Quantic Dream captivated PlayStation 3 owners with its cinematic adventure Heavy Rain. Now the developer seeks to bring this expertise to its newest project, Beyond: Two Souls. With an attention-grabbing plot, realistic-looking characters and ghostly possession mechanics, this highly anticipated effort should provide another reason to own Sony’s console, even with PlayStation 4 on the horizon.
Beyond casts players as Jodie Holmes, played by Oscar nominee Ellen Page, a young woman who comes in contact with a strange entity called Aiden. Featuring a non-chronological narrative, the game takes you through 15 years of Jodie’s life as she goes from innocent girl to CIA-trained killing machine.
In a recent demo, the CIA sends Jodie to Somalia to track down and kill a target named Jamal. Although Jodie possesses the martial arts moves and weapons to get the job done, she’ll need Aiden’s help to complete the mission.
As it turns out, players can control both Jodie and her ghostly friend, switching between the two with a simple button press. With Jodie behind cover, Aiden floats a certain distance away, passing through doors/walls, causing ladders to drop from the ceiling and most importantly, messing with enemies.
Aiden not only slaughters bad guys by choking these people, but it can also possess non-player characters. In one example, it took over someone’s body and forced this person to kill his compatriots. In yet another, a possessed guy got behind the wheel of a truck and smashed through a barricade with Jodie in tow. Such power also proved useful in eliminating the aforementioned target, as the machine gun-carrying soldier assassinated his friends without Jodie pulling the trigger.
As we mentioned, Aiden can only travel a certain distance away from Jodie, which introduces a puzzle mechanic of sorts to the gameplay. Not only will you need to figure out the best ways to tackle a situation, but also how to get Jodie within range without being seen.
That doesn’t mean she never gets her hands dirty. On the contrary, Jodie winds up in dangerous situations that force her to fight back, but not in a way players expect. Instead of mashing buttons, players will anticipate enemy movements and respond accordingly by tilting the right analog stick. If, for example, someone tries to hit Jodie at her legs, the player will tilt up to jump. A machete slice across the body, meanwhile, may require tilting right to move her away.
In addition, scenarios don’t necessarily play out the same exact way. In fact, there are multiple ways to go about things and complete a mission. In many cases, Quantic Dream doesn’t penalize the player. Instead, situations get resolved in different ways, inspiring people to play through Beyond multiple times.
From what we’ve seen, the studio nailed Ellen Page’s appearance and mannerisms. Thankfully, there’s more Hollywood talent in the form of Willem Dafoe, who plays scientist Nathan Dawkins. This star power should put Beyond well above most games in terms of voice acting and movie-like quality.
On that note, we look forward to playing the final version when the game debuts October 8.