Some people always wonder what’s in the world around us. Are we alone or are there other spirits surrounding us? When we meet Jodie, she is unsure of who she is, but we learn that she is not alone. She has Aiden, a spirit that has been with her for as long as she can remember. They have never been separated and this is one of the many reasons why Jodie’s life is so difficult. She doesn’t have many friends, she can’t experience what other girls can and she’s constantly watched by doctors in a Paranormal Division funded by the government. No matter what situation she is in, Aiden always causes trouble for her. Her question is what if Aiden wasn’t tethered to her? Could she be normal? Can she start over or will the damage she and Aiden have caused be too much to be forgiven?
Aiden is an invisible entity as the game tells us, but he’s all to real to Jodie. Whether we control Jodie or Aiden, we see the world from an interesting perspective. While Jodie can walk around and speak like any other person, Aiden can travel through walls and possess humans to get information. Each character has their own dreams and motives. Jodie desires to be normal, but Aiden thrives to still be tethered to his lifelong friend. Moments like this are shown whenever Jodie is in danger.
When she is hurt, Aiden heals her. He also kills enemies when Jodie’s mission takes a horrible turn. Playing with Jodie, we’re given a confined space to work with. We have items to touch, inspect and throw within the walls of our current area while Aiden is our freedom. While controlling him, we have less of a restraint. We can explore places that Jodie can’t enter and make them accessible to her.
Dialogue is important in Beyond: Two Souls and depending on your perspective, the dialogue can be eye-opening. For the most part, the dialogue comes from Jodie talking to others, but there are moments that have us controlling Aiden as he hovers over the conversation. There are moments where we can let Jodie talk or let Aiden’s instincts take over and “ruin” things for Jodie. No matter what happens, it’s very interesting to see how the Jodie and Aiden dynamic plays out.
As interesting as it is to see Jodie interact with others, the most fascinating parts of the story are when Jodie and Aiden have their “moments.” Even though she can’t see Aiden, Jodie knows that he is there and they talk to each other. Aiden understands her and while they don’t always agree, Aiden is ALWAYS there to help Jodie. He genuinely cares about her and that is evident through all of their trials. Whether that is getting revenge on those who hurt her or even if it help moving an obstacle to complete a job, Aiden will always make sure Jodie is safe. While Jodie and Aiden have something different that drives them, they both know that they’ll always have each other.
Beyond: Two Souls really connects the player with the characters on the screen. During my playthrough of the game, I became so attached to Jodie. Whether she was a little girl, a troubled teenager or a girl living in her 20′s, I was tethered to Jodie just like Aiden was. No matter what Jodie did, I cared about her. If she was angry, I was usually angry. We shared the same emotions and that almost made me like her Aiden. We were tied together throughout our journey and I would do ANYTHING to protect Jodie. When she was hurt or if she felt sad, that broke my heart. It also brought up some moral decisions that I had to face. There were two moments that really made me think about just how far I would push Jodie.
The first part had Jodie go to a birthday party where all of the teens were nice to her. They accepted her, but also pressured her. They asked her if she wanted her first beer and if she wanted to smoke weed. I easily could have said no, but that would have made Jodie a reject. Did I want her to be labeled a freak or did I want her to be like the other teens?
She even had a chance to have her first kiss which I let her have. I wanted her to feel like a normal teenage girl, but when she gets hurt at the party, would I let her walk away or did I want her to teach them all a lesson? Moments like this really made me think about the person that I am. I wasn’t sure what I would do at the party, but I knew that I wanted Jodie to be happy. My decisions were based on how I thought Jodie would benefit. I genuinely cared about this girl as if I had known her all my life.
The second instance that made we wonder what I would let Jodie do came at a moment where she had no money and was begging on the side of the street. She was walking alone, broken and sad. She sees a guy on the street who asks her if she “wants to make a quick 10 dollars.” I knew that this was sketchy, but she NEEDED food. Her survival was at stake so she went with the man. Upon entering the alley, I realized that I was prostituting Jodie, but I couldn’t let her go through with it. The danger was real and in my face, but I just had to protect Jodie. No amount of money/food was worth degrading herself to that level.
There’s a downside to Beyond: Two Souls though. While we can make decisions that determine the type of person Jodie will become, we don’t always see our actions play out for a while. The story is told in non-chronological order so there will be times where we play as a very young Jodie and in the next chapter, Jodie will be a young woman.
While I do like how out-of-order the story is told, (it makes for plenty of shocking moments and when things come together, it’s very satisfying.) I really wish I could see Jodie change as I play the game and not chapters later. It doesn’t have the effect as a game like Heavy Rain did, but Beyond: Two Souls does contain plenty of wonderful moments of character development.
I witnessed Jodie try to see the best in people in a world that couldn’t accept her differences. Aiden was always a burden on Jodie’s life, but that never stopped her from trying to fit in with others. Whether that was her pursuit of friendship or romance, Jodie was always loving. The Jodie that I spent my time with also never hesitated when it came to defending herself or getting revenge on those that crossed her. There was a code of ethics that Jodie had that she would follow no matter what. When she felt threatened or hurt, she wouldn’t think twice about letting Aiden take care of certain people.
Whether it was through the words that she would say to people so their spirits could be lifted or whether Jodie was using her powers to connect people with their loved ones, Jodie’s instinct was always to help people. She had so many desirable qualities that made Jodie an emotional and very likeable character for me. While not everyone will witness my Jodie, I feel like Jodie is just a great character all around.
One aspect of Beyond: Two Souls that always kept me on the edge of my seat was the story. The story is extremely gripping and while sometimes it may be confusing, it’s never boring. The awesome thing about Beyond: Two Souls is the fact that it traverses through many different genres. For example, One chapter had me in a very dramatic situation and that was followed by a chapter that dove into straight up horror. You can then follow that up with a very action packed chapter. There’s so much variety in Beyond: Two Souls that you never know what will happen next.
The gameplay mainly involves interacting with the environment whether you’re using Jodie or Aiden. By interacting with items in the level, you can progress as well as learn more about your character. There’s nothing wrong with this, but sometimes I just wished that I could fully control Jodie and Aiden.
The thing with Beyond: Two Souls is that it IS a video game, but a lot of the times, it feels like an interactive movie. While that’s not a bad things, there were plenty of moments that I could imagine fully controlling. With that being said, there were many sequences that gave me such a rush.
They were intense moments that made me fear for Jodie’s life. Sometimes that could involve Jodie rescuing people or that could be a very life threatening confrontation. Combat consists of moving the right sick in a certain direction. We move the stick towards the enemy to attack and in certain situations, we must move the stick in another direction to evade. It’s difficult at times to decipher which direction we should move in, (I fell victim to failed moves plenty of times) but it never ruined the game for me. It just made me worry that much more for Jodie. The cool thing about the game is that you CAN’T lose. If Jodie falls in battle, or is captured by those chasing her, the story continues based on the outcome of the confrontation. That’s what makes Beyond: Two Souls work so well. It flows no matter what and it will make every player have a unique playthrough.
One of the most memorable things about Beyond: Two Souls is definitely the acting. Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe really bring life into the world of Beyond: Two Souls. Ellen Page is an outstanding actress and witnessing her play Jodie just made me so happy. Whether she pleads with Aiden to be nice or even if she’s talking to other characters, every line Ellen Page delivers is expressed with such emotion.
The character models are so well done that plenty of times I just thought of Ellen Page instead of Jodie. While that could be seen as a negative, I was just so mesmerized by how believable the acting was. The visuals in Beyond: Two Souls are absolutely stunning. Whether it’s the characters, the action or the environments, Beyond: Two Souls is one of the most remarkable achievements in video game visuals.
Beyond: Two Souls is an outstanding game that grabs players with its stunning opening and doesn’t let go until the game’s conclusion. We meet Jodie and witness her life. While her journey is rough at times, watching her grow and develop into a fascinating and flawed character is spectacular. The characters have tons of chemistry and their facial expressions can bring the player to experience many different emotions. While many games have memorable characters, there are games that don’t have us really care for them. Beyond: Two Souls doesn’t fall into the same trap.
It’s easy to become invested with these characters. We’re instantly drawn to Jodie and whether it’s her drive, her love, her passion, her loyalty or whether it’s her quest for acceptance, Jodie’s journey is a touching and ultimately moving one. While the gameplay isn’t the most extraordinary experience out there, Beyond: Two Souls makes up for it with every other aspect. It’s not just a game, it’s an experience. Just as Jodie and Aiden have that connection, I’ll forever be connected with Jodie. I learned a lot from Jodie and our time together will be something that I’ll never forget.
[alert size="alert-block" variation="alert-success"]Score: 8.5/10[/alert]