Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Beyond: Two Souls by Lorne Balfe (Review)

posted Sep 30, 2013, 4:19 PM by Kaya Savas
*Cover Art is not official and was made as a placeholder till the
official cover is released.

As the Balfe train keeps on chugging we get to experience Lorne grow as a composer. I’ve heard him grow into his own style since he started out with Hans Zimmer. You could tell he was able to focus his music greatly on grand emotions and score something of substance even if the music was for chaotic action. Beyond: Two Souls is an extraordinary project as well as an extraordinary score. If there was ever a statement score from Lorne I would say this is it. Beyond: Two Souls is a video game from director David Cage and developer Quantic Dream. They gave us Heavy Rain for the PS3, which was a revolutionary game when it came to narrative structure and interactivity. Beyond: Two Souls looks to push what games can offer once again by casting top Hollywood stars in the main roles to completely dissolve the terms “movie” and “game”. This is a story, and it’s one that the audience interacts in to experience first hand. Lorne’s score is an immense part of this experience.

This is not your typical video game score. This is music telling a structured story that immerses the audience in the emotional and physical journey. After setting us up with some incredibly powerful character suites we dive into the central narrative. What follows is a very lush and mysterious journey. The story is a complex one to grasp, but the score simplifies it. This is a journey towards freedom and towards gaining control over your life. Jodie is a character who is surrounded by something protecting her, some entity. It looks after her, but also gets in the way of her life. When people see her gift and try to use it for their own personal agendas is where the external conflict comes from. The score is riveting in that it gives us action, drama, quiet moments and everything you’d expect from an emotional story like this one. You can feel the frustration, the sadness and the yearning of Jodie’s character through the music. It makes it very easy to be captivated by the story and relate to the struggle. There are moments of beauty and swelling emotions that work with the suspenseful action tracks to create an immersive score that carries the listener. The ending does have a culmination point where we reach the conclusion of Jodie’s story, and Balfe does an amazing job using her theme to do that. This score is indeed special, and one that really puts Lorne’s emotional sensibilities as a storyteller on display.

Beyond: Two Souls is a thematically strong personal journey. The character of Jodie is reflected so strongly in this music that one could say that Lorne’s music is the entity that surrounds her on her journey. The idea to embody this supernatural entity musically works really well, and it still externalizes Jodie’s inner personal struggle. All this makes Beyond: Two Souls a remarkable achievement in storytelling and game scoring.