Beyond: Two Souls
In one sense the “meh”-ness felt by critics and fans alike about Beyond is somewhat understandable. Take a developer that created the critical darling Heavy Rain, introduce top tier actors in Ellen Page and Willem Defoe to play the leads in the s tory, and promise the world that the PS3 is about to showcase a technological masterpiece the likes of which haven’t been seen since, well, Heavy Rain, and how could a game that is anything less than perfect not fail?
The truth is, while Beyond: Two Souls certainly is not without its flaws (probably less user control than Heavy Rain, which itself wasn’t exactly flush in that department, a story that took itself too seriously at times, and the expectation that players would be so wowed by the facial recognition of the protagonists that things like plot movement (or lack thereof) and story energy wouldn’t really matter. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, and is the main reason why it currently sits at a very pedestrian 70/100 score on Metacritic.com.
However, consider what Quantic Dream promised with both titles prior to their releases. These games were not being offered up as open world adventures; they were demonstrating the visual and audio power of the PlayStation 3 by setting it to the theme of a choose your own adventure tale. Yes, to a certain extent both games felt a bit on rails, but who says rail games can’t be excellent as well? Beyond is the perfect example of a game that gave players exactly what they asked for, and then was penalized for not providing things that weren’t in the plan to begin with.