Pressing X to Ellen in Beyond: Two Souls


This, I enjoyed the game for what it was, and what it was said to be from the start like most of Cage's games are, an interactive story. While the writing itself could have been better, I thought both Page and Defoe's delivery was extremely well done and the game did a good job of sucking me in and wanting to see what unfolded next in the story.
I've seriously noticed a trend on some of the more niche gaming/podcast/review sites as of late to go against the grain and often lowball high profile titles for what to me seems like the sake of it.
Michael Barnes review of The Last of Us on Nohighsores is just one example, the guy couldn't be bothered to even finish the game but it didn't stop him from trashing it beyond belief anyway. That to me isn't objective reviewing.
I get the feeling Tom tends to review games based on his expectations of what he thinks the game should be rather than reviewing games based on the merits of the game itself. That also to me, is not very objective, expecting a David Cage title to play like your average action title I would highly suspect one would be disappointed every time as that's never been Cage's intention to make just another game ala Call of Duty to be successful. The guy may not be the best writer in the world, and there were certainly elements of BTS that could have been better fleshed out.
That being said however, BTS deserves far more than a one star review, imo anyway. These types of games obviously aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but there are some of us who do enjoy developers taking risks and trying new things to expand gaming beyond your typical shooter or action game.


if they're different games as you say, you shouldn't come to me with this argument, you should reply to the guy who used 'go play CoD' as a way to discredit the reviewer. he's the one who brought it up.


Different doesn't necessarily means good, tho.


Curt, this link might address some of your concerns:


As i said, you can assume that in any review I write. Not making it explicit is more an issue of basic grammar than tone; including that disclaimer every time would just be clunky. It's like people who begin every sentence with "I feel...".

I've said it elsewhere, but it's worth keeping in mind that my reviews are NEVER intended as any sort of universal or even objective observation about the level of quality of a product. That's just not what I do.


Unfortunately, no. I was holding out hope for some sort of You Are Aiden meta-twist/reveal, but it's way more prosaic than that. There is a very brief and moderately clever bit where Aiden could be a stand-in for the player's opinion on one of Jodie's relationships -- he's jealous that she has a date -- but for the most part, I don't think Cage is interested in exploring the concept of the second soul as the player.


Would you say it's more of a milestone than Heavy Rain? Because as far as the basic format -- a moderately interactive animated movie -- I feel that Heavy Rain has more to offer.

But I really like your point about it being disappointingly middle-brow considering Quantic Dream's obvious aspirations. I hate to pin it on one person, especially when that person is such a driving force behind the game, but I wish they would try this concept with a better writer than David Cage. Imagine how awesome something along the lines of Bioshock Infinite or Last of Us could have been in this format, focused entirely on character and storytelling.


I certainly agree with you on all fronts here. The story line was fantastic which allowed me to forgive some of the writing. The known faces also made the story easy to dive into, which I liked. As far as the reviewer is concerned, giving a game a low score because you either want to stir up some arguments or you weren't understanding the goal of the game, is so unfair to the people who made the game and tried to accomplish something (and actually achieved it). I certainly hope nobody made the decision to not buy this game based on this review, but sadly, some might have.

Clearly someone is not going to review a game correctly if you go in with one expectation and won't bend to what the game is trying to do. For instance, I would be a horrible person to review a game like the Age of Empires since I find the gameplay so boring. I can understand why some people would find BTS to be boring because of the controls, but it's certainly not meant for kids and those are the ones not too interested in the story.

Either way, I not only agree with your entire statement, it was also well written to the point that even if there was something negative in there about my comment, I would have looked at it objectively (much like the reviewer should have done with this game). Game on good sir.


Well well well, if it isn't the pot. You going about calling the kettle black is getting rather old. Is it really that hard to put in punctuation and completely spell words? Also , look up aren't , it's a word and you and it should get comfortable.


Not one negative directed at your comment at all Altek, I think we're very much on the same page in regards to BTS and on the topic of game reviews in general. Appreciate the reply!


Comas do not give you aids despite what people have told you.


Creatively and critically, probably not. But on a technical and, most importantly, commercial level, this is probably a bigger deal than any other Quantic Dream project to date. The game got screenings at film festivals after all. Legitimate stars were wiling to commit themselves and their reputations to it. Despite my ambivalence for the final product, that it even got done pre-next gen and reached my hands and compelled me to think and write about it on a website comment section is probably more than can be said for most games...

I am hesitant to criticize David Cage himself, in that I completely support and applaud his desire to push the boundaries of interactive media and storytelling. Regarding the Beyond script in particular, I do not think it is a lack of writing ability but rather focus or discipline (or perhaps more simply, time). Granted, Beyond isn't the only game to have a purported script of thousands of pages, but there is something to be said for how well any writer can do when tasked with creating such disparate chapters spanning over so many hours of gameplay, all within a year or two. Add to this my suspicion that few at Quantic Dream would ever challenge the vision or writing of their chief, and you get a formula that produces scripts like we have here with Beyond: convenient, predictable, cliche/trope-heavy...

Regarding your last comment on the Last of Us and Infinite in particular, I suspect Quantic Dream's DNA of branching narrative and God-like player agency would have broken those stories. Irrational knows they made a game about Elizabeth; but they knew it would best be told by playing Booker. Quantic probably wouldn't have been able to help themselves and would have had you play as Elizabeth instead, powers and all (case in point: Beyond).

And with the Last of Us, we all know that forbidden fruit of letting the player make some sort of choice for Joel (and thereby re-define him) at the end of the game would have been gobbled up at the first chance. Joel would have become a shell, not the brutal flesh and blood man we ended up enthralled (and for some, appalled) by. No, thank you. I am just fine with that script handled by Naughty Dog.

But overall, I completely agree there are pieces and tools and ideas here that can somehow be honed into an amazing package. Hopefully the stars will align for them next gen: a tighter script, more focused and capable direction, easier and more versatile hardware (including the new controllers/cameras), more money and customer experience and feedback to leverage...

Anyway, thanks for the review and follow up to my comment! This was probably the most I've put into and gotten out of a comment discussion in years. Cheers to you


I know I'm not in the camp that found the Walking Dead game worth all its praise. Yes, it is like playing the comics. And of course you've got your obligatory zombie apocalypse extreme human drama twists. And some 'touch choices.' And I suppose there's emotional payoff by the end. But I found so much of that game such a chore... Would have much preferred simply watching or reading it play out. Fine, throw in the kill/save toggle when it comes up if you must. But even that I could totally do without.

I'm pretty sure a lot of the goodwill behind that game also comes from the free platinum trophy it gives you... Can't say I'm complaining, but just saying...


Yes cause you do know this is suppost to be a movie game.. its not suppost to be like borderlands 2... its suppost to be a story you interact with, and get more attached to the charecters cause your helping them along their way


Be honest: you're just upset Tom didn't choose you when deciding how the Ellen Page character model was going to react to her ex-boyfriend.


I thought of something like this. Her twin died while still a fetus and somehow its soul was locked inside Ellen Page. Am I on the right track?


I mean, the vast majority of the review was about how plodding and shallow the writing was in this game...

what is a movie game, anyway?


Ellipses might, though.


Goodness grapefruits! I disliked all of those games except for Journey, but even w/ Journey, it was fairly obvious to see how somebody could not enjoy the game. Or even how somebody could love The Last of Us! Why is it that you seem to think Tom's opinion is wrong? Or anybody's?


Do you really think The Last Of Us would have been improved by the QD approach? I loved the writing and story of TLOU, my major gripe was how poorly the game mechanics fit the themes of the story (viz. survival that seemed ragged and towering in the plot was tantamount to looking through some drawers for more nails in the game) and I feel like this sort of removed 'interactive fiction' approach may have saved me the trouble of having to reposition a few ladders but wouldn't have engaged me in the way that TLOU sometimes did. (For all of its fumbling, some bits, like the boss fight with Nolan North's character, were legitimately nerve-wracking and oppressive in a way that made me empathize w/ Ellie's situation, or even how the fumbles felt early on like they were hinting at some broader theme of the mundane nature of the apocalypse, before I quickly realized that they had just decided to give me more puzzles related to moving a board along some water.)