The record-breaking sales of Grand Theft Auto V last month proved it: Video games can be as big as blockbuster movies. Grand Theft Auto V broke nearly every entertainment record, surpassing movies like Avatar and Titanicthe two highest growing films of all time — combined.

This past Tuesday, video game developer Quantic Dream released Beyond: Two Souls starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe for PlayStation 3. It’s a cinematic and emotional experience that plays out much like a movie, but a movie where you can chose how to react or interact with the environment and characters.

As you can see from the photo, Page isn’t just lending her voice to a character. Each scene was recorded using performance capture technology, making for incredibly life-life movement, and accounts for some of the most realistic acting in a video game that I’ve ever seen. Page plays Jodie Holmes, a very special girl who is connected to an entity named Aiden who has incredible powers. Decidedly more high-brow than Grand Theft Auto V, Beyond: Two Souls shows a new direction in video games. Director-writer David Cage creates an adventure that isn’t based on violence or racking up meaningless points, but rather a cinematic story that spans over 15 years of Jodie’s life, in which she crosses the globe to discover the truth about who she really is. The story behind the game is told non-chronologically, in which you see Jodie throughout many periods in her life. The player gets to do such a wide variety of things in this game — from trying to outrun the police on a motorcycle to choosing a dress for a date — but the bond between her and Aiden is what makes the gameplay unique. The player is able to switch back and forth between Jodie and Aiden to complete tasks and solve puzzles. If you aren’t much of a video game player, Beyond: Two Souls makes the controls easy, and making a wrong choice in the game doesn’t penalize you; instead, the story will evolve as you continue forward, no matter the choices you make.

Seeing Page’s impressive performance in this game makes me hope that more stars will want to bring their big screen talent to my video game console.

Plus, see Ellen Page’s and other stars who have shaved their heads for roles.

See the Photos

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–Alex Reside

beyond-two-soulsCourtesy Photo
beyond-two-soulsCourtesy Photo