SPOILER WARNING: Mild story details revealed.
David Cage’s new title Beyond: Two Souls is being shown off at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend and yesterday Cage debuted 35 straight minutes of footage. The video focuses on a section of the game in which Jodie, the player-character, is living on the street.
The clip seems to jump to certain key points in the chapter in order to showcase the variety of gameplay Beyond will offer the player. It begins with Jodie trying to scrape together some cash, which appears to be almost entirely scripted cinema stuff interspersed with a bit of walking and some of the same button prompt mechanics from Heavy Rain. It then moves to a street brawl with some rowdy teenagers in order to show the new combat system. Again, a lot of this looks to be on rails save for the occasional button-prompt, but it’s hard to tell without seeing someone play it in real time. Skipping ahead, Jodie goes on to help a woman give birth and later escapes a burning building before the video ends. There’s a lot of content being shown here, with lots of dialogue and a couple of times in which the player takes control of Aiden, the mysterious entity tethered to Jodie throughout Beyond: Two Souls. If you’ve been wanting to see just how the game will play, this preview will give you a very good idea.
I have been ambivalent toward this game since its announcement. I have little love for Heavy Rain or David Cage, but I don’t want that to affect my judgement. For all of Cage’s pretentious and backwards ideas about video games, we do need more mature stories in this medium and if nothing else, Beyond is trying to tell a sincere, deliberate story.
It’s also impressive just how much the animation and acting have improved since Heavy Rain. The detail on the face models is breathtaking and the motion capture has led to very fluid character movement, but it’s the VO that has impressed me most. Not a hint of the same absurd accents and bad acting acting that ran rampant in Heavy Rain (Although some of the dialogue is still pretty terrible). Ellen Page is putting a quality performance into her role as Jodie, and you can see it in this half hour demo. It also helps that there is something about Beyond: Two Souls that feels reminiscent of two of her previous film roles, The Tracey Fragments and Hard Candy.
The bottom line of the whole video for me is that this still looks like a mostly passive experience. Quantic Dream say that Beyond has a lot more active gameplay than Heavy Rain did but this footage really only shows the same kind of button-prompt nonsense we’ve seen from them before. True, Aiden’s new possession mechanics are thrown in as well, but it doesn’t really seem to be all that dynamic. It’s basically just another layer of very rigid point-and-clicking. Truth be told, this preview has me more convinced that I won’t be buying Beyond: Two Souls. I prefer to play games and watch movies, not the other way around.
What are your thoughts of this preview? Will you be picking up Beyond: Two Souls? Sound off in the comments section below!