Beyond: Two Souls
A couple months ago Quantic Dream released 35 minutes of gameplay video for Beyond: Two Souls. The extended look shows a homeless Jodie, played by Ellen Page, surviving on the streets. More recently, Sony gave us a look at a very different part of her life. During my hands-on time Jodie uses her supernatural abilities as a CIA agent to outwit enemy forces in a developing nation.
At the beginning of the demo Jodie has befriended a young boy from the village that’s home to the violent insurgents. This child somehow helped her through an earlier part of her mission. They part ways with a sincere, sad hug before she returns focus to her assassination mission.
Guiding Jodie through the arid streets and shanties takes some getting used to. One analog stick controls her movements, and the other controls her actions. For example, players push an analog stick toward a gun if they want to pick it up. The control scheme changes when Jodie taps her spirit ally to possess the people around her. Controlling the ghost feels like guiding a free-floating camera through the game world in first person. NPCs glow with colored auras indicating whether they can be possessed or not.
In one instance Jodie uses her ethereal partner to possess an enemy general’s henchman. The camera shifts back into third person as I begin controlling the guard. I guide the armed foe into the same room as his superior and watch the ensuing carnage.
Jodie enters the scene of the bloodbath to confirm the kill. A few beats later the boy from earlier enters the room, and the two share a straining, emotional moment as Jodie realizes she’s indirectly murdered his father. I guide Jodie towards the boy as he weeps over his father’s corpse and attempt to console him. He pulls a gun on me, which clicks dry. It’s a heavy moment in a game bound to be packed with them.
The demo concludes with a hairy escape from the warzone. Enemies close in from every corner, a helicopter’s arrival stretches on for an eternity, and Jodie considers a grim alternate exit.
My time with Beyond: Two Souls was brief, but it triggered my excitement for Quantic Dream’s gripping storytelling. Heavy Rain captivated me so completely that I had to finish the game in one sitting. Moments like the one detailed above make me think Beyond: Two Souls will grab me the same way. It arrives on PlayStation 3 on October 8.