Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Baleful Glare at E3 2012, Part 1: Beyond: Two Souls

E3 2012 has come and gone. Just like we did last year at Pointless Side Quest, except this time actually in the same month as the show itself, it's time to take a look back at what this year's Electronic Entertainment Exposition had to offer.

Beyond: Two Souls

The debut trailer video, starts off in a small town police station where a police officer has brought a young girl with a shaved head, who was found unconscious by the road. She's silent and seems almost catatonic, and he's trying in vain to get her to talk when a cup of coffee sitting on the desk rises into the air and hurls itself across the room. Then the cop goes into the other room while the girl starts talking to a hovering POV camera and says “They're coming,” a heavily armed SWAT team shows up, and... Well, the screen goes black and leaves us on a cliffhanger, but based on past precedent in the eternal struggle between spooky young females with psychokinesis and squads of heavily armed paramilitaries I'm guessing most of that SWAT team will be going home in Ziploc bags.

My initial hope upon seeing a mentally disturbed bald female who seemingly has telekinetic powers was that this was some sort of Young Jack Chronicles prequel spinoff of Mass Effect, but no. Instead, it's a game from Quantic Dreams called Beyond: Two Souls, about a woman named Jodie Holmes who's on the run while accompanied by some sort of supernatural entity called “Aiden.” Jodie Holmes is voiced by actress Ellen Page, whose name I'd never heard of before but is apparently an actress from the talkies that the kids are into nowadays.

(Actually, having looked up her film credits, I have seen her at least once before when she played Shadowcat in X3: The Last Stand. Her performance as a girl in black leather being chased by a huge guy with a giant flower pot on his head was one of the high points of the film. If I was talking about the first two X-Men movies that would be a joke, but... )

It's not clear from the trailer exactly what Aiden is- aside from not being a big coffee drinker, presumably- but the game will involve using his supernatural powers to protect Jodie from her pursuers, controlling both characters at different points. Said powers include telekinesis, which scales up from merely rudely refusing beverages to stuff like throwing cars around, what looks like some sort of mind control- or whatever unpleasantness a dude's eyes rolling back in his head after being touched by an eerie glow signifies- and protective force fields, among other things.

It looks like it could be pretty cool. On the other hand, it's made by the same developers who did Heavy Rain, which didn't interest me; I'm not a fan of the sort of PC-style adventure games that seem to be Heavy Rain's closest analogue and am generally skeptical of the idea that games ought to mimic other media. On the third hand, what we've seen and been told about the game so far seems to suggest that Beyond will be more conventionally game-y and less of an interactive movie/mundane daily task simulator, which has more appeal to me. On the fourth hand, that's exactly what I would expect people trying to promote the game to say.

Yet, on the fifth hand, I think my negative feelings towards Heavy Rain probably stem in large part from the more obnoxious elements of the game's boosters rather than the game itself, which is hardly fair to the people at Quantic Dreams. It's not as if David Cage is the one pontificating about how I'm a subnormal philistine ruining the gaming industry because I don't want to use quicktime events to simulate carrying out dull, everyday tasks when I can already do those dull, everyday tasks in real life and gain the added bonus of actually getting them done, after all. So I'll try to keep an open mind on this.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: