I have to begin this review of Echo Night: Beyond by saying that I am a huge fan of the series. But as much as I love the Echo Night games, I know they're not for everyone. If you enjoyed the first Echo Night game on the original Playstation, then you will probably like Echo Night: Beyond as it changes little from the original game's formula.
Beyond begins with a crash landing on a lunar space station. You wake up to find a message scrawled onto the seat in front of you, telling you to go to the facility. You remain in your spacesuit for the rest of the game and a HUD on your helmet gives you information about your battery life and heart rate. The health system in the game involves keeping your heart rate at a safe level. It spikes to dangerous levels when you get near ghosts.
Just as in the first Echo Night, your goal in this game is to help the ghosts by finding lost mementos or carrying out unfulfilled dying wishes. By doing this, you help them crossover into the otherworld. However, some of the ghosts are angry and must be exorcised or they will hurt you. This is usually done by finding and using key items to calm the ghost down.
The environments in the game are not highly detailed and the puzzles are not difficult. There are much better looking Playstation 2 games out there, and this game doesn't really compete against the likes of Fatal Frame or Silent Hill as far as suspense or horror are concerned. However, it is exactly because of this difference that the Echo Night games succeed. The story is undoubtedly the game's strong point. You are lost on the Moon with few other living souls, trying to find the woman you love. You spend most of your time wandering alone down empty halls or the barren lunar wasteland. And as you progress, the plot carefully culminates in one sad catharsis.
Beyond may not have been terrifying, but it is certainly haunting. Each of its four endings are rewarding in their own way.
Because Beyond is light on the action, relatively weak on graphics, and slow to develop, it will not appeal to people unfamiliar with the franchise. In fact, the game did not sell well and used copies can be picked up at game stores for under $10 USD. But it rightly belongs on the spectrum of survival-horror; or better, it expands the genre by going beyond the usual scare tactics.