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Beyond Two Souls Hands-On Preview

/ Sep 5th, 2013 No Comments

Beyond Two Souls

In 2010, a little heard of developer called Quantic Dream released a game that created a new gaming genre. Heavy Rain became the first true cinematic gaming experience and was the first title to fully realize the potential of video games as playable movies. Quantic Dream’s newest title, Beyond Two Souls, seeks to further enhance cinematic gaming and create an even more immersive experience. From what we saw during a hands-on demo at the GameStop Expo, it just might succeed.

Beyond Two Souls spans 15 years in the life of Jodie Holmes (played by Ellen Page). Jodie is a uniquely gifted individual possessed with special abilities due to her link with a supernatural entity named Aiden. Aiden is tied to Jodie through a sort of spiritual umbilical cord which enables her to communicate with him and utilize his spiritual abilities. Nathan Dawkins (played by Willem Dafoe) is a government scientist who begins testing the limits of Jodie’s abilities at the age of eight and becomes a father figure to her.

An interview with Dafoe screened at the Sony booth during the GameStop Expo suggests that Nathan, through his relationship with Jodie, rises through the ranks of government and exploits her abilities for personal gain. Little else is known about the plot of Beyond Two Souls. Footage screened at the Expo shows Jodie with a small group of homeless people who she helps to escape from a fire. After escaping the fire, Jodie is attacked by a group of men who set the fire to draw her out and is seemingly killed after being hit repeatedly by one of the men with a baseball bat.

Prior to the Beyond Two Souls screening, a representative for the game stated that the goal of the developers was to give the gamer more control during gameplay. Quantic Dream sought to make the interface much smoother between the gamer and the protagonist and to further involve the gamer in the storyline by allowing them more movement and choices throughout the game. The developer told viewers at the screening that there are 23 possible endings to the game.
 

Jodie's world from Aiden's perspective

Jodie’s world from Aiden’s perspective

In the first playable scene shown at the GameStop Expo, the gamer is an 8-year-old Jodie in a government facility. After making her way to a testing room, Jodie is told that Kathleen, a participant in that day’s experiment, has a series of cards with symbols on them and is asked to identify each card. At this point, the player must perform a one button switch to Aiden’s perspective and float through the wall to the room Kathleen is in. After identifying each card correctly, the player as Aiden starts to misbehave. Upon identifying an object Aiden can interact with the player can select the object and a set of three glowing orbs will appear along with a tutorial image of how to manipulate that object. Both joysticks must be used to manipulate an object with the pattern of the orbs indicating the necessary movement of the joysticks. After throwing a supernatural tantrum and strangling Kathleen, Jodie tells Nathan that she cannot control Aiden despite her ability to communicate with him.

The next scene focuses on Jodie as a young adult undergoing fight training after joining the CIA. In a CIA gym, the player is shown how to make Jodie duck, punch and kick while Jodie is taught some essential combat moves. The last scene features Jodie on a train being chased by unknown men as she struggles to evade them and escape.

Quantic Dream has a tremendous talent for pulling the player deep into the story and pushing them out an emotional mess. Strangling Kathleen in the demo was deeply disturbing. She lives in the end but players get a good look at what life would be like supernaturally bound to an entity with abilities and a mind of its own. If just the demo for a game can have such a staggering capacity to evoke complex emotions, one can only imagine what the full game has to offer.

Beyond Two Souls is scheduled to release Oct. 8 and will be a PlayStation 3 exclusive. The Tribeca Trailer for the game can be viewed below.

  

Alexandra Mangen
Alex is a nerd who "loves loves loves" gaming. She's a huge FPS gamer but also dabbles in RPGs and MMOs. If it's entertaining and well designed, she's game.
Alexandra Mangen
Alexandra Mangen
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