back to article Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Say hello to Jodie Holmes, a woman whose eventful life from infancy to adulthood forms the entirety of Beyond: Two Souls. Beyond: Two Souls Beyond: Two Souls tracks Jodie Holmes‘ life from paranormally active nipper... Assist Jodie as she sneaks out of her house during her rebellious teenage goth stage. Help her chop …

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More a TV remote simulator than a game

From various reviews, I have trouble understanding why you are even being asked to press buttons - everything just plays out more or less the same anyway, apart from a couple of decisions near the end.

Doesn't sound like much difference between this and e.g. choosing which of the endings from I Am Legend you'd rather watch. What's the point?

I haven't heard anyone say the story's particularly good either, which seems to be a fairly major failing when there's no actual gameplay to speak of.

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Re: More a TV remote simulator than a game

I don't know much about this game yet but I have played Heavy Rain and that had multiple different outcomes possible. It was also a "game" that some family members wanted to watch be "played". I had to wait until they were available before I could continue.

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Re: More a TV remote simulator than a game

No having a PS3 meant I missed out on Heavy Rain, but I thoroughly enjoyed Fahrenheit / Project Indigo on the PC, and interestingly had the same experience as you where my sister basically watched the game like a movie while I played it.

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Sir

I can see this being a start for 10 to get games that are more like movies with multiple threads through the movie for example.

Another idea would be to experience the same 'movie' through the eyes of different characters. Not sure this qualifies as a game, sounds like a new genre to me, we could call it.. interactive movies. Hmm, why does that sound familiar? :)

Kudos to someone spending money on new ideas though.

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Re: Sir

Quite. If we don't try games like this, we'll just have yet another Gran Turismo or Call of Duty game coming along. Given the cost of making a computer game these days, companies don't generally take risks.

The issue is that trying to make a "movie game" with freedom to mess it up is vastly more complex than railroading the player/viewer, but with practice the games industry might just get there eventually.

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Whoever devised quick time events

should be made to sit on the stairs for an hour and think about what they've done.

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Re: Whoever devised quick time events

If they want to get off the stairs they need to press circle, circle, wait two beats, triangle, square, wait three beats, circle, wait a beat, cross.

If they get it wrong the stairs will sprout manacles and hold them down while they fade to black, then they'll respawn on the same stairs, except three QTEs ago.

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Re: Whoever devised quick time events

It was Yu Suzuki when he made Shenmue and in that game I think they worked pretty well. I remember playing Skies of Arcadia afterward and instinctively going to press a button during a cut scene because I'd got so used to having some kind of input. I imagine if you like watching cut scenes then QTEs can be a pain, I like a bit of interaction (as long as it's done well...)

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Meh

Re: Whoever devised quick time events

Sounds familiar - remember Dragon's Lair? Is this really much different?

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Re: Whoever devised quick time events

Ahhh Skies of Arcadia on Dreamcast, my first real JRPG. Loved that game.

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Re: Whoever devised quick time events

I remember it well. I always thought of it as a kind of animated Simon Says. I've no idea why me & my friends pumped so much money into that in the pub, oh hang on, we were very drunk!

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Re: remember Dragon's Lair? Is this really much different?

Depends on whether you think a five minute Tom and Jerry cartoon is much different to a Bourne film....

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Too much realism is not a good thing

I bought heavy rain because I had presumed it would be an immersive game with a good story line.....I hated it, it was like being handheld and walked, very slowly, through a very long winded and boring movie studio.

They added too many "human realistic" elements, which added the unfortunate side effect of removing the "fantasy / imagination" from the game.. By doing this they also removed the playability and the fun that gaming requires.

I don't mind the overall ambience, dark, shady, sombre but for the love of gaming it has to remain a game.

.

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Re: Too much realism is not a good thing

Couldn't agree more.

Heavy Rain became a chore within a couple of hours and was never played again. If I put a game in a machine, I expect to play a game. I don't expect to watch the computer play it.

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This sort of thing may become a really interesting proposition if you could combine it with an occulus rift or other VR headset. I think an interactive movie, where you could be made to feel part of the action is a compelling direction to take both gaming and film making in. Sure, not for everyone, but I'd be interested to see where you could take this.

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Anonymous Coward

If it came to PC I'd probably pick it up in a steam sale, much as I would if Heavy Rain came to PC.

However I come from the world of visual novels, point and click adventures, text adventures and other narrative based mostly linear experiences where "gameplay" simply exists to allow you to experience a good yarn.

But yeah, quicktime events can get bent.

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this makes me sad

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Sounds dreadful

Fortunately, The Stanley Parable (take two) has just come out on Steam and I don't have to think about it.

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Anonymous Coward

FPS fans will hate it.

Everyone else will love it.

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Re: FPS fans will hate it.

If by "everyone else" you mean console gamers, then yeah, they will. They love barely interactive movies.

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Re: They love barely interactive movies.

Awww, upset you're not getting a Sony exclusive? Of course not, if it's not played with a mouse and keyboard how could it be any good?

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Re: They love barely interactive movies.

> if it's not played with a mouse and keyboard how could it be any good?

Good point. How can a game which is played with controls so awful that the games have to cheat for you be any good?

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Innovation rather than Stagnation

I've not got round to playing this yet but look forward to it.

There's only been one other game I've come across where the 'inter-active movie' style worked very well and that was with TellTale's The Walking Dead series.

Maybe not as graphically polished as Beyond, but the emotive connection you feel between the main characters is emersive and in some respects superior to some games out there.

As someone mentioned it's nice to see dev's trying out new ideas rather than just following the mainstream - FiFa XX, PES XX, NBA XX, CoD XX, BF XX (xx- insert number as year changes)

I'd much rather support innovation even if in the early stages it's a little rough around the edges than the stagnation we're currently getting it tierd series, where the only innovation they have is that the dog has more polygons (CoD: Ghosts)

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Anonymous Coward

Platform?

A game review, and no mention of the platforms it runs on?! Had to Google it to find out it was PS3 only!

What next, don't bother to mention the games title, let us guess that as well?

Platform should be mentioned in the opening paragraph or two, and especially if it's a platform exclusive like this seems to be!

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Re: Platform?

Agreed.

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Re: Platform?

At £50, it's probably going to be some kind of console game.

£30 in three months, £19.99 three months later, and you'll probably pick it up for £5 to £10 in the bargain bins three months after that.

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Re: Platform?

Second hand game gets cheaper over time! Who'd have thought? PC games are just the same. There are plenty of cheap second hand pc games down my local games shop...

But yeah 50 quid up front is pricey, but I think the game budget and limited market mean they have to take the piss a bit or Sony will have to stop bankrolling them. And, however cynical you may be about the game, that would be a pity. Someone has to try pushing things, just running around shooting is soooooooo dull...

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Systems aren't there yet

I think Cage wants to create an interactive drama. But computers and AI can't yet understand a conversation (either spoken or written) anywhere near well enough to enable this kind of game. So instead we wind up with this 'choose your own adventure' style game, but without as many choices.

In a book the author can just describe a new outcome. In a game someone has to create the art assets, record the dialogue, create sound effects etc. Which is why the player just ends up getting funneled down one path. Perhaps in the medium term with a more simulated environment Cage will be able to create better stories. At the moment the best simulated environments/story generators are GTA V and Xcom. And they can only simulate action, not dramatic dialogue.

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MJI
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Hmmm

Doesn't sound too good then.

I will admit I have missed Heavy Rain despite being on my catchup list.

I did think that it was well known that QD are now a 2nd party studio.

But for story and action I will say that The Last Of Us is best so far for me this year.

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Spot on

I didn't play the game..I did however get caught up in it watching it being palyed on Twitch.tv.

I agree with everything you said.

It definately a game where I enjoy watching as much I would have been playing it, but I even watching I found myself telepathically trying to tell the caster to stop looking for Blue Dots.

Plus I love Ellen Page as an Actress.

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Anonymous Coward

Not for me

Hmm, QTEs? Nope, sick of those years ago (yes, I remeber playing Dragon's Lair at the arcade!). Also, seems like a story from Misty or some such thing, but hey, maybe the girls will like it.

Also, it's not Ellen "Juno" Page. Who the hell here's seen Juno? It's Ellen "Boltie" Page, or I'll accept "Inception" if you want something mainstream.

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"Lone crusade"? Hardly.

> Cage and his team at France’s Quantic Dream seem to be on a lone crusade to turn games into interactive movies

Games which are barely interactive movies are quite common, from Dragon's Lair to The Walking Dead.

I would go so far as to say that most major releases today are barely interactive movies where player choice is close to non-existent, and that this is a major problem with gaming today.

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Anonymous Coward

Argh

This is a title that even more payola reviewers seem to have found the cojones to actually slate. For once, almost everyone has spotted the emperor's new clothes.

This is a pretty-looking game, best experienced from a safe distance as a rather clumsy animation. It is primitive, facile and full of the "gameplay" tropes which mark out poor game design- the most notable of which is the QTE. It's a shame, an actual game that looked this pretty would be interesting.

If you want something with absorbing, slightly emergent gameplay, try DIshonored. If you want a clever, witty almost non-game that tells a branching story cleverly, try The Stanley Parable.

This does not avance gaming as a medium; far from it, this metetricious twaddle is little more interesting than the laserdisk games of yore, mechanically. The storytelling is not "mature", it's like a bad made for TV movie. Just mentioning "serious" themes does not get you a free pass if you do it with all the clunky awkwardness of Gordon Brown twerking.

It would be unkind to speculate on the judgement, motives or bona fides of the reviewer in this case, but I do wonder if there hasn't been a terrible mix up with which game was actually being reviewed, or a parallel universe.. :)

As PA pithily put it:

"Beyond: Two Souls is a mixture of a game that’s not fun and a story that’s not interesting"

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interactive movies... the best option today is?

Heh, I remember playing DL and when finished (didn't take long as I wasn't particularly good) I turned round to see an audience watching me! I think it was in a department store or something...

Back to the topic, about interactive movies, the more recent Metal Gear Solid Snake games on the PS3 have had lots of cinematic exposition but great gameplay. I find that interactive movie/game quite fun as it keeps the two parts separate. Of course you miss out on the branching play from your game choices, but if that was the most important thing to me, I'd be still playing pen 'n paper RPGs with a human referee.

Ooooh, wouldn't that be great to have a competition where the prize is a award winning script writer referees an RPG? Shall we say Joss Whedon? Bags I play River!

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