Preview: Beyond: Two Souls
FYI, this story is more than a year old
Beyond: Two Souls is the intriguing new game from the visionary creator of Heavy Rain David Cage.
Although Beyond: Two Souls shares some similarities with Heavy Rain in terms of its gameplay, the story and characters will be totally different.
I had a chance to play two levels from the game and I have to say, the game is shaping up to be one of the most unique games I’ve played so far in 2013.
The preview I played did not share too many details about the game’s story, but there is an interesting supernatural element to Beyond: Two Souls that separate it from other story-driven video games like Heavy Rain or The Last of Us.
This is mainly because Jodie Holmes (brilliantly played by Ellen Page) is accompanied by a ghost called “Aiden”. Aiden is playable at any time simply by pressing the triangle button.
If you see Jodie is in trouble and is in need of any assistance, you can float around from a first person perspective as Aiden to help her out.
The first level I played is when Jodie is in Somalia where she accompanies a small boy named Salim. I wasn’t sure where this part of the game fits into the storyline, but it appears Jodie is already efficient at combat as she can shoot guns and take out enemies whenever she pleases.
Whenever Jodie is pinned down and is getting overwhelmed with bullets, you can switch to Aiden to assist her. You won’t be able to float around the entire level because Aiden will still need to be in close proximity of Jodie at all times. Not to mention Aiden cannot go out and kill everyone he pleases either.
While you are playing as Aiden, small little dots appear on the screen that tells you who and what Aiden can interact with.
This may include a soldier for Aiden to strangle, to even a ladder place in position so Jodie can escape. One of my favorite things that Aiden can do is take control of a human being and take over their body.
When you take over someone’s body, you’ll be able to walk around while the other guards won’t take any notice. This can be helpful when Jodie needs a specific door to be opened or whenever she needs to get rid of a bunch of soldiers.
In either case, it’s a feature of the game that I loved the most and is what will make this game more fun to play than other narrative heavy video games.
The other level I got to play was one called “Hunted”. I’m unsure right now of the storyline details, but this level sees Jodie as a fugitive as she will have to run from the cops. This level opens in a humorous way because you control Aiden and your goal is to wake up Jodie any way you can.
I remember chucking water and a heavy bag on top of her. After that moment though, Jodie has to wake up and escape through the forest to avoid the authorities. I don’t want to spoil the gameplay too much, but I must say that it’s action-packed and exciting.
One thing I do want to point out is that there are several gameplay similarities between Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain. Although the gameplay mechanics in Beyond: Two Souls feels more fluid and responsive in Heavy Rain, it is still categorised as an “interactive drama” more than a traditional video game.
What I mean by this is that it’s a game with lots of button prompts while you watch the action unfold. It’s kind of like watching a TV drama, only that you can interact with it at certain points.
If you didn’t like style of gameplay Heavy Rain had, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to adapt to the style of Beyond: Two Souls either. It’s also worth mentioning that some of the button prompts are exactly the same as those seen in Heavy Rain as well.
Visually however, Beyond: Two Souls is a huge improvement over Heavy Rain and is graphically on par with The Last of Us in my opinion. The character models are so life-like and the environments are heavy in detail as well.
All of the characters in the game are motion-captured by real actors and nothing in the game looks or feels unrealistic.
I only had a chance to play the game for 60 minutes, but I left with a smile on my face. Much like The Last of Us featured a gripping story and powerful characters, I feel that Beyond: Two Souls will also have that same type connection with players as well.
I did not have a chance to experiment with the many different scenarios featured in the game, but there are many.
I was told the script for the game was very long because the writers wrote lots of different scenarios depending on the decisions that the player makes during the game.
If you loved the many different outcomes that were in Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls will also feature lots of replay value.