Heavy Rain Review
Reviewed By: Jimmy Kovalski
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Adventure/Interactive Drama
M For Mature: Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
MOVE Support: Yes
Platform: Playstation 3
“A risky gameplay choice by Quantic Dream pays off with an exhilarating thrill ride that will leave you wanting more.”
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of the review; let me just say that Heavy Rain starts off very slow and at times you will wonder if the game will ever pick up. However; once you get past this the game turns into a non-stop, heart pounding thrill ride that will leave you on the edge of your seat and you definitely won’t put the controller down for a while.
Heavy Rain is the story about the Origami Killer. This killer kidnaps children, drowns them and when they are found they always have an orchid on their chest and an origami figure in their hand. The game has you play through the eyes of four very different characters. The game does a great job of making you feel really connected with each and as you would expect and they all tie in to each other at some point or another. The main bulk of the story revolves around saving one particular child. The child belongs to one of the main characters and you are asked to do certain tasks to retrieve the kid before time runs out and he eventually drowns by the rain. As you would have guessed by the title, rain does play a major part. The killer only kidnaps during the fall months when it rains the most. He then stores the children in an area that floods once it rain approximately 6 inches. This gives little time for anyone to try and save the kid and that’s exactly how the game plays out. As playing Ethan Mars (The Dad of the child) you will go through several harsh and physically demanding trials to try and save your kid and you have very little time to do so. You will also play through the eyes of Scott Shelby, who is a private freelance detective who is investigated the cases of the killer on his own terms. The other two characters are Madison Paige, who is a journalist that just so happens to accidentally get involved in the whole thing and Norman Jayden, a FBI profiler whose is sent in to help the local police force to try and catch the killer.
The story is one of the best stories you will find in any game and will have you guessing and on the edge of your seat the whole time. Where the game really shines is in making you really feel a connection will every single character. In every single action you make, you will undoubtedly question whether or not it was the right action and if it will harm any of these characters. The voice acting really helps this connection as it is done very well. The original score is also excellent and properly sets the mood with dark and dreary tones. The one real different thing that Heavy Rain does that most games don’t touch is the ability for your characters to die. In several cases, if you fail, your character can die. This does not end the game however. The game will continue as if nothing happened but expect the ending to be drastically different. Speaking of endings, the game has around 22 different endings and believe me; you will want to see every one of them.
The most controversial and most discussed aspect of this game is easily the gameplay. Quantic Dream chose to make every interaction with anything a real-time button sequence. Any fighting, drinking, diaper changing or shooting you do will be through a sequence of button presses and analog stick movements. You can move your character freely throughout the environments and there is almost a remarkable number of things you can do in the environment. You can even do normal everyday things like take a shower, set the dinner table, watch TV, and listen to some tunes or even juggling some oranges. The game is very linear and besides the interactions with the immediate environment, there is little exploration. This however is not a big deal since it probably would have felt out of place in a game like this. The quick time events really work well, but expect your fingers to do some twisting because some of the events can be downright difficult especially in the higher difficulties. There are three distinct difficulties and all are based on how familiar you are with the controller and expect you to use every aspect of your Dualshock 3 controller, yes even the sixaxis. Some events have you hold up to 4 or five buttons at once! This can be difficult but besides this, the game isn’t that difficult so I recommended playing on the hardest setting. The one downfall to the gameplay is the simple task of moving your character throughout the environment. To move you must hold down the R2 button and move with the left stick. The movement of your character can be downright clumsy at times and you will even struggle getting through a simple doorway. This won’t happen all the time but enough for you to get a little frustrated. The sixaxis actions you are asked to do also sometimes don’t register. For them to properly register you must hold your controller at an even level. This can sometimes be frustrating especially when some actions can mean the difference between life and death.
On the graphics side the game is very beautiful to look at and at times looks almost photo-realistic. There are times, however; that the textures will pop-in, lesser characters aren’t detailed as much and some animations can look very silly. But overall this is a pretty game that will leave you in awe at times. As I stated previously, the voice acting is done very well, however; sometimes the characters do sound a bit off, but the voice actors do an all-around decent job at convincing you to care about their characters. The score is one of the best around and really captures the mood.
You will most likely complete the game in around 10-12 hours which is a decent length. You will most likely play through the game at least twice maybe even three times just to see different endings or different story sequences. There is a chapter select menu which will allow you to go back and play through any of the games 25+ chapters. I found myself playing through the same chapter multiple times and selecting different actions just to see if it would change anything, and in most cases it did. There are so many possibilities to see different things. It is true that five people could play this game and come away with five totally different experiences. The game begs to be played multiple times.
Heavy Rain is a gaming experience that should not be missed. The story (once it picks up) will have you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very end credits rolls. There are some hick-cups here and there but if can overlook these very minor problems, you will come away from this game with your jaw on the floor and wanting to play it again and again. Bottom Line: If you haven’t played Heavy Rain yet, go out and get it. It should not be missed.
-Excellent story from beginning to end.
-Great characters that you will truly care about.
-Really impressive visuals and sound.
-Some minor texture pop-ins.
-A very few and small plot-holes in the story.
-Some button combos are down-right finger cramping.
-Some button presses or controller motions do not register.
Final Verdict: 9/10