After enjoying 'Life Is Strange' and 'Until Dawn', I decided to give this one a go as I wanted to see what else the Interactive Drama genre could offer. Originally dismissive of the genre for lacking gameplay, I've since come to appreciate what this genre does well.
This is a fairly good looking game considering it's a PS3 game that's been ported over the PS4. I was honestly surprised with the graphical fidelity that came out of the PS3 for this one, and it's meant that the PS4 version still looks very good even compared to titles released late in the PS4 lifespan. Music and sound is effective and unobtrusive; it does it's job at least. Really it's all down to those visuals though. Ellen Page actually looks like Ellen Page, which was surprising.
The limited gameplay here is very hit-and-miss. It attempts to involve the player in some action scenes and uses a rather unintuitive control scheme to get that across. There's both a simple and experienced gamer control scheme and both have their benefits and flaws, so much so that I found myself flitting between the two. It's nice that there was an attempt to include action gameplay, and I imagine for a first time gamer this would work well. My mum who's quickly approaching 60 could probably play this game well enough; though I feel more could have been done.
This genre lives and dies on it's narrative, and honestly. 'Beyond: Two Souls' has a mixed narrative. It's got some great acting at times, some engaging plot lines, and some cute moments that I enjoyed but the plot is relatively predictable and the story can get convoluted and cliché at times. If this story was part of an action focused linear action-adventure game, it would be taken far better, but hanging the entire game on this narrative was a risk I'm not sure paid off. The non-linear story telling was effective at raising intrigue, and some moments where particularly well told in isolation. Ultimately I enjoyed it, though it's vague non-committal religious statements and overly reverential depiction of Native American belief systems felt a bit forced.
Trophies in this game can be rather obtuse at times. You need to see every possible ending which will drag on at times and actually lessens the impact of the narrative I feel, as you'll be sick of seeing the same scenes with only minor differences; and it also highlights just how little your choices change things. Additionally there's a trophy for playing the entire game in co-op, (which is glitched, so if you switch off part way through the game, it'll revert to single player in the options, so make sure to check it's in co-op mode at the start of each play session). This co-op trophy massively exaggerates the TT value of the game, as it's required for the platinum and it means either finding a second player, or playing with two controllers and switching between the two as needed (which is very doable, as it's light on gameplay). Not a difficult list but a time consuming platinum.
Please note I rate games based on a true rating scale, not some skewed scale where a 7/10 is somehow a bad rating. I also see no reason to devote a needless amount of the scale to grading various levels of bad. A bad game is bad, end of story.
Therefore: 1-star = Bad, 2-star = Mediocre, 3-star = Good, 4-star = Great, and 5-star = Exceptional.
A 5-Star rating from me, will be as rare as unicorn crap. Exceptional, means exceptional!