Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive action-adventure game with an emphasis on narrative and player choice. You play as Jodie Holmes, a young woman who has supernatural powers in the form of Aiden, a ghost-like spirit who is always by her side.
Pro Excellent performance from actress Ellen Page as the protagonist
The protagonist Jodie Holmes is played incredibly well by actress Ellen Page through motion capture technology and voice acting. Portraying Jodie during her teenage and young adult years, Ellen Page shows a huge range of believable emotions, from Jodie's frustrations of growing up with her supernatural powers and her determination to survive all the problems she faces. You get to see every genuine expression she makes and hear each inflection of her voice when she speaks. Controlling Jodie especially feels like you're controlling a real person, Ellen Page herself, just from how realistic everything looks. The actress does a great job performing such a fully-realized character.
Pro Your choices have consequences
Each choice you make, no matter how small, affects how the story plays out in some way. There are the bigger decisions, like pressing a QTE in time to keep Jodie from getting hurt, or making the right dialog choices during encounters with the game's antagonists to outsmart them. But there are also smaller decisions, like choosing to give someone a gift or not stealing money when given the opportunity, and the unexpected ways these choices get taken into account down the line. The best part is that everything leads up to multiple endings depending on which path your choices take you.
Pro Unique two-player couch co-op
The co-op in Beyond: Two Souls is pretty different from the norm. One person plays as Jodie, controlling her for regular story segments, while the second person plays as Aiden for his poltergeist-like powers. You can either work together to get the outcome you both agree on, or the person playing Aiden can cause as much havoc as they want. It can be really funny to have Aiden mess things up by destroying a room or making another character angry by annoying them. Depending on how you and your co-op partner work together -- or don't work together -- you can come up with some interesting scenarios.
Pro Thoughtful story about morality and the supernatural
Beyond: Two Souls tells a thought-provoking story about how supernatural powers affect a person's morality. You play as Jodie Holmes, a young woman who controls a strange spirit-like entity known as Aiden, giving Jodie certain supernatural powers that only seem to cause her trouble at first.
Throughout the story, Jodie tries to find meaning in her powers by deciding whether or not she should use Aiden to help others, even as many in the world persecute her for how dangerous her abilities are. Most of the tension in the plot surrounds whether or not Jodie should get revenge against those who discriminate against her, or if she should choose kindness instead. Whichever path you take is fair game, since the story leaves you to decide what is best.
Pro Great music that compliments the story well
Beyond: Two Souls' soundtrack fits well with the game's dramatic and emotional plot. The innocent songs with wind instruments and undertones of sorrow reflect the quiet moments you spend as Jodie during her lonely childhood years. Other, more powerful tracks with blaring cellos and ethereal screaming sounds compliment the action-heavy moments. Sometimes even the silent scenes with only a few notes of music convey the seriousness of what's happening on-screen. The composer Lorne Balfe hit the right tone for any given scene, making the story even more memorable.
Pro Plenty of tense and exciting action moments
Even though the game is like an interactive movie, there are still some action scenes with more involved gameplay. There are moments where Jodie is in danger and you have to navigate Aiden to help her, or Jodie and Aiden are on the run from several enemies and you have to find a way to escape. You then have to press buttons in time or navigate your analog sticks in certain ways to stay in control of the scene. The game does rely a lot on button presses with QTEs to keep you involved in the gameplay, but as long as you feel engrossed in the game and the overall plot, you probably won't mind too much.
Con The story feels on-rails most of the time
Despite how many decisions you make throughout the game, the story still follows a set formula. Your choices don't really affect the bigger picture, just the finer details of how each chapter plays out. The choices you make at the very end of the game do depend on which options you went with across the game, but it's still not enough. It would have been nice if this were a game where your choices drastically affect the outcome of the plot instead.
Con Some parts of the story drag for too long
The pacing in Beyond: Two Souls is off sometimes, with certain sections taking too long to get going. One part in particular is pretty boring, with time passing way too slowly and not a lot going on. Things pick up after a while, but it's easy to put the game down entirely before you get that far. This happens a little too often in a playthrough, bogging the plot down in an otherwise good story.
Con The romance subplots feel tacked-on
The romance options in the game feel like they don't belong. They also don't feel at all natural, mainly because Jodie doesn't have much chemistry with either of the guys. The romances don't contribute much to the plot, either, since the story progresses more or less the same with only minor differences depending on if you romanced someone or not. At the end of the day, the subplots are awkward and unfulfilling, and could have been left out of the game altogether.