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Video game review: Ellen Page elevates 'Beyond: Two Souls'

Quantic Dream writer/director David Cage creates richly cinematic adventure games that aspire to tell emotionally powerful stories. He’s been trying to perfect his own brand of interactive storytelling for nearly a decade, with decidedly mixed results. His games all have a similar feel, eschewing traditional control schemes for timed button presses and dialogue options, leaving the player free to focus on the narrative. Players have a large amount of choice, with their decisions greatly affecting the direction of the story. The problem is, I’ve never felt like he’s had particularly interesting stories to tell.

His 2005 game Indigo Prophecy starts with an intriguing murder mystery but devolves into an incomprehensible supernatural mess. 2010’s Heavy Rain, for all its graphical prowess and unique gameplay situations (how many games have you pressing buttons to change a baby’s diaper?), was rife with gaping plot holes and featured such terribly awkward voice acting that it spawned an Internet meme. Cage’s latest effort, Beyond: Two Souls on PlayStation 3, still doesn’t have a particularly great story to tell, but thanks to a fully realized motion-capture performance by Juno and Inception actress Ellen Page, it’s an engaging one that is well worth experiencing.

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