I love paranormal activity stories but I usually hate the movies. I love the idea of ghosts and all that. Like aliens, I don’t tend to always believe they would be evil. I have no idea why they’re almost always represented as such.
Most paranormal movies frustrate and bore the living crap out of me. That’s why I was really surprised by Beyond: Two Souls. I was interested in the story from the second the game started straight through the end. It was very hard to put down. I completed the game in two-and-a-half sittings. Please join me in my haunted and emotional experience.
Beyond: Two Souls – My Name Is Jodie And This Is My Story (Player Perspective)
I am eight years old. I am haunted by nightmares that come to life. I see people that aren’t really there. Their bodies are scarred and bloodied. I’m afraid of them but I don’t think they mean me harm. I see other things too that don’t look like people. They are ugly shadows that move through the air and walls. They grab at me and drag me. I don’t know where they’re trying to take me or what they want with me. They are very scary and nobody can help me except…
I am linked with an entity from the world beyond death. The doctors call it a “gift”. I can’t see the entity but I know he’s always there. He speaks to me but nobody else can hear him. He protects me from the shadows. Sometimes I think he wants to play but I don’t like it. Sometimes he gets angry and throws things around to get my attention. I’m not sure why he bothers me so much. I’ve asked him to go away. Maybe the shadows will leave with him. He doesn’t go away. His name is Aiden.
I live on a military base in the paranormal unit. My only possessions are my teddy bear and some clothes. I can’t go anywhere. The doctors are nice but I don’t like it here. There’s nothing to do other than take tests. They hook me up to wires every day and ask me to select cards and match them to another person’s cards behind a wall. Aiden always tells me which cards to pick. There are other tests too that I don’t want to talk about.
Sometimes when I answer a phone call all I hear is static. Sometimes when I look in a mirror I see a horrifying monster but it’s not really there. I feel like this nightmare will never end.
I went to a birthday party of one of the other girls on the base. It was okay. I danced with a boy for the first time. He tried to kiss me but I shied away. The other kids had heard about my “powers” and asked me to perform tricks. I didn’t want to, though, so I didn’t. They locked me in a closet while laughing at me. Aiden let me out and I left the party. I couldn’t hold my tears back.
I am eighteen years old now. I was taken and trained by the C.I.A. When they thought I was ready, I was sent on a mission to stop the leader of a terrorist group. He was in the middle of a war zone. The things I had seen. The things I had done…
They all used me. The scientists and the C.I.A. I was their guinea pig, their toy, and their assassin. I ran away and I will not go back there. If they come after me, I will kill every last one of them.
I am twenty years old now. I don’t remember how but I ended up in a home-made shelter on the streets. I woke up with a stranger watching over me. He introduced himself as Stan. He saved me from the freezing cold and offered me food and drink when I woke up. He offered for me to stay there if I wanted. I had nowhere else to go so I stayed.
Stan taught me how to survive while being homeless. We looked for places to sit on the sidewalk and relied on the kindness of strangers to get more food. I came across a guitarist. He couldn’t play because his hands were freezing cold. He offered me to try. I played and sang “Fighting For A Lost Cause” until the sun went down. (A sad and pretty song and Ellen Page sang it so beautifully.) When I stopped playing I realized people had left me money. I shared some of it with the guitarist and returned to Stan.
I got to know some of Stan’s friends that shared the same shelter. We spent time together over campfires while eating canned foods. I confided in my new friends about my “abilities”. They didn’t believe me until I helped each one of them with Aiden’s help.
I encountered some dangers while living on the streets. After a brutal battle with some thugs while trying to save my friends, I ended up in a hospital and the C.I.A. found me. They sent in my old doctor to talk with me and convince me to work with them. Portals to the realm beyond death have started to open all over the planet and they want my help to close them.
My name is Jodie and Hell follows me everywhere.
The Ages of Jodie
While I wrote my experience as Jodie in order of her ages, they didn’t actually play out in that order. I went back and forth from playing as a young Jodie to an older one repeatedly throughout the game. I thought it was very easy to follow and found it to be very interesting. It added a mystery to the story as everything was revealed slowly throughout the different periods of time.
I also might not have been one-hundred percent correct about her specific ages. I got to play her as eight, nine, eighteen, twenty-four and a few different variations. I did my best to offer a good idea on the age differences. I thought they were all very cool and interesting and I got to experience Jodie as a whole person. I was Jodie and I felt so bad for the things she went through. This girl had been terrorized her whole life but she also grew up strong.
I could control Aiden whenever I wanted. That didn’t really matter, though, because I really only needed to control him for necessary parts that required me to take action as a spirit. There is a bit of exploration offered that let me find secret orbs to unlock art and such that can only be acquired while floating around as Aiden. (The unlocked art is beautiful!)
Aiden was as mysterious to me as he was to Jodie. I didn’t know why he was following me around. He would get angry and I would be forced to act out a tantrum while controlling the spirit by throwing objects around a room or smashing the glass of TVs and cameras. The best parts where Aiden really mattered to me was when fighting the demonic shadows. I would have to protect Jodie from being taken by them. I could also possess humans as Aiden and control their actions. I could only do it in specific situations for story progression but it was still very cool.
Besides being protective, Aiden is also a jealous spirit who didn’t like it when Jodie tried to have a boyfriend. For being invisible, he has a lot of personality.
Interactive Cinematic Experience
Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive movie. The controls were nearly perfect. I was able to direct my character through the cinematic styled gameplay by following a small white dot on screen with my analog stick. It was visible enough to easily notice but blended in enough to not ruin my immersion. There were a couple parts where I didn’t realize I was supposed to be interacting for a sec.
I really love the combat systems. For the cinematic combat I would have to move my analog stick in the direction Jodie was either attacking, or dodging in to successfully pull it off. If I didn’t hit the direction indicated from Jodie’s on screen movements in time, I would fail that part of the sequence and watch as my poor character got beaten up until I could make my next move.
There’s also the stealth combat system where I would use cover very similarly to a lot of third-person shooters nowadays. Then I would snap necks, slam my foot on enemies necks, and all around stealthily destroy my enemies with some very cool cinematic finishers. The cinematic combat was truly epic.
Almost every major interaction in the game is based on quick-time-events. For this type of game I think it works perfectly. I don’t see it happening any other way. It’s not button mashing QTEs, though, which is great. There are a couple button mashing interactions but most QTEs are directional based, giving it an actual immersive feeling.
The choices in Beyond: Two Souls mattered but I didn’t feel any regrets over making the “wrong” one. That is a big deal to me! I felt like I was able to direct Jodie’s feelings towards her would-be boyfriends. I chose to keep her as a loner and the game let me. There was no point where it forced me into something like, “No, you have to like this boy or person because we want you to for the story”. I denied them!
There were multiple factors in my decision to keep Jodie alone. I’m a loner in real life. I don’t enjoy it but I am. So I wanted the character I was playing as to be one as well. It also made sense to me for her to cut herself off.
She was haunted by living nightmares and her very own guardian entity. I didn’t want her to be alone but I also didn’t want to put others in danger. I was role-playing a character I never intended to role-play. I was so immersed into the story that I wanted her to feel what I was feeling because I could feel what she was feeling.
The fact that my decisions reflected exactly what I wanted in Beyond: Two Souls encouraged me to continue to make my own choices. It was like the game had expectations but it still allowed me to be myself. A lot of games that offer choices don’t make me feel like my decisions matter. It’s cool to have that option but not many have made me really feel like I was controlling not only the actions of my character, but their emotions as well.
The one thing that I really wanted to be able to do that the game didn’t allow was decimate the C.I.A. Firestarter style. Maybe Jodie is a much more sensible person than I am.
I was a lost and lonely soul. I traveled the world before I found myself. I saw the future. I saw the after-life. I was lead by spirits of the dead. I made sacrifices for a love I could not have. I saw horrors nobody would understand. Things I could not explain. I faced waves and storms of demons that people think are make-believe. I’ve been a part of the slaughter of innocents. I have even saved the world.
There were so many times that I thought about ending my life. I thought maybe I was the reason for all of the evil that followed me everywhere. But I couldn’t be sure of that. Not only that, but I could help people. As miserable as I was, at least I could help people. We are all part of something greater than ourselves.
My name was Jodie. I was… Beyond: Two Souls.
Beyond: Two Souls Final Judgement – A Truly Incredible Experience