By Miguel Concepcion
Sony's latest presentation of 'Beyond: Two Souls' elicited its share of "What the…?" reactions. Seeing Jodie Holmes (played by Ellen Page) in an African combat setting made one wonder if David Cage and his team sold out to 'Call of Duty' audiences. Yet you need to remember that 'Beyond' spans 15 years of Jodie's life and this scene was merely one of many episodes of the game. If you were still hoping to follow this woman's life as a social outcast, Sony's latest trailer assures that 'Beyond' will have more than enough of that.
I was part of that group of gamers who actually liked the fixed camera exploration and QTE-intensive gameplay of 'Heavy Rain'. I was also didn't mind that, despite the overselling of choice and multiple outcomes, most of the chapters ended the same way. That's what I suspect will be the case for 'Beyond: Two Souls'. Not that's a bad thing. The QTEs are certainly in 'Beyond' and you'll be able to move around more freely compared to the often tight environments of 'Heavy Rain'.
If you've kept up with 'Beyond' news, then you know that you control two characters, Jodie and Aiden, the latter being an invisible entity tied to Jodie. If this combat scene is any indication, their relationship isn't exactly harmonious. Aiden's survival might be dependent on Jodie's but Aiden doesn't exactly have to like it. At one point of the demo, Jodie contemplates suicide to avoid capture; Aiden wouldn't have that. When the two are working together, you get to utilize Aiden's ability to inhabit and control the bodies of others. It's helpful in thinning out enemy numbers; just send Aiden into the body of a soldier and have him turn on his comrades.
I am eager to see more of Aiden's powers because at the moment, 'Beyond' simply feels like a story about a woman who has psychic powers that she often can't control. I'd be equally happy if developer Quantic Dream actually managed to present convincing character development between Jodie and Aiden. You'd think so considering the 15-year time span.