Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls
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Publisher: Sony
Reviewed On: Playstation 3
Cert: 16
Available On: Playstation 3

Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls is somewhat of a mixed bag. While not strictly a game in the sense that we’ve become used to, it tries to give a different take on the medium that works at times and falters at others.

First unveiled at E3 in 2012, the game stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe as Jodie Holmes and Nathan Dawkins.

Jodie has a gift of sorts, a link to an entity named Aiden that is both a help and a hindrance at different times. Dawkins is her guardian, but he plays a minor role in comparison to Aiden. As the spirit entity, you can do everything from scout ahead to make sure the coast is clear to heal Jodie when she gets injured; in contrast, Dawkins sends her into the lions den on a number of occasions – an entity infested lab, a teenage party Jodie is ill-prepared for.

The game bounces around Jodie’s life, showing you key moments out of chronological order. One level has you playing Jodie as a small child in Dawkins’ office, discussing Aiden with a degree of reluctance; another will put you in Jodie’s shoes after she escapes from the CIA and is living on the street. Slowly, the pieces begin to fit together, giving you a better idea of Jodie’s life as she struggles with teenage angst, adult decision and consequences. At times, you carry out mundane tasks, but you get just as caught up exploring Jodie’s childhood home as you do escaping through the woods.


The graphics in Beyond are worthy of praise, from the character likeness to environments, although at times the PS3 can show its limitations. But despite the beautifully detailed environments, exploration is mostly discouraged. In fact, at times you can feel as if you’re only a bit player in Beyond, and while you have the illusion of choice, the actual impact of those choices is limited.

There are apparently 23 endings, though, so it’s not just all for show; your actions have consequences beyond the traditional “game over”. There’s something compelling about it that pushes you through the less engaging levels.

More of an interactive movie than a game, Beyond will divide players just as much as it has its critics.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist