Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Beyond Two Souls: PS4 Review

Beyond Two Souls: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Quantic Dreams

As we head toward the end of the year, there's yet another remaster from the Sony stable hitting the next gen consoles.

It's understandable given that PS3 is no longer being manufactured and that there were some great titles on the platform that deserve another life.

The latest is Quantic Dream's experience of a game that now feels more like a pre-cursor to what Until Dawn achieved.

Utilising the acting skills of Willem Dafoe and  Ellen Page, it's a non-linear story of Jodie (Ellen Page), a young girl with a secret. As the game begins, we find Jodie in a police station, but before long all hell breaks loose.

It's here that in the original the narrative starts jumping back and forth in her timeline, taking in moments and different story elements come in; suddenly you are young Jodie, tasked with tidying her room up and coming through for some tests. It's at this stage that the traditional elements of the gaming world kick in - use the controller to move Jodie, get her to move things about etc.

But it's also at this stage that you start to get your first look at Aiden, the mysterious entity, which appears tied to Jodie, meaning that the two can't be separated by huge distances. Floating above her, Aiden can go through walls (all done through first person POV shots) and influence the world around- either in the form of knocking stuff about or later on, possessing people to do your bidding.

However, in the remaster you can play the game in chronological order, which will please purists who felt the game jumped around unnecessarily and who like to do things the way they believe they should be.

A lot of the gaming is done via QuickTime methods - press X to do this, press O to do that - which initially gives you the feeling of being somewhat distanced from the actual game itself and merely directing the talent involved to do your bidding. As ever, there are multiple options which obviously provide a plethora of outcomes, meaning you could go again if you wanted to.

In terms of the PS4 version, some of the difficulty's been ramped up in some of the fights and there's been the addition of statistics from your choices at the end of scenes too. But the big push from Beyond Two Souls this time around comes from the graphics which look nigh on polished as the 1080 kicks in. While it's a necessary evil to feel cynical towards the continuing slew of remasters on both the XBox and PlayStation platforms, when they're presented this well, it's a degree of comfort for all involved.

The faults of the Beyond Two Souls remaster come from the source with the elements of the story not quite hanging together and with the occasional lack of gameplay as you simply watch elements play out - but if you're willing to forego those, this is a remaster that definitely adds the polish to the final product.


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