Flying Beyond Gaming Tradition
Beyond: Two Souls is a game without a genre. No matter how hard one attempts to categorize it, it stubbornly defies explanation: the closest approximation I can give is that it's got a lot in common with Quantic Dream's previous title, Heavy Rain. Fans of the previous game will find a familiar interface coupled with a similar focus on an open narrative; one which evolves based entirely on player choice.
Even that doesn't seem an entirely adequate description.
See, Beyond: Two Souls sprinkles in a healthy dose of the supernatural, through main character Jodie Holmes (Ellen Page) and her spiritual protector: a mysterious entity by the name of Aiden. The spirit, which for unknown reasons is tethered to Jodie (and quite protective of her, to boot); plays a central role in gameplay, and controls will switch regularly between the two.
Naturally, the game will be rather different depending on who you're controlling. With Jodie, the more familiar, Heavy Rain-esque control scheme will take center stage, while Aiden will utilize SIXAXIS to fly around, investigating (and messing with) Jodie's surroundings. From what we've seen of Beyond: Two Souls thus far, the spirit has some terrifying power on its side: it goes from playfully messing with coffee cups and flinging around newspapers to full-on possession and energy shields.
Aiden, in other words, is a little more than some disembodied spirit: it has a tangible presence and a personality. It's also downright terrifying: chances are pretty good that people around Jodie can 'feel' it there, even if they can't actually see it, particularly when it starts blowing things up.
Of course, Quantic Dream's Guillaume de Fondaumiere has implied that what we've seen so far only scratches the surface of Beyond: Two Souls. After all, most of the demos and gameplay previews we've been given all feature Jodie as an adult and comprise less than a chapter of her story. The game itself will take place over fifteen years of Jodie's life; following her through childhood into adulthood, all while she's pursued by a number of antagonists for reasons no one quite understands. Naturally, choices the player makes early on will have a market impact on her later years.
There's been something of a creative drain in AAA gaming of late. Aside from a few noteworthy entries (The Walking Dead comes to mind), most titles have, by and large, been cut from the same cloth. It's incredibly refreshing - not to mention exciting - to see Quantic Dream attempting something so unique with Beyond: Two Souls... so different from what we're used to seeing.
After Heavy Rain, I expected no less.
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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