but I totally understand if people accuse these games of lacking interaction. It's a fair point.
Anyway, the story on these titles is usually superior to other games, and BTS is no exception. You're told the story of Jodie, a young girl with paranormal skills who has been abandoned by parents, kicked out of foster homes and eventually ends up being raised by a couple of scientists. For the most part her story is a sad one, with lots of rejections and disappointments, but at the same time her special abilities have given her the possibility for changing for the better the lives of others. You develop a close relationship with her, promoted by the fact that you control her across her whole life: There are missions when she's 6, 12, 16 and 20 years old.
At the end, I tended to see her as a daughter, and I was protective in my decisions about her life. Interesting, isn't it? The mix between reality and supernatural is well balanced, and cutscenes and facial animations are probably the best of the last generation.
On the minus side yes, gameplay is poor. You're essentially requested to press certain buttons to make the story progress, and many times is not even clear which ones are those (you need to read the character animations to infer the direction to press on the stick). The game doesn't excel on that at all, but the story compensates these flaws imho.
Also I'm curious about the budget of the game. There were unique game systems in some missions which are not repeated anywhere else, practically a need animation set or character model per mission and multiple cutscenes. I suspect this game has been quite expensive, and considering it's destined to a niche segment I wonder if it's worth the money for Sony.
Anyway, I enjoyed it and recommend it to whoever is interested in videogame stories. It has a 70 in Metacritics but the user's 81 seems to be more accurate to me.