Beyond: Two Souls Is David Cage’s “Most Ambitious Game Yet”

 

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during E3 2012. More recent Beyond: Two Souls coverage from Comic-Con can be found here; stay tuned for more.

Whether or not you appreciate Quantic Dream’s brand of interactive storytelling, showcased in games like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, there’s no denying that there’s nothing else quite like them in the world of video games. David Cage consistently challenges the accepted norms of what games could and should be, and his new title, Beyond: Two Souls, continues that trend.

The protagonist of Beyond is Jodie Holmes, played very convincingly by Ellen Page. Unlike Heavy Rain, which had a story that played out over the course of several days and jumped between several different characters, Beyond’s focuses squarely on Jodie. The game will cover fifteen years of her life, showing her growth and transition from being a kid to becoming an adult.

As one would guess from the trailer shown during Sony’s E3 press conference, Jodie is not a normal young lady. Ever since she was little, she has had a connection to a spirit that she calls Aiden. No one, not even Jodie, can actually see Aiden, but Jodie can see whatever Aiden sees.

When our hands-off demo presentation begins, we learn that the 24-year-old Jodie is a fugitive. What she has actually done is left to our imaginations for now, but whatever it was, it caused the cops to learn that she is incredibly powerful and extremely dangerous.

While Jodie tries to get some sleep on the train, the player is given control of Aiden to have some mischievous fun. Aiden blasts a cup with a bit of energy to make it go flying.

“Come on Aiden. I’m tired! I haven’t slept in 3 days,” says an exhausted Jodie. That doesn’t stop a bored Aiden from having more fun though, as the player controlled spirit then turns its attention towards the passengers; making magazines fall out of people’s hands, blasting more bottles and cups — just being an all-around troll.

Eventually, the scene cuts to a train station where several cops and dogs are waiting. As the train approaches the stop, the player is able to use Aiden to phase through the walls and scope the situation out.

The cops are starting to board now. Aiden needs to find a way to wake Jodie up to warn her before the cops get close enough to identify her. The spirit opens the overhead luggage compartment and drops a backpack on Jodie’s head. Jodie again voices her frustration with the ghost, but as she starts to put the luggage back, she notices what’s going on.

“That’s her!” shouts a police officer, and all of sudden, the chase is on.

What follows is a chase sequence very similar to the ones found in Heavy Rain. The player inputs button presses to dodge obstacles, turn corners, and fight off enemies. The difference here though is the fact that the player is actual controlling Jodie’s movement through the train practically the whole time. Cage also wanted to point out that it is actually possible for Jodie to get captured and arrested. If this happens, a different scene will play out that involves Jodie having to break out of jail. Once again, this all should sound very familiar if you’ve played Heavy Rain.

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