Epic Age Media provided me with a PDF copy of Powers Beyond: A Superpowered Roleplaying Epic, written by James Shade, for review purposes.
I'm a super hero RPG junkie. My first RPG was Champions 4E and soon after I owned Heroes Unlimited. I've played and run DC Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes, GURPS Supers, Mutants and Masterminds, etc. When I saw Powers Beyond I was curious and I liked the cover, so I contacted James who was kind enough to provide me with a PDF nearly a year ago. You might be wondering why it's taken that long to write a review? Well, simply put, as of today, the PDF still doesn't explain the games resolution system (James has assured me it uses a d10), but I'm not sure how to review a game when the PDF available to the public, doesn't feature that information.
I'll do my best to share what I do know for certain about Powers Beyond, though.
Layout reminds me quite a bit of Mayfair's DC Heroes 3rd Edition softcover, it's open and the text flows well, with the right column typically reserved for charts. It's colorful and the illustrations are all decent, though a bit amateurish. I'm not sure the font is my favorite, it's been thin for my old eyes, but it's not a deal breaker.
Part One is 90 pages long:
When creating a character you choose an Origin (Alien Life Form, Cyborg, Mage Spawn, Mind Master, to name a few) which adjusts your Vital Statistics (your attributes).
The Vital Statistics are Muscular Power, Mental Acuity, and Physical Agility and they range from 1 to 40. Vital Statistics are assigned by rolling 5d10 and picking the 3 highest number rolled and placing them where you want them. Secondary Values also exist and they are Damage Bonus (1/5 Muscular Power) and Knock Out and Fatality (both 10 x Muscular Power) ; Intelligence Bonus ( 1/5 Mental Acuity) and your RAD or Range/Area/Duration for powers (which is 10 x Mental Acuity); and finally, Initiative Bonus (1/5 Physical Agility) and Movement rate (which is 10 x Physical Agility).
Powers are defined as Major (you choose 1), Minor (you choose 2), and Variations (ways to refine a power). Regardless of wether a power is Major or Minor, it has a Base Power at it's core, which dictates what, if any, Variations are available. There are 8 categories of powers and they represent the super hero genre well. While it's not required, you can take Weaknesses (up to 3), that can give you extra Variations, Base powers, and Major powers.
You gain a number of Skills equal to your Intelligence bonus which are taken from a traditional list (additionally, instead of buying an additional skill, you may add a +1 to it per slot).
Experience is called Training and translates into Power Ups that let you do thinks like gain a Power (Magespawn's only), gain or improve Skills, improve Powers, or gain or improved dice. You gain a Power Up based on the DM's choice, much like DnD 5E's Milestone system.
There are rules for vehicles and accessories, as well, but I don't have a system laid out before me on how to perform task resolution, which is far more important, in my opinion.
Part Two is 122 pages long:
It contains a fairly typical setting, a 6 page adventure, fiction, creatures, foes, rumors, a demonstration of the game (that STILL doesn't explain task resolution), the Ultimate Scenario Generator (which is Trademarked--no, I'm NOT joking and has your roll a d20 or a d12 over 5 charts).
The setting isn't going to set the world on fire and may be useful to new gamers, but nothing new to share here.
Pros I don't have any, unless you loved TSR's Indiana Jones game, there is no reason to buy a game that has been for sale over a year without a task resolution system.
Cons see above, but if I had $20 for this PDF, even with a task resolution system, I'd feel cheated. I understand art is costly, but the Mutants and Masterminds PDF is the same price and there is no comparison here.