Simon Says: Why Beyond: Two Souls Has Been Overshadowed By Another PS3 Exclusive

Ellen Page. Willem Dafoe.

These two names alone would have you thinking that the stars of Inception and Spider Man would be co-starring in a new blockbuster movie. Instead, both are appearing in a game entitled “Beyond: Two Souls” developed by Quantum Dream and published by Sony, exclusively for the PS3.

In recent history, Sony has had some powerful exclusive titles on the Playstation 3 including Uncharted, God of War and Heavy Rain, to name but a few. With Sony having such a strong back catalogue however, I believe that the strongest exclusive Sony has had may prove to be a hindrance on the success of Beyond: Two Souls. This “strongest” exclusive game I am referring to is The Last of Us. I have only played around 30 minutes of Beyond but, within that time, I have managed to see some comparisons between both Beyond and TLOU and why I think Naughty Dog’s latest hit could hurt Beyond: Two Souls.

A quick overview of what the game’s story involves; Jodie (Ellen Page) has paranormal powers due to her mysterious entity, called Aiden, and you explore what effect this has had on her life from childhood to adulthood. Jodie is the only person who is able to communicate with Aiden and he has been with Jodie ever since she was born. Nathan Dawkins (Willem Dafoe) is a government scientist who works with Jodie studying her power but also acts like a surrogate father.

Even before I had played any of the game, the first thing I thought of when I looked at trailers for Beyond was, “Why is Ellie from The Last of Us in this game?” The build-up I remember to this game was the fallout between Ellen Page and The Last of Us after she claimed that Naughty Dog had, “Used her likeness,” when creating Ellie. While this isn’t direct comparisons between the two games here, I believe that this may have an impact on some sales for Beyond as die-hard fans of TLOU may think that Ellen Page is overreacting when she made those claims and TLOU fans may have become disinterested in the Beyond.

Beyond-Two-Souls3

Moving onto the gameplay for Beyond, I played the short demo that was available from Wednesday 2nd of October via the PSN Store. As I had played it last night, I had seen some people comparing the game to Heavy Rain which I have never played. Although the sections I had played were only on the demo, I could still grasp an understanding of the controls and the way which the game worked. The game doesn’t use much of the controller for the majority of the experience, which may suit some due to its simple control system.

The game looks excellent; graphically wise it is one of the best looking games this generation. That being said, the game suffers from this as Beyond focuses too much on the quick time events (QTE’s) and takes away the freedom of playing a game how you want to play it. At times through the demo, I was reminded of a certain Resident Evil 6 which terribly returned to our consoles a year ago, yesterday. The buttons are constantly coming up on the screen telling you what to press and it feels as though the game is holding your hand through the game, as far as I played anyway. In the times where you do have full control of Jodie, you are allowed to explore certain things and it feels as
though you can play the game as you wish. This feeling doesn’t last as you are constantly watching and interacting with QTE’s.

In the brief demo I have played, it is clear that the game has been designed to make you care for and have an emotional bond with Jodie. As you have to play as Jodie when she is a child, through her teenage years and into adulthood, it is clear that emotion is a huge part of the game. With what I have played so far, it is clear to see that Beyond may be trying too hard to try and make you care about Jodie. The Last of Us looked at a relationship between someone who had seen it all (Joel) and someone who grew up and all they had known was this apocalyptic world (Ellie).

The Last of Us allows you to feel so many different emotions in the game and which is why it is one of my favourite games of all-time, never mind this generation. At times you feel angry, sad, happy, anxious and concerned for things going on around you. With Beyond, I feel as though they have tried to depict Jodie as an innocent character all the way through the demo and tries to make you feel sorry for her from the word go. It doesn’t show you too much of this in the demo as it mostly looks at the gameplay but, in a trailer contained in the gameplay, it shows you briefly what Jodie has to overcome.

the last of us main

With the game having two blockbuster names as the leading cast, Beyond had huge potential to be a great send-off for the PS3 before November. The story seemed interesting, the graphics and voice acting is wonderful. But, similar to TLOU, the demo may harm sales of the game as it isn’t what everyone thought it was going to be. TLOU did go onto sell vast numbers after originally receiving some mediocre reactions to the demo early on. I feel as though I am experiencing the same with Beyond but in terms of an overall package, however, I still feel as though TLOU will offer you more.

In regards to both the storytelling and gameplay of these games, they revolve around a hugely in-depth story that looks at different themes and ethical decisions the character makes. Beyond looks as though it has a brilliant story but, along with a great storyline the game must have at least decent gameplay to complete the experience.

TLOU had both the amazing storyline and great gameplay to make the game the complete package and that is why I think TLOU has stolen some of Beyond’s thunder. TLOU is the complete game and allows the player to play the game as they wish. Beyond seems as though it was made for the big screen and scaled down for the PS3. The QTE sections require some work sometimes but, everything feels so scripted. After playing through the demo once, I wasn’t eager for more or looking to see what I could do next, I was glad that I could play Grand Theft Auto V once again and play a game how I want to play it instead of constant QTE segments.

I can’t help feel slightly let down with what I have played so far but, this seems to be the way with demos these days. They can often do more harm than good and I think that some people may be put off by Beyond: Two Souls. If you are looking for a game to sell you a PS3 this late in the console cycle, I believe that a reduced copy of The Last of Us may be what you’re looking for as it has an all-round Oscar winning performance whereas Beyond: Two Souls, from what I’ve played, could go straight to DVD.

@SimonMarshall6

the author

23, Scotland, Great Britain, Enjoys Football (Soccer), Basketball and Running, Manchester United are the team for me!

  • Jo

    I feel this is a game aimed at catholics.

  • Leopold Stotch

    Kill the phonies.

  • Greg Smith

    Considering TLOU is out already and everybody and their kids have played it already, your article makes no sense.

  • jspillen

    What I’ve seen the game looks great.

  • val

    This really annoys me. The Last of Us is more similar to a film than it is to Beyond. Beyond is an interactive narrative, it’s a totally different kind of experience. TLOU gameplay was mediocre, in fact it’s the worst gameplay they’ve ever made. It is Uncharted except without the platforming or adventure which is what made that series fun, and instead with mediocre zombie gimmicks that have been done much better in games like Left 4 Dead, a game that actually focused on good gameplay. Beyond does not need to tack on combat sections to be a great experience. The narrative is the gameplay.

    • Jeremiah Enrile

      Hahaha, well thats your opinion. but i played left 4 dead and its not one of the best in gameplays sorry. its too short i didnt notice i finished the campaign already and told myself, Is that it?? well haters will always be haters even an acclaimed game like last of us been given perfect scores especially from edge who rarely gives a 10.

  • RealityCheck2013

    The Demo of Beyond was F-IN AMAZING!!! :P :P :P + I don’t give a sh*t if online reviewers(who seem to like the same old boring yearly games) like it or not really. DAY 1 for me ;) + Like ‘Rain’ the PSN game that came out this week the online reviewers mainly gave it low scores but it’s an EXCELLENT game i think :P Maybe they only understand how to shoot things i guess in games i guess LoL:D

    • jonam

      I also wonder whether the author tried multiple methods of gameplay in the demo itself, before opting to review against it. Obviously Heavy Rain had the critical acclaim for its own style and those QTE segments. The demo was like amazeballs to me! I really am all praise for Quantic Dream already!!

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    I wanna play this game, but will wait and see after I check out the demo. The Last of Us was one of the exceptional exclusives Sony has, and hope David Cage’s creation doesn’t get overshadowed by it for the wrong reasons.

  • jonam

    From the word go, why is the comparison with TLOU being made here? A demo version with a full product game that released earlier. Does the review based off of it do any justice?

  • Guest

    Your mileage may vary,
    but for me, the game is transcendent.

    It transcends both
    video games and movies to become something greater than either medium would
    ever be by themselves. I’m an avid gamer (I have 400+ Steam games, 400+ iOS
    games, and 100+ console games). Yet–to speak for myself–*I* found this game
    far more moving, thought-provoking, meaningful, and entertaining than many other games (including
    Super Mario Galaxy 1-2, Grand Theft Auto 4-5, The Last of Us, and others).

    I can only compare it to Heavy Rain, The Walking
    Dead, or the Metal Gear Solid series: deep rich stories that have themes and
    messages that convey something of lasting meaning; something beyond the
    mindless (but fun) shooting and platforming of other titles.

    I will remember this game for years to come. There
    are few works of fiction of any medium for which I can say the same.

    If you like a rich deep story line and don’t care
    about a lack of “agency” (it’s always illusory in video games,
    anyway–there are always incredibly restrictive rules on game play), then this
    is *the* game of the seventh generation. The comparably minor errors in
    execution and direction can be ignored, when viewed in light of the whole.

    Indeed, the question of whether this qualifies as a
    game is, like Dear Ester, a largely irrelevant and pedantic: It entertains. It
    provokes thought. It is emotionally moving. And it illustrates that games–like
    cinema or literature–can be taken seriously as a medium to both entertain and
    enlighten.

    It seems to me that most reviewers of this game
    have profoundly and tragically missed the point.

  • Joseph Blower

    Your mileage may vary, but for me, this game is transcendent.

    It transcends both video games and movies to become something greater than either medium would ever be by themselves. I’m an avid gamer (I have 400+ Steam games, 400+ iOS games, and 100+ console games). Yet–to speak for myself–*I* found this game far more moving, thought-provoking, meaningful, and entertaining than many other games (including Super Mario Galaxy 1-2, Grand Theft Auto 4-5, The Last of Us, and others).

    I can only compare it to Heavy Rain, The Walking Dead, or the Metal Gear Solid series: deep rich stories that have themes and messages that convey something of lasting meaning; something beyond the mindless (but fun) shooting and platforming of other titles.

    I will remember this game for years to come. There are few works of fiction of any medium for which I can say the same.

    If you like a rich deep story line and don’t care about a lack of “agency” (it’s always illusory in video games, anyway–there are always incredibly restrictive rules on game play), then this is *the* game of the seventh generation. The comparably minor errors in execution and direction can be ignored, when viewed in light of the whole.

    Indeed, the question of whether this qualifies as a game is, like Dear Ester, a largely irrelevant and pedantic: It entertains. It provokes thought. It is emotionally moving. And it illustrates that games–like cinema or literature–can be taken seriously as a medium to both entertain and enlighten.

    It seems to me that most reviewers of this game have profoundly and tragically missed the point.