Beyond: Two Souls Is Better With A Friend

Beyond: Two Souls Is Better With A Friend

Hopefully you could tell from my decidedly mixed review of Beyond: Two Souls whether or not the game is for you. And if it is for you, a piece of advice: Consider bringing a friend.

Beyond can be played from start to finish in 2-player local co-op. I found that I had a much better time playing the game in co-op with my girlfriend than I did when I played it on my own. I'll grant that's at least in part because most things are more fun when she's around, but I also think that something about Beyond's design lends itself well to cooperative play.

In co-op, one player takes control of Ellen Page's character Jodie while the other player controls her ghostly companion Aiden. Each player can toss control to the other one by pressing their PS3 controller's triangle button. That means that half the time, one of the two players won't have anything to do — they'll have to watch as the other one plays.

The game is, as I put it on Tuesday, basically a SYFY original miniseries that occasionally asks for viewer input. It's something you watch at least as much as you play. So really, it's not that big a deal if the Aiden player has to sit around not doing anything for a bit, or the Jodie player has to chill out while Aiden kills dudes.

One annoying problem with co-op play is that the thumbstick inversion carries across for both characters. There's no way for Aiden to have an inverted Y-axis while Jodie stays with non-inverted. It's an irritating oversight, and hopefully something Sony will fix in a patch. Fortunately, only Aiden really requires a lot of camera control — in Jodie' scenes, the camera's Y-axis can mostly be left alone.

The player controlling Jodie will definitely have more to do, and what they do will generally be more interesting. Jodie gets to make all the choices in the story, and she's the only one who gets to engage in conversations (Aiden isn't much of a talker). Aiden, on the other hand, has more action-oriented gameplay. If one co-op player's video game skills outpace their partner, he or she can opt for Aiden and get a more active experience. It's also kind of nice that the stakes are never too high — it's impossible for Jodie to die, so if the Aiden player does a poor job of saving her in a given sequence, neither player will feel all that punished.

The most fun parts of Beyond revolve around little decisions: Lie, or tell the truth? Be helpful, or reluctant? Forgive, or hold a grudge? Drink the beer, or skip it? While only one player gets to make the ultimate decision, debating your options together can be pretty enjoyable. Also, with separate players controlling both Jodie and Aiden, it feels clearer throughout that Aiden is his own character, and not just some extension of Jodie's psychic abilities.

Beyond has its share of dumb plot twists, lazy writing, and goofy scenarios. As it turns out, those are _also _more fun with a friend. As anyone who has watched a cheesy movie with a bunch of friends would agree, it's much more fun to roll your eyes at something if you're not rolling them alone.

Of course, if you want to play the game but don't have a readily accessible friend to share it with, it's perfectly ok to tackle it solo. It's kind of cool to play alone and swap between two characters, and it certainly makes the game feel more varied.

But if you have the means, consider bringing along a friend. Beyond may not be the end-all, be-all of co-op gaming, but it is a pretty fun game to share.


Comments

    That's why I'm not going to buy the game and instead watch Two Best Friends play it.

    Jodie gets to make all the choices in the story, and she’s the only one who gets to engage in conversations (Aiden isn’t much of a talker). Aiden, on the other hand, has more action-oriented gameplay.

    Just like Walt and Jesse :oP

    [Brownie Points]"I’ll grant that’s at least in part because most things are more fun when she’s around..."[/Brownie Points]

    Ah you're such a softie aren't you, Kirk.

    Great...Now I need to find a friend to play PS3 with....

    This is fantastic news! My fiancé and I are always on the lookout for co-op games that we can play together, preferably something with a real (hopefully good) story. She absolutely devoured The Last of Us (we controller swapped), and she's really getting into the story of GTA V (I'm pretty sure I've bagged the best girl in the world, she even surprised me and bought it for me on release day). We also had a blast with Portal 2, but the story for co-op in that is negligible. So she's been pumped for this since her 'edge-of-the-seat' experience with Heavy Rain. I didn't even know Beyond was co-op, so this is awesome. So anyway, does any one know of a good co-op game with a reasonable story to boot? I'm rocking a PS3 by the way (or PC, but I've never heard of single machine co-op on PC). I thank you in advance!

      My fiance and I are having alot of fun with borderlands 2 and diablo 3 on local co op at the moment. Both are so much more fun with more than just on player. Both are really fun to stratergise with different character classes.

    Here's what I don't get. Beyond: Two Souls has been rated down by many for being 'an interactive movie' rather than a game. However games like The Walking Dead are exactly the same.

    Don't get me wrong, I loved TWD, but it seems a bit of a double standard from this perspective. The 'gameplay' in TWD was limited to a few scenes where it broke away from the otherwise very tightly confined adventure game format it employed. Still, it got universally high scores.

    What gives? Is it also the fact that Beyond has other issues with the story that put people in a more negative and critical mindset? Is it too 'realistic' looking that it becomes too film like and thus it creates a different perception in people's minds?

    For instance IGN gave TWD 9.3 and BTS 6.0

    @dc - Make me understand!

      I haven't played either (though I've "played" Heavy Rain), but I imagine it's like comparing a Choose Your Own Adventure to a point and click adventure game. CYOA books are just a story the reader reads in a non-linear fashion based on periodic choices. A PAC adventure game provides a larger degree of player agency in that they get to make more meaningful decisions, solve puzzles, explore and generally feel like events are a direct result of their actions, not just because they selected scene B over scene A.

      From what I hear, there is a vast difference in the story-telling as well which contributes to player immersion/engagement.

      Last edited 11/10/13 10:33 pm

    Would co-op still work if your partner is a complete noob that does not play games at all? I am considering buying this game to play with my wife because we both love movies. But she does not like games at all. So, do you think it would be too frustrating for us to play together or basically she can just watch? But the trouble is I doubt she would be interested in watching me play any gameplay, so the whole thing would need to feel like a movie to attract her... Thoughts?

    Last edited 11/10/13 4:22 pm

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