Nick had requested my personal opinion about 'Beyond: Two Souls' in the comments of last week's podcast and I thought my response would be more appropriate as a quick read! I came to this conclusion because I think my response could open a dialogue that would be relevant to how mainstream visual media is portrayed today. To me, the aforementioned is going rather flat in regards to telling a story or inspiring the audience to think. But if there was ever a game that made me feel sadness, apprehension, discomfort, concern, excitement, all while being mystified, it was 'Beyond: Two Souls'. Very rarely these days does a movie, or game for that matter, make me think or experience this kind of emotional roller-coaster within me. Typically, they just promote long sessions of thoughtless, open-mouth drool, maybe some short bursts of adrenaline, and a chaotic knee-jerk reaction here or there. I felt that this game drove away from the mundane trend that plagues current media and is truly a masterful work of art, cinema, and storytelling.
In 'Beyond: Two Souls' the story centers on 2 major characters: Jodie and Aiden. Jodie and Aiden's story, although a little disjointed, got me hooked right from the very start. Their story is presented like a complex, 1st and 3rd-person story puzzle, with a mix of quick-time events, some direct control of the characters, and a series of choices that shape the outcome of the game much like any other Quantic Dream game. These choices become essential in solving the overall puzzle of just who these characters really are. It was in figuring out these arms and legs of the story that not only kept me wanting more, but more importantly, made me think about what I was experiencing.
Throughout the story, I had a series of thoughts and was constantly theorizing about what I was seeing: Was Jodie a religious prophet? Was she someone who is gifted? Could she simply have an imaginary friend? Does she see dead people or spirits? Is she is living in another dimension? Or could she just be experiencing paranoid delusions of some kind? I'm still not sure what these characters truly are. But to me, this is perfectly fine because it leaves it open to my own subjective interpretation, re-playability, and more importantly, my own THINKING. Sadly, I feel these thought provoking traits are dying in modern games and movies. This game proved that huge, elaborate set pieces, over the top action, violence, and sexy curves are not essential when telling a great story. Sometimes simple ideas and beautiful motion pictures presented in complex, segmented fragments is all you need. Nevertheless, I personally really enjoyed this game and the story it tells but maybe you would disagree. I’m curious as to what others think about the direction of current visual media or about this game in particular!
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