Hands-on with Beyond: Two Souls

At this year’s E3, Gamer Living got some hands-on time with some of the upcoming games hitting the PlayStation 3 in 2013, including Beyond: Two Souls, brought to you by Quantic Dream (known previously for such titles as Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain).  Let’s take a brief look at what you can expect with Beyond: Two Souls.

Beyond - Two Souls

Set to launch October 8, 2013, this game centers on Jodie Holmes and the entity inside of her, Aiden.  The game will take players through Jodie’s life, from eight-years-old all the way to her twenty-third year.  Players will be able to see her develop through her depression, her training, and even the relationship between herself and Aiden.  This emotionally compelling thrill ride has hours of entertainment for its users and is sure to be remembered as one of this generation’s classics.

Fight scenes in Beyond: Two Souls are mainly reactionary, utilizing all the PlayStation buttons in unique ways via screen prompts.  When you are dodging attacks, you will move in the direction you wish to avoid the impact.  There are also button prompts on the screen at key times (like X flashing, telling you that you have to rapidly press X to get out of a hold, or pry something open), and if you fail too many times you will end up dying.  Thankfully, you can also control Aiden when you need to by pressing the triangle button, or when the storyline actually forces you to play as him.  The contextual controls may irritate some people as these are used throughout most of the game, and if you weren’t a fan of Heavy Rain, this game may not be for you.

Beyond - Two SoulsWhen you become Aiden, you may have to either possess an enemy or kill them outright to assist Jodie.  For example, when I was playing as Jodie, I got caught on a path with multiple guards patrolling it.  Aiden came to the rescue, and the game literally pulled me out of Jodie’s body, creating a fuzzy, dream-like image in first-person view, with a thin translucent tether to Jodie.  As Aiden, you can move around a certain distance, and you’ll see a coloured dot on other human beings.  When I moved toward an enemy, it gave me the option to hold L1 and turn the analog sticks inward to choke him to death.  Later, I possessed a guard by holding L1 and turning the analog sticks outward.  Furthermore, players can easily switch back and forth between Jodie and Aiden by pressing the triangle button.

Throughout Beyond: Two Souls, you’ll feel as if you’re watching and controlling a cinematic, as the game itself tries to convince you (through these transitions) that you really are Jodie by being so subtle and realistic in its changes from cutscene to in-game play.  In the particular scene I played, Jodie was accompanied by a little boy carrying a machine gun, covered in dirt and dust from the dessert surroundings, hiding behind some rubble and trying to sneak around armed guards that were patrolling the area for them. The facial expressions and graphic quality are meant to be as advanced and realistic as possible, and while controlling Aiden can sometimes be a little sluggish, the action scenes involving Jodie or Aiden (once he has unleashed his powers of possession) are brilliant and almost seamless. While the game still has that typical CG feel that we haven’t quite been able to pull ourselves out of during in-game playthroughs, it is realistic enough that you can lose yourself in it and forget you’re playing a video game.

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What really interests me is that Ellen Page lends her voice to Jodie, while Willem Dafoe plays Nathan Dawkins (a government scientist and surrogate father to Jodie). Both actors are compelling enough to really drive a storyline home, and I can’t wait to see and hear how they interact with one another in the game.  Get your pre-orders ready folks, because one way or another, in October, Beyond: Two Souls is going to be the game that everybody is talking about!

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June 18, 2013 - 12:30 pm

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