Beyond: Two Souls: Cage's new title is ambitious, provocative, annoying
19th Aug 2012 | 16:00
The longer you spend with
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,
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.
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.
"It's just one version of a scene," responds Cage, when pressed. "Depending [on] how you play, you will see many different things. You can get arrested in this scene, for example, and unlock an entirely new part of the scene that you've not seen before. And this is true of each scene. Each scene can be played in different ways and you can see different things."
The use of on-screen button prompts throughout the demo immediately recalls
Until we get hold of the pad for ourselves, how that freedom actually translates into gameplay is anyone's guess. The key question is whether being able to move around a bit within a box really offers much more choice than being locked on rails. To use a specific example: when Jodie is being chased along a train carriage, does it make much difference being able to nudge her left and right? Pushed on this, Cage insists that there will be large areas for exploration. "You are almost free to go wherever you want all the time," he says. (It's possible that the word "almost" is doing quite a lot of work in that sentence, though.) "This is something I can spend two hours explaining," says Cage. "You won't get it until you've played it, actually. But the big difference [from] Heavy Rain is we have much more exploration. Heavy Rain was mainly set in small environments or in small houses."
Each answer prompts more questions. As soon as you pull at the threads of