Quantic Dream’s Beyond reveal at Sony’s conference received an admirable round of applause, both before and after their announcement that Ellen Page had been hired and ping-pong-balled for a mo-capped, digital performance as the game’s lead character, but the video that followed left a lot of folks scratching their heads about what, exactly, this game would play like.
WELL, a new, extensive gameplay video now reveals that the core mechanic asks you to swap between the perspectives of mysterious fugitive Jodie and her floating ghost friend, Ivan, who is tethered to her by a sparkly umbilical cord. Ivan can float freely, interacting with nearby objects and possessing anyone with a golden aura, while Jodie, uh… runs and gets shot at a lot.
Hit the jump for the full gameplay video, as well as some inital thoughts!
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Now that you’ve seen that, here are those thoughts:
This obviously continues down Quantic Dream’s infamous path of QTE-based narrative experiences, but with the surprising and interesting addition of possession and tactical problem-solving for Ivan’s sections. That’s a pretty good addition, for me, and one that definitely ramps up my curiosity. Now, who wants to hear me nitpick an over-the-shoulder phone video of an early demo build of a highly ambitious game?
Oh, everybody? Great!
The prompts for Jodie as she runs for her life and fights her way through cops and dogs seem bizarre, at times, like “shake the controller to kick the dog” rather than a simple button press, and the motorcycle section with sixaxis-based steering is an instant reminder of why accelerometer controls aren’t fun to play. Curious choices, seemingly in the interest of variety for variety’s sake.
Also: those possession sequences might as well have been sudoku puzzles for all the action and tension they displayed. The SWAT team doesn’t react to the fact that two separate officers just opened fire on their own men and killed each other, or move at all when the nearby gas station explodes— they just stand there, patiently waiting their turn for the player to select them for death. All of the dramatic tension was instantly gone. Kind of weird for a developer that’s seemed so heavily focused on pressing the narrative forward at all times.
But this is a very early build, I’m presuming, and the final product isn’t likely to come out until late 2013, at the earliest. That is plenty of time to address that one piddly, backseat-demo-reviewer concern. Beyond probably isn’t going to be everyone’s bag, just like their last effort, but it’s impressive in a technical sense. One thing that’s undeniable: the game looks gorgeous.
I think I would love to watch someone play this.