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By otakuman5000 On 16 Oct, 2013 At 11:52 PM | Categorized As PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized | With 2 Comments

No GravatarQuantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophecy, take a baseball bat to our hearts and grand slams it out of the park. Beyond: Two Souls is a PS3 exclusive starring Ellen Page, who plays Jodie that has a cursed gift of thanks to her supernatural friend Aiden, and Willem Dafoe, a scientist who specializes in the paranormal. With a game that is jam-packed with emotion, stories, ominous soundtrack, and the perfectly placed thrills, it’s easy to understand why
we’re all hooked on it.

Jodie (Ellen Page) and Nathan (William Dafoe) running through an experiment.

Jodie (Ellen Page) and Nathan (Willem Dafoe) running through an experiment.

Quantic Dream is well known for their incredibly accurate graphics, which makes this game all the more personal. Every pore, snowflake, and texture in fabric is discernible, and quite frankly, it’s really gorgeous to watch. Despite its greatness that myself and my peers rate it, others have their gripes. Although it has the classic Quantic Dream feel and controls, it’s nothing like you’ve ever played before.

A few facts need to be straightened out: Beyond is not a video game, and for those who have played it will understand what that means. This is more of an interactive movie. Here are a few key features to note:

You can’t decide your fate. Yes, QD has taken away the ability to have this game end alternate ways. However, the game leads you to believe that it does due to the amount of options you have with what and who you interact with. You can choose what to wear, what to cook, what to say, etc. There are certain scenes where bad things happen, and you have the choice to take revenge or walk away.

Linear… well… a lot of things. This one is a double-edged feature. This is an interactive movie, after all; the ending will end the way the creators designed it. The sequence of certain scenes will unravel in the same way. When you have control over Jodie or Aiden or any other character, it doesn’t matter what you choose or what you say. That’s also the game’s biggest issue. All that aside, the game makes up for it in many other ways.

Whiplash. Even though the game has so much charm (honestly, it does), it does leave you feeling a bit dazed because it’s not told in chronological order. Jodie tells you this in the beginning, so at least we had fair warning. However, once you finish the game, you can play it in chapter order which will then help you rearrange your thoughts and the story. Maybe you’ll decide a different choice, anywhere ranging from getting revenge to what to wear for your date.

Homeless, hungry, and cold Jodi during her homeless years.

Homeless, hungry, and cold Jodi during her homeless years.

Likable characters. The characters you interact with, I feel, are perfectly executed. Page and Dafoe aside (because honestly, they could never do any wrong), the other main characters each have their own personality, and you see many different sides of them, even if it’s a character you interact with for one chapter. Jodie has just the right amount of sarcasm, wit, charm, and bad-assery that makes her a great lead role. Dafoe woos you with his sincerity and a shocking lack of ulterior motives, which you would expect when dealing with a girl like Jodie.

A great story. While Beyond is practically like Insidious, except without the focus on horror, the game is original. You have a girl whose powers are almost limitless, and somehow Quantic Dream creates a game that is all-encompassing fun, thrills, somewhat comedic, tragic and emotional, and action-packed. The perfectly placed thrills are what makes the game, in my opinion. When you’re dealing with the supernatural, you typically end up with a horror movie, or a comedy like Ghostbusters. If it’s neither one of them, it’ll probably be a flop. Not this time; Quantic Dream really knows what they’re doing.

Overall… It’s a great game and a must play.

Every game has it’s good and bad qualities (except for The Last of Us, which was pure perfection, in this reviewer’s opinion), and gamers will definitely feel hooked and connected to each character on a deep level. You’ll choke, you’ll giggle, you’ll feel content, you’ll be bored sometimes, and you’ll even take a deep breath during the more scary moments; Quantic Dream will cater to all the feels.

By otakuman5000 On 3 Jul, 2012 At 05:29 AM | Categorized As Reviews | With 2 Comments

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Inception is like no other film you’ve ever experienced. Sure, we’ve all seen our fair share of alternate realities in film before – The Matrix obviously comes to mind – but what Christopher Nolan has created here is a film which crosses a courageous line only few filmmakers would ever attempt. With films such as Memento (2000), and his grand re-imagining of Batman, we know Nolan’s not afraid to do just that.

Speaking of Memento, it’s said that Nolan began writing Inception‘s screenplay during the filming of it. A decade-long writing job for any film would seem like overkill, but when it comes to this film, it’s not necessarily crazy, once you think about it. The amount of work creating the multi-layered story, especially writing it in such a way as to make it understandable to the viewer, would have been a very daunting task. Luckily, we have plot points and characters holding our hands throughout the story’s progression, but without making it feel annoyingly obvious.

Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled extractor, someone who goes into the manipulated dreams of others to extract ideas, secrets, information, whatever it is he needs from his target. The ability to do this comes from the Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous (PASIV) Device, an extraordinary machine with injectors you attach to your arm, placing you in the dream world almost instantly. While in the dream, his mission is to acquire what he needs and get out. However, it’s not so simple because there are some rules and risks to adhere to and be aware of.

After a failed mission, Cobb receives an offer quite like in The Godfather: an offer he can’t refuse, consisting of the chance to, upon completion, go home to his children whom he hasn’t seen in some time. It’s no surprise that this mission (a “Mission: Impossible” of sorts) isn’t going to be so easy… He must plant an idea in a man’s head causing him to wake up from the dream a changed man. Although this may not sound difficult, the film explains it all quite clearly, and that is where the title of the film comes in.

He’ll need help along the way, so he assembles a team of very talented people. Among them are Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a trusty longtime partner; Eames (Tom Hardy), a skilled manipulator; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), an excellent chemist; and a newcomer, Ariadne (Ellen Page), a brilliant young architect recommended by Cobb’s intelligent father-in-law, Miles (Michael Caine), who introduces him to Ariadne and her talents.

I could actually tell you the entirety of Inception‘s story and, even then, you wouldn’t be spoiled. In this film, there are no real plot points, no twists, that someone could ruin for the viewer. For the most part, knowing anything before seeing the film unravel for itself brings you no further to knowing what is actually going on without seeing it first, and describing Inception isn’t exactly an easy thing to do… Seeing it is the only thing that matters, and the only true way to know what it’s all about.

The acting in the film, as a whole, is very well done. As with Page, I’ve personally never seen DiCaprio do a questionable acting job in any film, and Inception continues that tradition… the rest of his team is no different. The demand for top-notch drama isn’t here, but it doesn’t need to be. Some drama elements are included, though, highlighting the story of Cobb and his ex-wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), who is a much more important character in the film than simply being a partner presence or love interest.

When it comes to the action sequences, you can tell they’re very “Nolan” – by that I mean extremely well executed, even if the scenes may sometimes seem reminiscent, on the surface, of others we’ve seen before. (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was quite the same.) What makes these scenes different, however, is the emotional weight to them. You care more for the characters involved rather than thinking of their inclusion being exploited for a body count, or just characters to fill in the film. There are also several excellent scenes involving changes in gravity and rotation to be remembered, for sure – these scenes are quite intriguing to say the least.

The films of today usually consist of many recycled elements from other films, and we’re often bombarded by sequels, prequels, re-imaginations, and reboots. While there are a few similarities you may notice between this film and others like it, Inception remains a remarkable piece of film-making that is intelligent, thought-provoking, and still highly original. As with any film, some of what is in Inception may be a little less impressive as years come and go, but the story, intelligent layers, and creativity will surely never be forgotten. Nolan has impressed me several times before, but even his epic-action powerhouse, The Dark Knight, may have been dethroned by this film (and this is coming from an avid Batman fan).

One of the best things a filmmaker can do is make an excellent film knowing only they could have pulled it off so masterfully. (I can only assume Kubrick would agree.) What Nolan has done with Inception is made something that has never quite been done before, and at the same time, a film that may never be attempted again. The roadmap to this film is lost in a dream, and that is a great thing, indeed.

Mike’s rating score: 10/10
Mike’s liking score: 09/10

NOTES:
Inception won four 2011 Academy Awards: Best Achievement in Cinematography; Best Achievement in Visual Effects; Best Achievement in Sound Editing; and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. It was also nominated for another four: Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Best Achievement in Art Direction; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score; and Best Motion Picture of the Year.
Inception won the AFI Movie of the Year award (2010).