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Beyond: Two Souls is a new IP developed by Quantic Dream and visionary designer David Cage, who made the controversial but undoubtedly special Heavy Rain. Quantic Dream has always emphasized their use of high-quality performance capture, stressing the importance of acting and animated nuance that expresses meaning. To Cage and the team, video games are partly a performance art, and they want this performance to shine. To that end, Quantic Dream has polished the character and facial animations of Beyond: Two Souls with stunning beauty. Ellen Page, most notable for her role in Juno and Inception, stars in Beyond: Two Souls and her character looks exactly like her. Her minute expressions tell more story than many lines of dialogue ever could.
But I get ahead of myself. The most unique thing about Beyond: Two Souls is not its gorgeous art design or its gameplay, which almost exactly mirrors Heavy Rain's. The story of Beyond: Two Souls sets it apart from the other games at E3. Beyond: Two Souls follows Jodie, a young-girl, throughout her adolescence. But this is no traditional "coming of age story". Every since she was a child, Jodie has been followed by Aiden, a ghostly spirit who can interact in the real world.
We know from gameplay and footage at E3 that government forces are hunting Jodie down, and players must escape her pursuers as both Jodie and Aiden. The gameplay footage I saw depicts Jodie sitting on a train at night, rain pouring down the windows outside. The player controls Aiden, who can interact with other passengers and their possessions, flinging bottles and magazines to the ground - an invisible but tangible force on the world. When police come on board, Aiden warns Jodie and a thrilling race ensues.
Jodie climbs on top the train, fighting cops with surprising skill. When she makes a daring and desperate leap off the train, a paranormal blue shield of sorts protects her while she falls. Jodie then dashes into the woods, climbing over logs, defending herself against police dogs in pursuit, and climbing a cliff face. Aiden helps her escape by possessing a police officer, which the player can instruct to steal a car to distract other officers. Later, when Jodie is surrounded by a swat team and helicopter, she lets Aiden loose and the player goes on a rampage, possessing and shooting cops, crashing the chopper, and blowing up a gas station.
Quantic Dream is known for making games that emphasize powerful storytelling, and Beyond: Two Souls follows this trend. Hopefully, with lessons learned from Heavy Rain, we can look forward to a narrative that tells a thrilling and compelling journey told in daring and unique form of gameplay.