The next generation may be the industry’s primary source of conversation following last month’s PlayStation 4 announcement, but there’s still plenty of life left in Sony’s current system, as Beyond: Two Souls evidences. Selected media were invited to sample a portion of the upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive in Paris last week, and the ensuing previews are packed with the kind of bombshells that you’d expect from a Quantic Dream game.
The title sees you take control of protagonist Jodie Holmes, who’s portrayed by Ellen Page. You’ll play through at least 15 years of her life, spanning the ages of eight to 23. Throughout that time, you’ll explore the globe, as the character moves from infancy in a psychiatric ward to homeless shelters. The plot finds you on the run, as the government attempts to control your psychiatric episodes.
Playing as Holmes, you’ll be able to call upon a spirit known as Aiden by hitting the triangle button. This switches the gameplay to a first-person perspective, where you’re able to move through walls and hazards in order to solve puzzles. An early sequence – demonstrated in CVG’s video below – sees you floating between rooms in order to participate in a series of tests. However, the protagonist doesn’t always have full control over the poltergeist.
While the doctors examine Holmes, Aiden takes it upon himself to possess one of the medics and lock the exit door, preventing a middle-aged civilian from fleeing the experiment. When the spirit later starts smashing the room to pieces, the character has no method of escaping, causing a crescendo of uncomfortable screaming, shouting, and tears. These tense scenarios will be familiar to anyone that’s played Heavy Rain, but they seem even more nail-biting here.
Outspoken director David Cage has insisted that the QTEs that populated the title’s predecessor are now gone. As opposed to button prompts lingering in the world, you’ll be able to interact with any objects that have a white dot above them. Moving the right stick in contextual motions (such as outwards to open a door, for example) will have the corresponding effect in the game.
A similar mechanic has also been extended to combat, which takes advantage of a new bullet-time effect. If a punch is heading Holmes’ way, you’ll need to push the right-stick in the desired direction to block it. The same is true of offensive actions, too. “We still have a couple of prompts here and there,” Cage told VG247. “But no more than in a game like Tomb Raider, Uncharted or God of War, or whatever because all games use some prompts here and there.“
The studio’s keeping the exact progression of the narrative under wraps, but many of the title’s latest previews mention a lengthy sequence in which you'll play as a homeless Holmes. According to the write-ups, throughout the course of this segment you’ll be forced to cope with hunger, death, and even pregnancy. Apparently, one sequence will see you actually deliver a child, but the details are sketchy.
We’ve included links to many of the latest previews below; we recommend that you give them all a read for the full picture. Meanwhile, check out CVG’s new gameplay footage, and don’t forget to tell us whether you’re excited in the comments section.