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Beyond: Two Souls Preview (PS3)

June 7, 2012 Written by Daniel Bischoff

The rain is pounding on the train window, leaving behind a rolling sound for the passengers inside. Looking out, you’d think all was right in the world, at least the world outside that train. The damp trees are speeding by, but they seem to drift melancholy in this downpour. Jodie Holmes welcomes the peace, welcomes the rest, and welcomes the quiet drumming. But the other of the Two Souls, the spirit Aiden simply won’t let her rest.

Tethered to each other, Jodie and Aiden are the titular figures in Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. At the start of the E3 demo behind closed doors, Aiden tries to get Jodie’s attention. Here the player charges up an interaction with the two analog sticks and explores the space around Jodie with SIXAXIS controls.

When the train makes an unexpected stop and the police board in search of Jodie, Aiden takes drastic steps to wake her. It’s then up to the player to guide Jodie in her escape with button prompts like those found in Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain. Jodie heads to the roof of the train and then leaps off with Aiden’s protection for safety. The police have covered the train route with foot soldiers, and now Jodie has to run or be arrested.

Much like Heavy Rain before it, Quantic Dream allows failure, citing a desire for players to deal with the consequences of their actions. At anytime in the train escape, players can allow Jodie to be arrested, either immediately after the police board the train, or while running from car to car, or while fighting off would be assailants on the roof of the train.

Player choice usurps David Cage’s directorial vision, without compromising the overarching narrative. Instead, players will see differing paths while walking the road to the ultimate conclusion.

Another successful evasion drops Jodie in a small, rural town in middle America. When the SWAT teams close in, Jodie asks Aiden to help her out of the sprung trap. Here the player can use Aiden’s spiritual powers to posses the enemies, blow up the cars that line the street, and outright kill attacking entities.

In the demo, this led to several police officers shot dead by their teammates, several flipped cars and trucks, and the smoking heap of a crashed helicopter.

“Tell them to leave me the fuck alone, because if they don’t, I’ll kill everyone.”

Jodie, Aiden, and consequently, the player are certainly in for a ride when Beyond: Two Souls lands on PS3s in 2013. Seeing a game like this so early can be a little disheartening. Such an impressive demo makes for eager gamers everywhere. Consider our spirits lifted.