Yea yea I know I’m late since this game came out a few years back. But I discovered Beyond:Two Souls (B:TS) and I wanted to see what all the hype was about by playing Quantic Dream’s critically acclaimed game, Heavy Rain, before sinking into B:TS. I finished the game last night and I’m eager to play B:TS.
Warning: Spoiler’s Ahead
Starting off this game, I wasn’t really interested in the concept because I feel that quicktime event sequence (QTE) isn’t my type of game. But once the game began to play I was taken aback at how good the graphics are. The visuals are stunning, right down to the details of the face.
During the sequence of the game, you play as three different characters:
Ethan Mars: The main protagonist of the game. After the death of his first son and a divorce, he tries his best to be a good dad for this second child, Shaun. But soon he’ll realize the limits of being human. Can he do anything for his child?
Madison Paige: A journalist who is damaged by her insomnia and the fear of death. She soon gets herself intertwined with Ethan as he looks for his son.
Norman Jayden: An FBI agent who investigates the Origami Killer case while trying to prove that Ethan Mars is innocent. Using his ARI glasses, he can search out every clue in a crime scene as well as live in a virtual reality. But his body has become so used to the virtual reality that he has attacks and relies on a drug called Triptocaine.
Scott Shelby: A once-upon-a-time cop who has become a private investigator for distraught parents who have lost their child to the Origami Killer. He is scarred by his childhood where he watched as his twin brother drowned.
The game starts off in a beautiful day where Ethan Mars wakes up in his big house, waiting for his wife (Grace) and two kids (Jason&Shaun) to return home for Jason’s birthday party. Ethan is an architect and seems like a happy guy. But quite often as stories start off as sunny and cheerful… things seem to turn to shit. And in this game, it’s no exception.
One day, as Ethan and his family go shopping, Jason wanders off and Ethan follows him. After buying him a red balloon, Jason again wanders off while he pays the clown (never trust clowns!). Rushing through the crowd of people, he finally finds Jason across the street. As he calls for him, Jason begins to cross back. Just as sudden as an oncoming car is about to hit him, Ethan jumps to try and save him. But it’s too late as they’re both hit resulting in Ethan being in a coma and Jason dying.
The game then jumps to present where Ethan is living a single life in a notsoprettyhouse and suffers from agoraphobia from the shocking loss of Jason. He picks up Shaun, now a notsohappyemotionless boy from school and tries to be a good father to him. One day, he brings him to the park and while Shaun is on the Merry-Go-Round, Ethan is attacked by his sickness and blacks out. As he recovers he realizes that he left Shaun in the park and scrambles to find him… but it’s too late as Shaun disappears.
He soon finds out that Shaun has become the latest victim of the Origami Killer, a mysterious killer who kidnaps kids, traps them in a hole, and they eventually drown from the rainfall after a few days. The Origami Killer then leaves an orchid on the corpse and an origami dog in the hand.
The game has various possible endings, where every action you decide on will affect the ending. The characters can die too, depending on your fast reflexes during the QTE, which will hinder the progression of the story. So whether you succeed in saving Shaun Mars or not is all up to your actions.
Ethan is contacted by the Origami Killer by receiving a few pieces of origami, each containing a task that he must perform alone if he wants to find out where Shaun is. In total there are 5 tasks:
1. Drive for 5 miles on the wrong side of the highway
2. Traversing an abandoned power plant by crawling through a dark tunnel littered with shattered glass, and through electric wires
3. Chop off the top of his pinky with various methods that are available in the room (ouch!)
4. Assassinate a drug dealer in his home
5. Drink a vial of poison
During each of Ethan’s trials, you can’t help but feel the pain that he goes through (especially the chopping off the pinky part o.o). He can either give up his depressed life or fight to do anything to save his son. And as you play as him through the trials, you feel the strain of being in his shoe. You start to ask yourself, can you really do anything to save your child. it’s so psychological and depressing that I wouldn’t help but tear up at points in the game. And this is what makes Heavy Rain a great game.
Throughout the game you meet many other non-playable characters such as Blake the cop partner of Norman Jayden who is adamant that Ethan is the Origami Killer and Lauren Winter, a mom who becomes an escort after the death of her son and becomes a partner of Scott Shelby in his investigation.
I really enjoyed playing as Norman Jayden because of his cool glasses called ARI. While equipped with the sensory gloves, Norman can find clues in a crime scene and investigate them further. He can also enter a virtual reality where his surroundings can become a nature scene and he can investigate the clues he had found earlier with the movements of his hands (sort of like Minority Report). Although he’s cool, he suffers from a sudden loss of what is real and what is not and gets panic attacks where you can either walk him to the washroom to wash his face with water or take a blue liquid drug called Triptocaine.
As all games go though, there are some flaws that I’ve found in the game. Sometimes when your character is faced with a few options to respond with, the camera angle makes it kind of difficult to read them. Also camera angle is a problem sometimes when you are walking, especially up/down stairs or the part where you’re crawling in the tunnel… it becomes frustrating when the character doesn’t move the way you want them too. As I said earlier, I’m not a big fan of QTE games as i have horrible reflexes lol. The game forgives you a few times if you make some mistakes but after more mistakes you will fail. I also couldn’t find out why after Ethan’s blackouts he has an origami dog in his hand… is it just an illusion? In fact, Ethan questions this as well as he starts to feel like he is indeed the Origami Killer and he is testing himself if he is worthy to be Shaun’s father after he failed to save Jason.
The game has various possible endings and there is really only one “perfect ending”… which I got (YES! LOL). The perfect ending involves Norman, Madison, and Ethan finding Shaun and saving him. Madison and Ethan then lives happily ever after with Shaun, while Norman quits Triptocaine and becomes famous for saving Shaun and killing the Origami Killer. In the other endings, the characters either all die or give up and fail to find Shaun. Ethan is arrested for being the Origami Killer and kills himself in jail. There is a trophy though if you manage to play through the game a few more times to get all possible endings… but I don’t think I can handle the emotional game anymore haha… going through everything all over again >.<
All in all I enjoyed playing the game. It’s visually stunning and the story is so psychological that you feel as if you are really the characters. Whether you end up liking the characters or not you can’t help but feel sympathetic for them as they are haunted by their past and suffer from their individual illnesses. I’m not a fan of QTE but after a while you seem to get used to it and the game is just as fun.
Overall I give it a 4/5… there are some flaws but i’ll give it to them that it may be because the game came out a few years ago. But the graphics are amazing nonetheless. Although… I sort of wish that one of the possible endings was for Ethan to get back with his wife. Hmm… look forward to Beyond: Two Souls review!!!!