My work usually gives us a generous winter break: all the days off between Christmas and New Year’s. This year I took a few extra days to make it 2 weeks solid.
I’ve slept nearly every day until noon, and then stayed up gaming until 2am.
It’s a really excellent schedule when I have nothing to do. I’ve been catching up on some LEGO games that I’ve had for a year, but never got to play because our Xbox suffered the red ring of death back in spring. We also got some new games for Christmas that we were excited to start.
One such Christmas gift was Beyond: Two Souls. This game is by Quantic Dream, makers of Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit, as I call it–its original name, and one that fits better). And it is every bit as good as those 2 games.
It’s basically like watching a 10-hour choose-your-own-adventure movie. It stars Ellen Page as Jodie, a young woman with an “invisible friend” named Aiden–an “entity” tethered to her, that the player can also sometimes control (but really only to directly advance the plot). It also stars Willem Dafoe as her mentor–I just referred to him as Norman Osborn the whole time.
The acting, both voice and motion-captured, is great. So is the music. The gameplay is forgettable and sometimes irritating. You can play with 2 people (one as Jodie and one as Aiden), and you can even use an iPad as a controller, which my husband and I tried. It was fun, but a little limiting. I actually just preferred watching him play.
The story requires a little work to follow; it’s broken up into non-chronological segments of Jodie’s life. Overall, I would describe it as paranormal thriller, but each story segment varies, spanning zombie-style horror, scifi, political/spy, and mythological themes. My favorite segment was “Navajo.” They could have made a whole game just from that segment.
Most of the choices you make along the way are pretty cosmetic. The real crux of the story is the ending. There are several different ones, and by now I have seen them all. My favorite is “Zoey.”