[Preview] Beyond Two Souls: More choice, less monkey business.

1

Put the gun down Tex, it’s not that kind of game.

In a market where the militant FPS dominates, will Beyond break the mold and deliver unparalleled emotionally driven gameplay or fall as flat as Metal Gear Solid 4?

Quantic Dream are bringing another game to the table that promises to be emotionally investing and one that will keep you thinking once you’ve turned the console off. A psychological thriller that follows Jodie for a period of 15 years, between the ages 8 and 23, and a supernatural entity known as Aiden.

2

Aiden: The not so PG friendly ghost

Throughout the game you’ll be controlling Jodie, intermittently utilising Aiden to overcome obstacles. With Aiden you’ll be able to scout ahead, spy on people, interact with objects and possess some NPCs. Aiden is able to move through any solid matter, lacking any corporeal form, but also has the power of telekinesis, making him one badass poltergeist.

I am a little concerned with how this game will be balanced with such a powerful entity at our whim, but it remains to be seen how this game will challenge us, especially with such focus on story.

3

This piercing craze has gone too far.

Beyond Two Souls has taken an innovative step forward, using its star studded cast (Ellen Page and Willem Defoe) and motion capture technology in order to create the most authentic human experience. Putting Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 3 to shame, Quantic Dream has captured facial expressions and actions simultaneously, and in trailers this seems to translate into convincing characters on screen. Ellen and her co-stars acted out every multiple choice option for this 10-12 hour long game. That’s an immense amount of recording.

 4

The facial detailing here is so magnificent that it’s sickening.

Just like The Last of Us managed to get its claws into us emotionally, Beyond Two Souls will be pulling out all the stops in order to bring us more than just another mindless point-and-shoot kind of game.

With a script over 2000 pages long you better bloody hope for some tear jerking moments and a great range of options to explore. According to David Cage, (Beyond Two Souls’ director and writer),  the game will be driven by the player’s actions and choices, with a multitude of outcomes, and consequences you must deal with.  Those that have played Heavy Rain will be familiar with this element of player choice. I have a feeling this game will have a great replay value. For those amongst you who like to explore all possible routes to a conclusion, yes you Silent Hill fans out there, I’m looking at you, this game will be another great way to sate your hunger for something more.

5

There’s nothing that pisses me off more than quick time events. They had their place. Back with Tifa’s limit break.  QTE’s can ruin the flow of a game, which in turn can remove me from any immersion that I might have been enjoying. However, when QTE’s are delivered effectively, they keep you on your toes and really help create interesting intervals in your gaming style.

Not having gotten my grubby mitts on the game yet, one can only speculate, but via the various demos that have been shown over the course of the year this game is certainly managing to integrate gameplay with storyline driven sequences. And even the QTE’s don’t look so bad, in the more dire of situations, you must follow a direction of action without any on screen prompts, making you seem less of a test-monkey and more of an intuitive player.

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Test monkey bash buttons. More choice, less monkey business.

I am incredibly excited for the release of Beyond, because it will be pushing the boundaries in terms of what video games can do, both technologically and in terms of player interaction. I can only hope it will be as emotionally engaging as Heavy Rain and expand on player interactivity in a story heavy game.

 

As thought provoking as it is beautiful to look at.
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