Beyond: Two Souls preview - four hours with a serious contender for Game Of The Year
- Posted September 10th, 2013 at 11:00 EDT by Steven Williamson
There’s also plenty of the more subtle interactive type of gameplay that we saw in Heavy Rain, such as dancing by gyrating with the analog stick, opening a door or cracking open a can of beer. However, the in-your-face QTE sequences that we frequently encountered in Heavy Rain, have been ditched. Instead, the way you interact with the world is more subtly presented. Running through a forest in pursuit by the police you have to decide whether to jump, duck, move left or right based on upcoming obstacles, you don’t wait for a prompt. During fight scenes, you need to watch the movement of your attackers and respond according. A prompt is replaced by a brief slow motion moment where you have a split second to make a decision, choosing to block and attack by pushing the analog stick in the right direction.
With the UI not cluttered with constant requests to press circle to punch or tap on triangle frantically to escape, it feels much more intuitive and involving, more realistic in fact. Even though it can get a little frustrating when you’re trying to second guess some of the analag stick movements that need to be made (I played the CIA fight scene eight times before I was successful,) the result is a more immersive experience than Heavy Rain. I’ve seen a few complaints about this control scheme, but I feel it was only the unfamiliarity of doing something in a game that I’ve never done before and expecting it to take me by the hand that made it initially feel a little tricky, but it’s a mechanic that I soon get used to.
Much more familiar gameplay comes in the form of making choices through dialogue. You can steer Jodie’s personality and be as cooperative and guarded as you like. In the early stages you can shrug your shoulders when asked a question by a scientist or co-operate and engage in conversation. At a party, a man sits next to you on the couch and clearly wants to flirt with you. You have the option of being reserved or sociable, deciding to avoid questions about yourself or speak openly with your new found friend. This eventually turns into a slow dance and the chance for an even closer interaction. Beyond should be full of moments where players are forced to make choices.
Beyond: Two Souls will have 23 possible endings, but there’s not much in this initial playthrough that makes me think that anything I’ve done so far has sent me in a new direction. I guess that is coming. I replayed the party scene with Jodie and took another dialogue path, choosing to be reserved rather than sociable. The outcome was actually the same even though I refused his advances. In this case, the reserved option was just the less exciting one rather than having any impact on the story. In the final game, I’m hoping to see more instances where my decisions have impact. Nevertheless, these early conversations draw you into the world and build on Jodie’s character well, filling you in on vital back-story that you won't want to miss.