David Cage is a polarizing figure. Depending on who'd you ask, he's either a hack who couldn't make into the movie industry or a pioneer of the storytelling medium. Personally, I'm ambivalent towards Mr. Cage. I find his ideas to be sound in theory but their execution almost always falls flat.
Take, for example, Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy. The opening sequence is quite possibly the greatest story-hook in the videogaming medium. You have just regained conciousness after brutally killing someone. Do you make a run for it? Do you calmly sit down and then leave? Do you meticilosuly clean after yourself before paying heed to tip the waitress? What. Do. you. Do?
Then, of course, The Orange Clan and The Purple Clan happened and proverbial excrement hit the actual rotary.
Cage is a good source of ideas. He probably goes around all day and blurts out random things like "A game where you play as a serial killer!" or "A game where you play a dad trying to save his son." They're all sound ideas in the conception stage, but let David actually hammer out the details and it all falls apart in the third act. There lies an interesting parallel to George Lucas. Both are dreamers capable of blurting out enticing ideas in one sentence but are in need of realists to work out the chinks in the plot, otherwise we end up bending backwards to fill in the plot-holes.
Anyway, Beyond: Two Souls, is the latest Cinematic Experience from David Cage. I say 'Cinematic Experience' because, truly, that is the only way to describe. They are not games, there is no particular 'Goal' for you to accomplish. Can a book be described as a game? No, your job is to merely flip the pages till you reach the conclusion, your skill being entirely superflous to the whole experience. This is why Cage's games are not 'Games', your skill and abilities are not needed. The story goes on regardless of your actions. Just sit back and shut up, you're in it for the ride.
Beyond: Two Souls stars Ellen Paige as Jodie Holmes, a girl mysteriously linked to an entity named 'Aiden'. Jodie begins the game being hunted by the government and the narrative takes you through various stages of her life to uncover her mysterious past and discover Aiden's nature.
Here is my problem with the narrative. The story itself is servicble but the narrative is disjointed. Rather than going to the beginning of Jodie's life and watch her grow up, you are instead sent to various points of her life without a logical segway. For example, one stage has you taking Jodie to a birthday party and the one after that sends you to Somalia for a secret mission. There is no 'Oh, this cake reminds me of that one birthday party I went to so I'd better flashback' hook, the story just jumps to a random part of her life in no particular order. (Note: There is a reason for the time jumps but I found it weak.)
The back cover claims that we're going to journey with Jodie through her life and I thought that meant watching her grow up and become attached to her. In that regard, the game failed. This is a stranger whom I've already seen the end of her story and I already know my actions do not matter from the get-go. I didn't bother making Jodie kiss a boy because I know she'll never see him again. I've known people who couldn't let go of Shepard having known him/her for three games and yet, with Jodie, I was never able to emotionally connect.
In conclusion, this is the shallowest of David Cage's projects. The story has zero tension, preditcable plot-twists and laughable stakes compared to his previous iterations yet, in an odd twist of fate, is the tightest experience yet.
Should you buy this game? It's not exactly a $60 worthy experience. Should you rent it? Definitely.