Friday, October 11, 2013

Beyond Two Souls (Demo Review) [PS3]

Two days ago I downloaded the PS3 demo of Beyond Two Souls. I do not normally download a lot of demos for PS3 games. I never played Heavy Rain either, but this game has a lot of hype so I downloaded it.

It is exceptionally detailed. I'll give it that.
This is not a game.
This is a quick-time event expanded to game length.

Let me say first off that I played the demo twice. I really was trying to give it a chance. The first time through, I played the 'game.' I tried to get every quick-time event motion correct, I attempted all variety of actions with Aiden.

And yet, the head thing looks terrible. Like an afterthought.
I attempted to explore, but the game is very limiting. Maybe that is just the demo, but it seemed very confined. I did discover something on my second play through. We'll get to that later.

Lets cover the demo.
It comes in two sections.

First part a control tutorial. Learn to walk, learn to 'interact.' Learn to control Aiden, your glowing soul/ghost buddy. Scare a women, break some cameras - you know, act all poltergeist like. At this point you actually kind of feel you are controlling the game... a bit.
Does he look like Cho from the Mentalist to anyone else?

Then you shift to a CIA martial arts combat tutorial. I'm sorry, I mean a 'how to play quick time events tutorial.'


These dogs are 100% non-lethal. They are simply noisy.
The instructions are: if she punches left, move the R3 stick to the left. If she ducks down, move R3 down. When you need to tap X, do so. Every instruction will appear on screen.

So I went through my first play through, valiantly doing everything the quick time buttons showed, and sometimes as Aiden (the tethered ghost) I would get to flip cars or posses people (which just triggered further quick time events).    

I'll say it again, the game is well rendered.
I did notice something. If I failed a quick time button mash, there was not a whole lot of penalty. Maybe a slow down here or there, or a reset causing me to climb a cliff a second time. Nothing lethal. Nothing game ending.

This inspired me.

I tried something on my second play through. Do as little as possible. I tried to avoid hitting the controller unless I had to. Through the 'learn the controls' tutorial, you were more or less forced to control actions. However, I ended my stint as Aiden as soon as possible, essentially making me wonder why I was getting the same 'emotional' scene. I was not half as violent or scary or anything, and yet the scene played out the same.

Ok. Then in the 'Hunted' half, well... I really went sparce on key presses. Forget escaping from the police on the train, I let them arrest me. Running from the police, I would only move the controller if the game refused to do anything. Once I sat for a few minutes before moving. When I moved, I waited until the quick time event began and the police were on my tail. Then I stopped using the controller. Somehow I still fell down the hill (no input from me), survived the three attack dogs (no input from me), ran across the river (no input from me), and survived getting shot. This was actually faster than trying to escape. I am not kidding.

Fine. Now I'm driving a motorcycle. I actually have to press the R2 to accelerate for a bit. But I refused to use my control sticks to turn. Don't worry, you can't crash, the road has an invisible barrier. Once again, as soon as I started the quick time event, I stopped pressing buttons. Arrested again. This time I have to use Aiden. Even better, if you do nothing the game yells at you and tells you what to do (this happened in the controls tutorial if you refused to walk). There appear to be multiple options to act upon, but the game tells you an auto success route. Of course at the end of the sequence I got the same end by doing nothing as I would have if I downed a helicopter.

My second play through was faster. This is a game that nearly plays itself. This is not really a 'game' so much as a 'semi-interactive movie.' 

You can either down a helicopter to get this scene, or do nothing, and still get this scene.
Ok, here comes my final review. I'm going to break it down into sections like I did on Time and Eternity. A reminder, this is just for the demo. Perhaps the full game is not so lackluster, but I do not plan on finding out. I'll save my $60 for something better.

Game Play: There was so little of this, I'm not sure I should even rate it. You can get through the entirety of the 'Hunted' or action part of the demo with maybe 15 button presses... maybe 20. I'm not playing so much as watching. Yes, I know this was a demo... but demo's should shine. This did not.
1.0 Stars
Graphics: Ok, these were quite good. The sets and scenery was ok, but the faces were very well done. Since all the action was shot with motion capture, people move pretty realistically.
4.0 Stars
Story: I really can't weigh too much in on this except to say, the game looks emotionally manipulative. But not in the good way. You can see this manipulation coming from a mile away.
2.0 Stars
Music / Sound FX: It has it. It really didn't do anything for me. It was not absolutely terrible nor was it astoundingly good. The Voice acting was good, if sometimes over the top. It was. 
2.5 Stars
Overall: Well, the demo convinced me of one thing. Save my money for something I want more. Maybe some Attack on Titan merchandise or save it for the AoT BD set. My recommendation: save your money.
1.5 Stars

This 'game' did not wow me.
I actually refuse to think of it as a game, it might be a visual choose-your-own-adventure novel, but it is more of an extended quick time event. One that you barely have to participate in.

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