Developer Quantic Dream attempts to bridge the gap between film and game with every game they make. Heavy Rain became a smash hit because of the intricate murder story, the innovative gameplay, and the convincing performances from the voice and mo-cap actors. The experience felt more like an interactive thriller than a videogame. So it comes as no surprise the next game from Quantic Dream bridges the gap even further. Enter, Beyond: Two Souls.
Beyond Two Souls follows the story of Jodie Holmes, a young woman that has a spiritual protector called Aiden, whom only she can communicate. Gameplay focuses on the interplay between Jodie and Aiden and how Aiden can manipulate the world in order to protect Jodie. The demo starts with Jodie as a young girl in a government research facility undergoing experiments to gauge her power. This opening scenario introduces players to how Jodie interacts with the world and how she interacts with Aiden. Beyond: Two Souls gameplay does not stray far from the successful Heavy Rain formula. Input prompts appear on the screen and players have X amount of time to complete the action. The mechanic takes some time to acclimate to but once achieved, the game plays very smoothly.
After the disastrous experiment, the demo fast-forwards a few years and Jodie is training with CIA instructors and this is where the fight mechanics receive their introduction. Simple enough right stick movements in response to the direction the attack is coming. Easy to understand, difficult to master.
Once the mechanic is introduced, the demo fast-forwards again to a time where Jodie is on the run and the police are after her. This roughly 20-25 minute stretch of the game shows the true potential of the experience. Like Heavy Rain, there is no game over screen. You keep playing even if any given encounter goes sideways for Jodie. The story adjusts to how well or how poorly you guide Jodie through the game, so each play through could be as different as night and day depending on the choices made. The chase from the train and into the woods is a truly thrilling experience. Its after Jodie makes her escape into the town that Beyond: Two Souls feels more like a videogame than an interactive movie.
This section is played primarily from the perspective of Aiden. There’s just something about playing as a disembodied spirit, while completely decimating a contingent of SWAT officers to remind you that you are playing an action game. Not to say that the section wasn’t fantastic to play. It was just more of a reminder that the gap between game and film still exists and it will probably always exist.
Bottom line- the Beyond: Two Souls demo is a huge success. The demo proves that the concept, story, and gameplay come together in a beautiful way. The experience engages, the game delivers, and I personally cannot wait to get my hands on the final product and see just how the story of Jodie Holmes and Aiden unfolds