Top positive review
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Obviously a divisive game...
on 14 October 2013
I'm not going to decry any of the lower scoring reviews this game received in the press, or indeed in this review section. Reviews are by their very nature entirely subjective, so it's entirely pointless to go down that road.
That said, I thought it was a phenomenal game. Although I wouldn't necessarily say I "enjoyed" it. The thing is, large parts of this game rely on your willingness to accept that a lot of mean, spiteful, heartless, manipulative and outright repulsive things are going to happen to the lead character. There are many sections where what you'll take from playing is how wretched and alienating the human spirit can be when faced with the idea of someone who's "different". I know a lot of people had a problem with the, er, distinctly downbeat tone of Heavy Rain, and I doubt those people will feel much different about Beyond.
But then there are also genuinely touching scenes that moved me. Scenes where simple love, kindness and acceptance can drag you back from the brink.
Then there's the control system. This isn't so much direct control of a character, as pointing the character in the direction of how you'd like things to play out. If you're willing to relinquish the micromanagement of every action in favour more detailed and varied second-to-second feedback onscreen, this can be a hugely rewarding game. If, on the other hand, you think games only work when the characters do stuff while the player is actively prodding buttons and twiddling sticks, you might not like this. Personally I'm happy with both, as long as they're done well.
Look, what I'm trying to say is this isn't your typical game, and it won't be for everyone. The graphics and acting are pretty much peerless in the video game world, the script and storytelling are on par with your average decently budgeted TV show, and - if you can accept the control system for what it is - it can provide an intimacy with the characters you just don't find in other media. If you're OK with that you'll think this is great, if not you probably won't. Neither is the better opinion - it's just personal preference.
Personally though, I think Beyond : Two Souls was bloody fantastic.