Beyond: Two Souls preview: First play of Quantic Dream title on PS3
The boundary between movies and games is ever-blurring. Quantic Dream's Playstation 3 exclusive Beyond: Two Souls is testament to that. Pocket-lint played through a section of the game at this year's E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles, California, and we were oh so impressed - this title is one of the stars of the show and it won't even be seen on Sony's latest Playstation 4.
Playstation 3 is still going to be big business moving forward, even with the Playstation 4 on the horizon. Beyond: Two Souls is part of the reason for that. Quantic Dream, best known for producing love it or hate it Heavy Rain (we loved it) has really stepped up to the plate in this latest title.
The gameplay mechanics are much the same as found in Heavy Rain - focused on quick-reaction button bashing as instructed on screen, amid explorative third person roaming around partially free-roaming world sections - albeit with more attention put to joystick wiggling to both make and counter attacks.
The section of the game we played through was based in Somalia. A female soldier in among the gun-toting, war-torn lands, immediately we feel as though Quantic Dream has targeted a contemporary subject that has a certain resonant political echo with the reality of 2013's world. This interplay between real and fictional does what a good novel would do - draws you in, presents you with snippets of character building and keeps you turning the pages.
In the case of Beyond: Two Souls the focus is, of course, more controller-tapping than page-turning - there's probably an Ellen Page joke in there somewhere - but the realistic world, complete with glimmering sun and truly believable facial expressions, is a real draw. In its lifespan it's quite incredible where Playstation 3 graphics have got to.
While graphics are one thing it's the story that acts as the main immersion in Beyond: Two Souls. With the added believability of top-notch motion-captured faces, the characters' words take on that much moor meaning. But only to a point - the lead character has a supernatural-like second character buried within. Affectionately called Adrien, this soul-trail can spill from the body and be navigated around levels, through walls and doors and even be used to possess enemies to your advantage.
These out of body experiences take a little getting used to, but the distinct colour scheme when toggled into this second skin - if it could be called that - gives the game a lot of life. Such a dynamic is essential for dispatching enemies in puzzle-like solves, giving new wings to the otherwise Heavy-Rain-like title.
We won't give away the story as we played a section slap bang in the centre of the game, but needless to say we felt really connected to the proceedings on screen. It's rich, deep and looks awe-inspiring for a third generation title. We're excited about this, although naysayers of the original Heavy Rain are unlikely to find a new hook in the title's otherwise familiar gameplay.