Beyond Two Souls on the Playstation 4

Beyond Two Souls is back with a number of improvements over the original PlayStation 3 version. Along with the graphical enhancements, is also some changes to the game play. The graphics now boast a benchmark 1080p resolution with added effects such as motion blur, depth of field, bloom effects along with volumetric lighting and soft shadows in certain key locations. These changes are somewhat staples for what we have seen in previous remaster jobs like in The Nathan Drake Collection and God of War 3. The game stars some big names such as Ellen Page (known for complaining about her likeness in The Last of Us) and Willem Dafoe. The facial and motion capture of these actors are some of the best we've seen before, even though this game was originally designed for the Playstation 3. The acting in this game is also of a high quality, with excellent performances from the whole cast. If seeing splendid graphics, realistic characters and familiar faces in games is what you pine for, then Beyond Two Souls has all of that ready for you.

If you're unfamiliar with what this game is all about, allow me to summarize without spoilers. You play as Jodie, a young girl who you help progress through childhood, adolescence and through to adulthood. Beyond Two Souls is an interactive movie about the life of Jodie who has an unusual bond between herself and some sort of unknown entity named "Aiden" (pronounced Eye-Den for some reason). Jodie has the ability to talk to Aiden, whom is invisible to everyone, including Jodie, and by using Aiden, Jodie can do some things that can help her along her way. During the game there will be set moments where you can switch controls over to this entity and manipulate situations to go your way. This game mechanic is used throughout the whole game and kind of appeals to my secret voyeurism side, where you can get to places that normal people can't, and watch people do things when they think no one is watching. Really, if you haven't played it before, give it a go.

The gameplay added a strange ability which now allows you to change the order in which the stories are told. Originally, you played along a time line which tended to jump all over the place during the main character's (Jodie) story. For example, the game starts off where you are thrown into a cut scene showing Jodie as an adult, being pursued by some sort of armed military force. Following this you are then put into the world of a young child version of Jodie, running through some remedial testing to figure out why you're so important. This continues through the game which gave a neat way to make the player piece together the life of Jodie. This new option allows you to play in chronological order, or just play it the way it was originally intended. This is something that I always though the director would be against, considering the game was made the way it was meant to be played in the first place. Doing this almost admits that it wasn't very good the way it was originally made. I disagree.

A neat little added feature (or a completionists worst nightmare) has also worked its way into the mix. Almost stolen from every Telltale game made, where at the end of each section or level, you are shown a percentage, showing what you chose in that scene, compared to the rest of the world. On top of this, it also shows you what decisions could have been made and which ones you never experienced due to the choices you already made. I guess this means a couple of play throughs will be needed for those you can't help by complete everything in a game.

Now it has been claimed that there has been an increased difficulty in some scenes, however this was never evident to me. I am definitely not saying that I am an elite gamer that finds most games easy, but I am definitely saying that Beyond Two Souls is far from a hard game to play. It's mostly an interactive movie, with the odd interaction and quick time event (QTE). There are some occasions that will test you out, but after a few times failing, you soon learn the sequences and what is required and it all then becomes second nature.

Now that Beyond Two Souls is on the PS4, of course there must be a use for the controller speaker. For me, these features often get lost due to me using a high end pair of headphones while playing, but nevertheless, the speaker on your Dual Shock 4 is now being used. You will hear certain sounds throughout the game get blasted out of that tiny speaker in your hands. This is mostly evident when using the ghost entity that follows you around. This feature does help with immersion, but like I said, if you're like me and use headphones, this will just get lost and you won't notice it's there.

Back on the PS3 an extra piece of the game was released as DLC. "Enhanced Experiments" is also included in the remaster for you to play through.

All in all, Beyond Two Souls is a great remaster with a few extras thrown in for your money's worth, but in comparing what I remember of the original and this version, it still just feels like the same game. Good reason for that I know, it is the same game but I can't help by say that a game such as this is really only good for a one time playthrough. I don't think there is enough here to warrant a play through for someone that had already played it on the Playstation 3. Sadly, I would say that my experience back then was also much better, due to the fact that the Touch App which is available on Smart Phones, actually worked. Beyond Two Souls original featured a cool design where you could play a local co-op game where the second player could use a smart phone or tablet to play along as the entity. Although this feature still appears in the PS4 version, it wouldn't work for me. It seems as though the App has not been updated to recognise the PS4, as opposed to the previous gen. When I booted up the App it was still asking me to connect to a PS3 which sadly was not working for me. If an update is coming to the App then I would like to think that it would have been out at the same time as the remastered game, but sadly it was not.

If you haven't played Beyond Two Souls before and you quite like other games such as Heavy Rain or the recently released Until Dawn, then I do recommend picking it up. If you have played it before then there's not much dragging you back other than the prospects of an easy Platinum trophy.

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Lucas Aurelius
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