In this paranormal thriller, New York City is stunned by a series of mysterious murders that follow the same pattern: ordinary people become possessed and kill absolute strangers in public. The main characters of the story must uncover the supernatural forces behind these crimes. A good deal of publicity was generated from the developer's rejection of conventional game genre labeling for the title; Quantic Dream prefers to brand it as the first truly "interactive film" rather than an adventure or third-person action title. This game features a large amount of motion captured animation as well as branching story lines, split screen cameras and an interface designed to be intuitive and realistic. Event triggers in the game are also mainly time-based, as opposed to the more common player-initiated progression found in most games.
In the PC version of the game, control is via the keyboard and mouse, with key movements and mouse gestures used in conjunction in lieu of analog control sticks, although Windows gamepads with analog sticks are also supported.
A major component of the game is made up of large action set pieces, which are completely scripted, but which require reflexes to complete. During these scenes, two circular diagrams with colored segments (resembling the electronic Simon game) are superimposed over the full motion video, each one corresponding to one of the analog sticks. The diagrams depict sequences of control inputs, which the player must mimic in order to maneuver the character out of danger, similar to the gameplay of Dragon's Lair or the quick time event sequences in Shenmue. These action events are the points in which the game story may fork, choosing different options will result in different outcomes. Eventually, however, the stories will reconvene, as many dialog trees do.
The game also requires feats of endurance, involving the alternate pressing of the left and right shoulder buttons as rapidly as possible.
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