Beyond: Two Souls has proven to be a divisive and contentious title primarily because many have struggled to find a place for it when it comes to their definitions of what a game should be. When I sat down to write my Beyond review, I had to begin with a caveat because I felt that one's enjoyment of David Cage's latest opus would no doubt depend on whether or not the player was open to Quantic Dream's signature style, though even that might prove to be a fallible basis for investigation:
Your appreciation, or lack thereof, of David Cage and Quantic Dream's latest opus is largely going to be determined by how much you subscribe to many of the controversial statements that Cage has made over the last couple of years, not to mention whether or not you enjoyed his last QTE-'em-up: Heavy Rain.
And even then, given Heavy Rain arguably worked because of its delicately balanced mix of genre, form and function, you might not find Beyond to your liking.
Games are not reviewed in a vacuum, as we've stated many times on this site. Therefore, it's impossible to separate Beyond from the canon of experiential games, large and small, that have surfaced in the wake of Heavy Rain these past three years. The same tricks that worked in 2010 might not prove as effective this time around, and so it seems to have been the case, for this writer anyway.
I promised I'd go into further detail, expanding upon a few of the points I made in my review, and so here's a more personal, expressive take on some of Beyond's failures (in my eyes) to deliver the emotionally-connected experience that David Cage and his team have constantly espoused, and why I'm not sure if the team at Quantic Dream fully understand the enormous capacity for direct, emotional connection that this interactive medium can offer.
There's an opening here to cry hypocrisy given my very public adoration of Telltale's The Walking Dead series, but whereas each and every episode in that left me reeling after several plot-twists and momentous decisions, Beyond pushes me away, constantly keeping me at arm's length, and never threatening any sort of important, decisive moment of player agency, or any kind of real danger given Aiden's unexplained, inconsistent. seeming omnipotence. It's ultimately through Aiden, who's given a shrug-worthy explanation of his origins at the end, that Beyond falls down, as Cage and co. relegate their most interesting character and potential gameplay opportunity to being a mere plot device, robbing the story of any intrigue and us of any chance to make an impact.
Here, let my absurdly fuzzy face explain in more detail...