Heavy Rain vs. Beyond: Two Souls

Heavy Rain vs. Beyond: Two Souls

Revisiting David Cage's past projects

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Versus on

Quantic Dream may not have created many games over the years yet their unique story-driven narratives are definitely top-notch. So, let's look back at 2 of their previous games and see which one better stands the test of time.

Photo of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls for PlayStation 3
I wish I had a cool SteelBook case for Heavy Rain, too

Characters

Heavy Rain has you alternate between 4 characters: a single father named Ethan Mars, an FBI agent named Norman Jayden, a journalist named Madison Paige, and a private investigator named Scott Shelby. Each character has their own flaws and struggles with Madison being an insomniac, Ethan having depression, and Norman being an addict. Although Scott seems the most put together, there ends up being a lot more to him than you'd initially think. Meanwhile, Beyond: Two Souls has you play as Jodie Holmes who can interact with a ghost-like being known as Aiden. A paranormal doctor named Nathan Dawkins studied Jodie since she was a kid and tries to help her deal with her abilities. Later, CIA agent Eric Winter recruits her only for her to eventually quit and try to live freely. Although I appreciate the cast of Heavy Rain, I found the character development in Beyond: Two Souls to be much more fleshed out so it wins here.

Story

Heavy Rain's plot is told through 4 individuals' perspectives while Beyond: Two Souls' is presented out of sequence which forces you to piece everything together for yourself. Also, Heavy Rain features a realistic narrative in that I could imagine the unfolding events to actually happen in real life but Beyond: Two Souls is science fiction heavy and it gets quite ridiculous near the end, especially with a new dimension known as the Infraworld being introduced. I definitely don't want to spoil either of the stories in case you haven't played them for yourself but I will say that Heavy Rain has a better story considering how nuanced and frighteningly realistic it is.

Heavy Rain screenshot
Heavy Rain is much more than a depressed single father simulator

Gameplay

Heavy Rain's controls force you to hold R2 to walk then copy onscreen button prompts to interact with points of interest or take part in action-intense quick time events. It feels visceral and satisfying although the onscreen prompts take a lot of authenticity out of the equation. Thankfully, Beyond: Two Souls utilizes minimal button prompts, features more natural movement, and allows you to control Aiden where you float around and interact with people and objects. The fact that the action slows down and you have to figure out where to tilt the stick instead of being prompted with a specific direction makes it a much more fluid experience so it wins here.

Endings

Warning: this section will contain major spoilers! With that out of the way, Heavy Rain has multiple endings that range from supremely satisfying to completely disheartening depending on how many of the characters succeeded in their hunt for the Origami Killer. Seeing Ethan reunite with his son or the Origami Killer get away with his crimes as he frames Ethan are very different ways to end the story and both are worth watching. Beyond: Two Souls gets so abstract by the end that I didn't really care about either of its endings, both of which can be viewed by simply choosing a different prompt right at the end so obviously, Heavy Rain has the better endings.

Beyond: Two Souls screenshot
Beyond: Two Souls will make you wonder if he's Willem Dafriend or Willem Dafoe

David Cage and his team at Quantic Dream created 2 amazing story-driven games here but I have to choose a winner which is...

Winner Heavy Rain

Although I appreciate the character development and gameplay of Beyond: Two Souls a great deal, Heavy Rain's story remains one of the best in cinematic video game history with all of its subtleties, twists, and gripping scenarios. The fact that it features a wide range of endings that occur as a direct result of how you played as each character makes it an impressively well-rounded and engaging game that's worth experiencing for yourself even in this day and age.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

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