Gaming reviews: Beyond: Two Souls; Pokémon X and Y; Dragon's Crown
Beyond: Two Souls
Sony Computer Entertainment
Following 2010's Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream's latest adventure steps further towards the glow of the silver screen by employing Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page as the main characters. Page's Jodie is born with a mysterious spirit companion and studied by Defoe's fatherly Dr Nathan in a research facility until the CIA coerces her into assisting their operations.
Simple to play, a shake of the control pad does everything from chopping an onion to striking matches, as the action passes through lab rooms to wide-open Navajo desert, and war-torn Africa. The non-linear narrative twists and doubles back on itself, illustrated by lush visuals that squeeze every last cinematic possibility from the aging PS3, making for a compelling experience.
There's been much debate over the actual "gaming" content, but as with last year's The Walking Dead, Beyond: Two Souls shows plot-driven titles can be successful provided the lack of interaction is mitigated by good presentation and storytelling.
Pokémon X and Y
Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Although Pokémon X and Y are the first in the monster-battling series to be fully animated in 3D, there's still the same mixture of colourful critters, simple yet deep RPG-style gameplay and an enormous world to explore. After a run of unambitious iterations, in this sixth generation we see a glorious overhaul of the whole look and feel. You can customise your character, all Pokémon are characterfully animated, and there's a new type: Fairy. No colossal deviations from the formula, but with 80-odd new gribblies and loads to get up to, it remains a stunning gaming experience.
PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
A traditional side-scrolling fantasy hack'n'slash, Dragon's Crown adds RPG elements and enjoyable co-op play. The game revolves around impossibly breasted women and impossibly muscled men battling monsters and demons – so a lot of design choices may put some off. Hidden behind this adolescent design style is a combat and levelling system that adds great depth. You can also play with friends to use each others' strengths to negotiate increasingly hectic stages. With quests that require players to complete challenges on earlier levels, the process feels less of a grind than in similar games.
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