If you’re a gamer and you value story over anything else, you’ve probably played Heavy Rain and/or Beyond: Two Souls at some point. If you haven’t, though, you’re in for a treat. Both games were released exclusively for the PS3 last-gen, and they’re now out in a bundle to let you experience them both on the PS4. Both games were developed by Quantic Dream and so both experiences are similar. Each one plays out essentially like a movie that you have control over- depending on how you interact with the environment and how you react to quick time events in action scenes, both games will take you down various branching paths until you reach your own unique conclusion.
Let’s go in depth about each game individually. Heavy Rain is a noir thriller centered around catching the “Origami Killer” and is told from four different perspectives- the father of a child who may be the killer’s next victim; an asthmatic PI, a drug addicted FBI profiler; and an insomniac, nightmare-plagued journalist. Each character plays in a unique fashion and each will have to deal with their individual demons as they strive to take down the devil together. Certain characters may die along the way (depending on your decisions), giving you plenty of alternate endings to discover. No matter how you play, though, the story is absolutely gripping, and while Heavy Rain starts slow, there will be a point where you don’t want to put your controller down just so you can see what happens next.
Beyond: Two Souls is a little bit different in that it has a much more fantastical premise. You play as Jodie (voiced by Ellen Page), a girl who shares a soul with a spirit named Aiden. Along with researcher Nathan Dawkins (voiced by Willem Dafoe), Jodie learns a lot about the paranormal world and what place it has in our normal existence. On the PS3, this story jumped around through Jodie’s life (going from young Jodie to future Jodie to teenage Jodie a little too quickly), which was the source of many complaints about the title- the storytelling mechanic was simply not done well. Quantic Dream listened to these complaints, though, and the PS4 version allows you to play through events in chronological order. This makes the plot much more solid and results in a better experience for the player.
When it comes to graphical overhauls (one of the biggest draws of re-releases like this), the new versions aren’t huge steps up from their last-gen counterparts, but the original graphics were so good that you’re likely to forget that you’re playing a last-gen game less than an hour into the experience anyway.
Overall, the price point is good enough for two full games, and the original story of Heavy Rain packaged with the updated Beyond: Two Souls makes this bundle a great choice for anyone looking for a pair of great stories in game form. While more recent games have nailed the formula better (looking at you, Until Dawn), anyone who loves a cinematic, story-driven experience will find this purchase to be worth it.