The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
I think of David Cage as an auteur, a distinction that would no doubt please him. His studio, Quantic Dream, makes games unlike any other in the industry, doubling down on quicktime button-press events and advanced graphics technology to create digital stories that are at once startlingly lifelike and completely surreal. He’s nothing if not distinctive.Cage fancies that he’s bringing true emotion into games, and – to an extent – he’s right. His bizarre serial-killer noir Heavy Rain was weighted down with themes of parental love and loss. These carry over to Beyond: Two Souls, a game that tells the convoluted tale of Jodie, a girl linked to the afterworld through her connection to an omniscient dead soul named Aiden.In a story told through out-of-sequence chapters, we see Jodie grow from a small child with mysterious powers to a lonely teen adopted and held captive by researcher Nathan Hawkins (played by Willem Dafoe). Later, she puts her abilities to use as a CIA operative.Though I like his work, it’s worth noting that Cage, for all his cinematic ambitions, isn’t much of a writer. He just doesn’t have a feel for realistic dialogue; conversations often come off stilted and awkward. He also has a flair for melodrama that lends his games an artificial, overwrought quality. However, it’s less of an issue in Beyond, due to excellent performances by Page, Dafoe, and former A Different World star Kadeem Hardison. They are seasoned actors, and it shows. Page isn’t afraid to underplay a scene – a virtue in a game as overblown as Beyond.