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Forums > Submission Feedback > Germ's Beyond: Two Souls review

This thread is in response to a review for Beyond: Two Souls on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: pickhut
Posted: October 22, 2013 (08:02 PM)
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I figured since this game seem like it would follow a smaller cast of characters in comparison to Heavy Rain's bigger cast, that it would be more focused in the plot department. From the way you describe it, though, it's a surprising mess.

I like how you just went straight into explaining the game and what issues you had with it without adding any fluff, something I get carried away with sometimes in my own reviews. Nice review.


I head spaceshit noises


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Author: jerec
Posted: October 23, 2013 (12:18 AM)
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Such a shame, I was looking forward to this one. Maybe it'll be a bargain bin purchase in a year or two.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: Germ (Mod)
Posted: October 23, 2013 (09:29 AM)
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I was able to rent it and play through in two days for a grand total of $4. If you find a deal like that, it is worth a playthrough.

I should mention that I played with my wife controlling Aiden in two player mode and she really loved the game. She isn't much of a "hardcore" gamer (whatever that means, everyone has a different definition) so I think it was the first time she had seen a game with production values that high. In the past I had tried to get her into Heavy Rain, but she never really got the hang of post-SNES era controllers and couldn't handle the QTEs. Aiden mode seems specifically made for people like her. It reminds me of when my older brother was Sonic and I was always tails in Sonic 2 on the Genesis. I could feel involved without costing him lives when I messed up.

I felt bad writing this review. I really liked Heavy Rain despite its flaws, and I get angry when I see people criticizing it unfairly online. I didn't want to be THAT guy to someone who enjoyed or would enjoy Beyond. Still, I decided to be honest. Even with everything I've said about Beyond, I will still definitely play the next Quantic Dream game.


Finally! A signature!


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: October 23, 2013 (03:22 PM)
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I've learned to let developers disappoint me sometimes without assuming that they always will. Not every game a developer--particularly an auteur like Cage--makes has to be for me, but I admire what he is trying to do even if sometimes I might think he fell on his face. And I liked Heavy Rain too, and purchased Beyond: Two Souls, so hopefully I'll get something out of it when I find time to play it myself. Thanks for the review!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: October 24, 2013 (08:27 AM)
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As soon as I saw the trailers for this, I felt it made the mistake of moving away from the close personal connections that were established in Heavy Rain back to the Hollywood action hoo-haw that was Indigo Prophecy. I lost interest, and I was a HUGE fan of Heavy Rain.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: October 24, 2013 (12:28 PM)
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I just am not a fan of the sort of gaming along these lines where the interaction is more limited and things are meant to essentially be a beautiful movie-like experience (or ANY experience where said experience is based more around the visuals or cinema or atmosphere more than the actual gaming itself).

I've read a lot of reviews of that sort of game and NOTHING I've read, no matter how glowing the praise is, remotely makes me interested in picking one up, even for a day.

I think that's probably why I enjoy spending so much time with retro stuff and probably why I'm far more interested in getting a 3DS than I am with getting either the XBOne or PS4. I'd just rather play simpler, less technologically advanced games that focus on the actual game than on having human models look realistic or creating this haunting ambiance that's great for writing eloquent words about, but essentially results in linear paths and QTE's up the wazoo.

I could probably rant for thousands of words about this, but to me, the biggest problem that's developed as the technology has gotten more consistent is that a pastime that's supposedly about having fun has turned into this huge cry for relevance and being taken seriously on a greater level and a lot of fun gets sapped from things in the process. With some developers, it seems like making a fun experience is secondary to creating an artistic monolith so stunning that it (hopefully) masks the fact that there's not necessarily much substance beyond that.

And that sort of mindset just seems to blend through too much into things like gaming journalism to the point where I'm happy just playing games and writing reviews of how I feel about them and have no real desire to delve into anything else whatsoever. Being on Twitter and seeing people go crazy over such pressing issues as how Penny Arcade is full of horrible people who haven't committed mass suicide over their horrid act of making a "raped by dickwolves" joke a couple years ago and other meaningless crap just seems like the sort of meaningless outrage with no purpose other than trying to say "Look at me! I'm not some stupid, childish gamer! I'm a real adult with real social morals who feels real outrage over stupid immaturity!"

Which at times is the vibe I get from developers like this Cage dude. He has a real story to tell and a real way to tell it...that just doesn't really seem to involve giving players a real gaming experience for when they buy their game to put into their real gaming system.

If people get into that, cool. But it just doesn't interest me one bit.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: Germ (Mod)
Posted: October 24, 2013 (09:33 PM)
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I agree with a lot of that, especially what you said about all of the social justice causes being taken up by journalists recently.

What I will disagree with is your first paragraph in which you lumped "atmosphere" in with "visuals" and "cinema". My favorite game of all time, Symphony of the Night, just oozes atmosphere from every corner. It feels like its own world, much more so than even the Castlevanias that came after. I LOVE atmospheric games.

Also, I do think "cinematic" games can work. I like Uncharted 2 and 3. I thought The Last of Us was a solid 8/10, neither the 10/10 masterpiece journalists hyped or the MOVIE NOT A GAME!!! disaster internet trolls liked to claim it was. Those games, and others like MGS, have a balance of gameplay and cutscene that can really equal a sum greater than their parts. I may skip most cutscenes when I replay Uncharted 2 on high difficulties. But I'm glad they're there, and Drake's scripted quips and banter occasionally still give me a chuckle. That too, goes to atmosphere I suppose.

However, one of the games in my life that left the biggest impression was ICO. That game had incredible atmosphere, and the story, while simple, was well told enough to really stay with me. The connection the player feels for Yorda comes about through hours of protecting her in gameplay. It is a kind of storytelling that only games can do. Incidentally, I believe ICO was an early user of bloom, mimicking what a camera lens does when it's over exposed to light.

And here we get to the problem with games like Heavy Rain and Beyond. In Heavy Rain at least, the interactivity was simple, but at least it was impactful. If I got a bad ending I felt bad about it, like I could have done better. I liked it because it told a (somewhat cliche) story in a way that borrowed from movies (camera angles, actors) but did things movies couldn't do: provide interactivity and a chance to affect the outcome. It isn't really the same thing as when I relax and play an old Genesis or SNES game, but it is still an experience worth having. Basically like a well made visual novel.

What I would like to see is games that embrace the storytelling possibilities of gameplay. I remember reading comic writer Alan Moore complaining about the film of Watchmen, saying there are similarities between comics and movies but certain things are possible in a comic that aren't in film. I just read a preview for The Order: 1886 that describes them trying to imitate camera lenses in the graphics, and I have to ask: Why? I read another article saying 30 FPS is better in games that want to tell a story because it makes them look more like movies. Ridiculous!

One more thing I'd like to say (although it should go without saying): it is also a valid option for games to ignore story completely and just be games. My favorite era in gaming is Genesis/SNES.


Finally! A signature!


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: October 25, 2013 (11:29 AM)
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I guess I really didn't explain myself well at all when I said atmosphere. I love good atmosphere in a game and like you mentioned, games like SotN are great at using it to their benefit. And that is a key factor in things like Skyrim or Fallout 3, where they do an awesome job of putting you in an immersive world. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for the PS was a decent game where its atmosphere, I thought, made it far better (nonstop block pushing puzzles became less annoying because I was captivated by the world).

I was speaking more of the games where it seems like the atmosphere is more of the be-all end-all of the arrangement. Best recent example I can think of is a game that came out either last year or early this year. A couple people here reviewed it -- might have been a Live Arcade or PS Network title, but I can't remember it. I think, if I remember right, Zipp reviewed it and really loved the experience, but to me personally, it just didn't seem like my cup of tea. It was the one where you cross a desert and/or mountain where you play online and can meet up with other players and work together to get past the monsters and find your way along. I could understand from the reviews why a person could love the game because of that atmosphere, but to me it seemed kind of a situation where I'd only like it if I could get completely into the atmosphere.

On another note, I think the video game journalist/tackling social issues thing is sort of a side effect of how comparatively new that sort of writing is. I'm amongst the oldest people here, turning 40 in under two months. I've gamed since I was in elementary school using such great technology as the Atari 2600 and Atari IIc computer. Other people here might have started in the 8-bit or 16-bit eras, but I'd guess most of us started gaming as kids and moved on to adulthood while still gaming.

But when you get into adulthood with your personal/work-related/etc. adult issues, I think for a lot of people, they look at the juvenile nature of gaming in general as sort of a stigma and go out of their way to show they're not a child anymore even if non-gamer society looks at what they do as child's play. And therefore, out comes the outrage when juvenile stuff gets becomes a focus because they want everyone to know that's not their way because they're a mature adult gamer who has no connection with any of that immaturity.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: Germ (Mod)
Posted: October 25, 2013 (12:01 PM)
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I think the game you're describing is Journey, a PSN title. I haven't played it yet but I hope to soon and I think it will be an experience I enjoy.

I started with the NES. I think the PS360 gen has been the worst I've experienced. It's probably just because I'm a bit older now (25 soon) and the magic has worn off. Somewhere there's a kid whose first game is Journey, and he loves it. Nothing wrong with that.

To go back to comics, I will always prefer typical superhero fare to heavier stuff. Sure, sometimes I get a lot out of reading about what it was like to grow up under the oppressive influence of post-Revolutionary Iran in Persepolis, but I'll always come back to reading about Superman saving the day. Some folks will only read Persepolis and Maus and other high brow comics and never see the appeal of Supes. And that's fine.

I haven't yet played Gone Home, the recent title that features no enemies or puzzles and only has the player walk through a house reading notes to uncover the story. I'm extremely skeptical of it. It touts its lack of gameplay as a feature. I don't get that. Not only do you have no influence on the plot, but you aren't even rewarded for playing well. Is a game the best medium for that story? Maybe it would be better as a written short story. I think some of its more positive reviews have to do with its bold subject matter, which I won't spoil here. Again, I haven't played it. Perhaps it's brilliant.

Thank you for your thoughtful responses.


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