Quantic Dream are responsible for games that define a player’s experience with their console. These games don’t shy away from making you feel emotional, on the contrary, they make you feel as raw as possible emotionally in order to get you to really think about what’s going on. David Cage describes his games more as interactive stories than video games, but at the end of the day, aren’t all games simply stories with varying levels of interactivity? Beyond Two Souls came out today, and the initial reaction for it is all over the place, because it’s not your normal game, it’s not focussed on killing, shooting, or exploring, it’s focussed on one girl and a supernatural entity, and their journey through life.
If you’ve never played a Quantic Dream game then you probably won’t understand why they’re so different. They key is that these games try and give the player as little prompting as possible for interacting with the story, meaning they explore it and experience it in such a way that’s more real than anything else on a console. Heavy Rain was the last release that rocked the industry, resulting in some people abseloutely loving it, and some people hating it because it’s so different. The initial reaction for Beyond Two Souls isn’t quite so varied, but within the top and bottom level scores it’s been given are a range of reasons certain people belive it’s a great game, and a range of reasons people believe the opposite.
The story of Beyond Two Souls follows Jodie, a girl who has been tied to a supernatural entity, Aiden, since birth. Initially, Aiden is a force that scares Jodie, but they quickly grow closer as Jodie sees that Aiden is more concerned with keeping her alive than he is in killing her. Players see the pair’s life through a series of non-sequential events that are unlocked, one after the other, by completing the ones currenlty available. Since the missions jump throughout Jodie’s life, you never get a true feel for what the overall aim of the story is until the very end, but with this being a Quantic Dream game, the story really is very good.
Players control Jodie much like they controlled any of the four main characters in Heavy Rain, walking around environments in search of objects to interact with, though now you only have a white dot where the intruding button prompts appeared, a nice touch. Aiden’s controls are very different, and make you much more aware that you’re playing a video game. Aiden floats around Jodie, and can travel a small distance away from her, but there is a limit. Players can assess situations by moving through walls, controlling other characters, and even killing them if necessary, but all of this is only ever done with the joysticks, and most interactions are either control, kill, or move in a spooky way, as you’d expect from a supernatural entity.
Some reviewers have been giving Beyond lower scores because of it’s use of QTEs, which is sad, as that’s such a small part of the game if you really think about it. Quantic Dream are gearing you towards a story, the buttons are simply a way to have a physical effect on that story, which makes the emotional high points even more intense, because you helped put Jodie and Aiden into whatever position they’re in. Yes QTEs have been overused this generation, but the only reason for their use here is to actually have you interacting in some way, otherwise it would be nothing more than an animated movie. Let me know what you’re initial reaction of Beyond Two Souls is in the comments below, personally I love what I’ve seen so far, and I don’t think my opinion will change once I load the game up in my front room tonight.
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