Joystick: “Beyond: Two Souls” an evolution in gameplay?

There was big news coming out of E3 this week, from “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” sequels to “Sleeping Dogs,” the “True Crime”-inspired action game.

Among the most exciting games to come out of E3 is “Beyond: Two Souls.” Made by Quantic Dream, the game feels like a movie, which is exactly what the developer wanted. This game could be the next step in the entertainment industry’s quest to merge cinema with virtual reality.

Quantic Dream has a history of breathtaking gameplay, and only recently came to attention through its breakout game “Heavy Rain,” about four people’s daily struggles amidst a serial killer’s murder spree. Before that, gamers may have played “Indigo Prophecy” or “Omikron.”

“Heavy Rain” put the company on the map in a big way, as the graphically superior, choice-inspired gameplay created dramatic tension without an overt amount of violence. The noir-type storytelling earned Quantic Dream many accolades, from three British Academy Video Game Awards to several Playstation 3 Game of the Year honors in 2010.

Yet Quantic Dream wants to expand on what it calls “interactive storytelling,” in “Beyond: Two Souls.” This game, which stars Ellen Page as a mysterious girl who appears to have a mysterious power, claims to deal with what happens after death while following Jodie Holmes as she grows up, according to preliminary reports.

There’s a couple reasons to get excited about this game:

1. “Beyond: Two Souls” appears to wade through heavy issues most games gloss over. Whereas it feels like a lot of games contain serious subjects only to advance the gameplay, Quantic Dream’s emphasis on plot means an intelligent-seeming approach to an otherwise standard-looking action game.

2. Quantic Dream’s game engine is something to be excited about. Ever since the company released the “Kara” video in March, people have gone nuts over the company’s technology. The “Kara” video’s simple premise — an android develops the ability to think, which causes issues for her operator — showcases some of the slickest, most realistic expressions seen thus far. It’s a testament to incredibly detailed, powerful technology and raises the bar for more lifelike games.

It remains to be seen whether “Beyond: Two Souls” lives up to its hype. With a company like Quantic Dream helming the project, there’s a lot to be excited about, despite what appears to be another big-budget action game. With star power and a surreal engine, “Beyond: Two Souls” is a big game to look out for.

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