Beyond Two Souls re-mastered for PlayStation 4 is here. In spite of already being released on PlayStation 3 back in 2013, the story of Jodie Holmes and her extraordinary life is a great addition to your library. Whether you’ve played the game before or are a fresh face, Beyond Two Souls for PlayStation 4 proves that it was always ready to take on the next generation console and holds its own ground in the age of RPG, story and action based games.
To start with the technicalities, an obvious change to the game was the addition of wide screen play through. Though I do admit, at a first glance I questioned a possible visual displeasure but I soon got over it and realised that the black bars really didn’t matter, similar to watching a movie. The graphics, detail, colour, lighting and depth of field easily drew my attention away and I found myself in awe of the crisp visuals in front of me. I probably have to admit I spent a lot of my time taking screenshots. One of my favourite close ups occurred when Jodie was in a hospital bathroom and was examining her head. You could see her pores, her scars, her un-plucked natural eyebrows and the shiny glint from her eye as she tried not to cry.
With the re-mastered version came the addition of stats at the end of each chapter. Initially the ambiguity was something I preferred and wasn’t sure how the addition of stats at the end of every chapter would affect my game play. Saying this, the stats proved rather useful and I discovered things I didn’t know I could do in the game even when I thought I had done everything.
Narrative and storytelling was no doubt one of the highlights of the entire game. In the re-mastered version you have the ability to choose whether to play the game in the original intended order or the remixed version that allows you to play in chronological order of Jodie’s life. There are perks to having things in chronological order, one of them being the emotional centre of the story. In terms of the narrative, it was much easier to be aware of Jodie’s emotional state at a particular time in her life. The original version tended to get a bit confusing as it was difficult to keep up with the time line when jumping all over the place. Something as simple as being able to address things straight after or very close to when they happened is something you take for granted when it’s taken away. An example could be when Jodie jumps out the plane furious and betrayed by what’s she has just heard (don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you). In the original order you would jump to a completely different moment in Jodie’s life but in the remixed order you jump to the chapter with Jodie in the train and now on the run.
Every chapter is so vastly different from the rest and you can expect to face something new in each one whether that be through meeting new characters, seeing old ones again, the story or more obviously the setting. You can play as Jodie homeless on the streets in winter, on a train in the middle of a storm, in a hot desert in the middle of nowhere or simply as a little girl just trying to fit in, the list goes on. The only thing I tended to question was the length of each chapter which at times felt a tad inconsistent. The Navajo chapter is a prime example. This particular chapter was rather long in comparison to other chapters and almost felt as though it could pass for a DLC or expansion chapter. I do think this was mainly because I loved playing as younger Jodie and in comparison wished that I could have spent more time playing at her age. She really was such a cutie and boy was she a tough little girl.
The controls opted for easy and smooth motion, direction and involvement. By playing in the remixed chronological order, the first time I encountered combat was in the condenser chapter. In the least spoiler-y way possible, Jodie is not physically trained at this point in her life but in a few years down the line. Saying this, in the original order, the player has already skipped forward to this moment. The player has already encountered Jodie and gone through the ‘tutorial’ process of combat. In my case, by playing in chronological order I had never come across combat so I was a tad thrown in the moment and didn’t receive any instruction or tutorial until a few chapters later when I encountered the training chapter.
Controlling Aiden, Jodie’s entity, was always going to be a fun way to approach controls in a game. There’s something pleasing about being able to go through walls and listen in on conversations, heal people, unlock and move things, temporarily control people and get visions from people or objects. Game play and combat doesn’t have to always involve gun fights in order for your interest to be maintained. Beyond Two Souls shows that you don’t need a big boss fight to end your game too. Jodie’s character development, her extraordinary life, the themes and exploration into life and death, what life means, its existence and us as human beings with souls puts a weight on you that would be nowhere to be found if the game threw in a generic final boss battle. The game ever so slightly nudges you into thinking that it might go this way but it never does happen. If you asked me who the big bad antagonist of the game was, I’m not sure I’d be able to give you a clear answer.
- Stunning graphics
- Distinctive settings and chapters
- Memorable characters
- Stellar cast
- Captivating story