Beyond Two Souls – the upcoming title from the innovating Quantic Dream team – is in the scope of my spyglass as it will be here in just about two months. So with this in mind, it’s time to rate and review their two games I consider to be essentials: Indigo Prophecy (or as the larger portion of the world knows it, Fahrenheit), and Heavy Rain. Both involve a style of gameplay that, to my knowledge, is completely unique to Quantic Dream and is completely awesome. It’s because of these titles’ gameplay, that I was so immersed in, and felt connection with, their stories.
My rating for 2005’s Indigo Prophecy for PS2 is…
If the beginning of this game doesn’t immediately hook you to the character, plot, and gameplay, then there’s something wrong with you. It starts out with the lead character, Lucas, having killed some random guy in a public bathroom while his mind was under the control of an unknown force. Right after the sacrificial-style murder is done, Lucas regains his consciousness and realizes what has happened. He is shocked and mortified, to say the least, but still has to take action to keep this from getting out of hand. So, it’s up to the player to move the body, sweep up the blood, hide the weapon, wash up… or do none of the above! Decisions are left completely up to the player and whatever he/she will decide to do will have plenty of consequences. This first set of decisions alone will follow the player throughout the rest of the game, so there’s a lot riding on everything you do.
Scenes such as the one described above repeat and repeat as the mysterious fate of Lucas is revealed. The player is given a plethora of decisions to make, and the outcomes of every one will be learned before the final scene of the game. It’s really an interesting experience and has plenty of replay value since the player can always try different things to see what happens. The story follows generally the same path no matter what, but the specifics will vary…
There were a few things I didn’t like about this game, though. The graphics are not quite up to snuff, but that doesn’t get too annoying. What does get annoying is the playable scenes as “young Lucas”. They are not fun at all. Also, the action sequences play out by way of the player having to keep up with button sequences – like Dance Dance Revolution for action. It’s not fun and in some cases hard to keep up with. And it keeps us from actually enjoying the sequence that is playing out on the screen, because we are too busy looking at the button indicators!
Other than those things, I love Indigo Prophecy. It is one of my favorite games.
My rating for 2010’s Heavy Rain for PS3 is…
Heavy Rain is a story primarily about the sad character Ethan’s struggle to get his son back, and it completely leaves out any supernatural qualities making it a realistic, gritty crime drama.
The graphic update is very nice. It looks a LOT better than Indigo Prophecy. The storytelling and pace are more nice qualities. The emotion is there; the excitement definitely is too. It’s just an updated version of the gameplay style they envisioned with their previous release. The main flaw with it, though, is once I was done, I found myself satisfied with never playing it again. It exists more in my memory than it ever did in my life. And I personally disliked how the story wasn’t as open-ended as I expected. The player choices only make insignificant differences.
Heavy Rain is a nice exercise – a fun thing to experience – but it’s lacking in legacy for me.
So, I’m hoping the team’s next release – Beyond Two Souls – will have, above everything else, a really good, customizable story. I don’t care that much if the action sequences don’t play very well… I just care about how the story plays. The idea of the game spanning most of the main character’s life is really exciting to me! And perhaps they’ve come up with a way to make the game more replayable than Heavy Rain.