PAX Prime has a lot to see. I mean a lot. Hundreds of companies all trying to make their products stand out. So what you see first says something about what you’re looking for at the show. For me, the first stop was at the PlayStation booth to get my hands on Beyond Two Souls. I’m not sure exactly what drew me into this title, but I think it’s the atmosphere. Small girl, mysterious powers, promises of exploring the notion of life after death? That’s usually enough to do it for me.
I can now, however, expand a little bit on what the game experience will be. If you want a quick and dirty comparison, I’ll say two words: Heavy Rain. The demo had me wandering around a hospital, learning martial arts, and riding a train. The gameplay was two fold. I was either Jodie, exploring an area (or later, kicking butt via a quick time event system), or I was Aiden, a mysterious… ghost… person? Not exactly sure on that one, but Jodie either spoke to him, or controlled him, and he would be all sorts of disruptive. The effect was that it appeared that Jodie had psychic powers.
What I took away from my demo time was that the game will likely consist of tense, slow paced, sequences that are punctuated with brief periods of intense action. It looked like a suspenseful and gripping story was being set up, and in the end, that’s what is going to determine whether Beyond Two Souls has any staying power. The gameplay itself was rudimentary. Not bad, just basic. It basically told me: “We’re not going to rely on deep mechanics to sell this game. We’re going to rely on atmosphere and narrative.”