Previews

Beyond: Two Souls: Cage's new title is ambitious, provocative, annoying

Heavy Rain's follow-up has big questions to ask...

This article originally appeared in PSM3 magazine.

The longer you spend with Beyond: Two Souls, the less sense it makes. You leave the demo with more questions about what it will actually be like to play than when you went in. And in this age of cookie-cutter, cover-based, ultraviolent action games, anything that's pitched leftfield and thought-provoking is surely to be welcomed.

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MORE BEYOND: David Cage interview | Extended gameplay impressions | Willem Dafoe!

Or so you'd hope. What David Cage's games actually tend to provoke is arguments - and none more so than his previous PS3 exclusive, Heavy Rain. The question-and-answer session which follows our extensive demo of Beyond is remarkable for the scepticism of some of the questioning. There's a palpable sense that some people want to dismantle what they see as smoke and mirrors hiding a lack of interactivity in Quantic Dream's games.

FIRST AIDEN

Clearly well aware of the criticism, Cage spends most of the demo showcasing action-centric sequences. In one, Jodie, the angsty teen-on-the-run played by Ellen Page, has been cornered by a SWAT team in a typical small American town. But she's not alone: a ghostly being called Aiden has accompanied her since childhood, and he's there to protect her now. Using his telekinetic powers, he possesses the cops and turns them against each other, so snipers take potshots at their colleagues, while another has an "accident" with a grenade.

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As the threat to Jodie heightens, so Aiden's fury and power grows. Towards the end of the section he uses his Poltergeist-style powers to pull down a spire and even yoink a helicopter out of the sky. Which sounds awesome, but Aiden's rampage actually seems oddly pedestrian. Largely because it feels like the guy at the controls is just working through a set of canned events. Sure, he could tackle them in a different order, but it'd just be a case of rearranging the cans.

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