Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Interactive Drama
Release Date: PS3 Exclusive
NA – February 23, 2010
EU – February 24, 2010
AU – February 25, 2010
UK – February 26, 2010
Rating: ESRB M
Console Played On: PS3
Heavy Rain is one of those games that is not easily forgotten. The game stars four main characters, whose stories start separate, but gradually intertwine within each other to create a compelling, and emotionally driven storyline. The Origami Killer, a deranged lunatic who abducts children, murders them, and leaves behind a small origami figure within the child’s hand is the main antagonist of the game. The main character is Ethan, a distraught man who is struggling to keep his family together, and is pushed to the brink of insanity when his only son is kidnapped by the Origami Killer. His story, along with Madison, a photojournalist who suffers from insomnia; Norman, a profiler detective from the FBI covering the Origami Killer case; and Scott Shelby, a retired detective turned private investigator, become deeply woven in a powerfully emotional story.
Interactive dramas are not widely known as a popular style, so to pick one up and play it was an experience in and of itself. The game is played not on a scale of “beat the game or it is game over,” but rather an “every choice has a consequence.” Every action that is taken throughout the game influences what sort of ending is received and those consequences could cause any or all of the said main characters to die. The mystery of the Origami Killer could remain a mystery, and the kidnapping could end in murder, just as all the rest have. There are so many possibilities within the game; it is almost too complex to think about simply through words.
How far would you go to save your loved ones?
Graphically, the game is breathtaking. Within the game, the developers show how they modeled real people to achieve the facial expressions, which are so real it is as if a movie was being played. There are no animations where arms glitch funny, or a leg mysteriously falls through the floor. The motions were all captured using tiny cameras on real human bodies. Therefore, if an arm can bend in a certain way, then it can in the game. This plays in well with the trials that Ethan will have to face to save his son from the killer. Everything was rendered from the same images and polygons, so the cutscene characters are the same ones being used to play through the game.
The gameplay mechanics are simple, and yet quite complex at the same time. On a very basic level, Heavy Rain is played with a series of well timed button presses, tapping and holding, with a mixture of joystick rotating and controller shaking. Combining some or all of these actions together will allow the character currently being used to interact with his or her environment or surroundings. This can be as simple as pressing X, or as complex as holding X first, until square shows up, holding that and X, and then shaking the controller to allow the character to climb a fence. Quantic Dream really did a wonderful job integrating a simple control scheme to feel more involved than it really is. During the course of the game, R2 will allow the player to listen to the thoughts of your character at any given moment. This not only allows insight of what the character is thinking, but allows greater depth and understanding of the characters within the game.
Listen to the thoughts of your characters, they’ll help you through the game.
The story speaks volumes for itself. I personally got emotional through various parts of the game, and was involved from beginning to end. At the very beginning, it can be a little slow at first, but the game really uses that introduction to teach players the functionality of the controls, and how your actions change the outcomes. The player will also be presented with moral choices to make through the game that make the player question whether or not the decision that was made was actually right. The game, as spoken by the producer, is only meant to be played through once though, as you get the best experience making all of the choices the first time around, and reaping those consequences (both good and bad) the entire way through. At any point in time, the decisions and actions can be costly, even going as far as to killing off all of the main story characters, allowing the Origami Killer to remain free.
I can honestly say the only flaw within the game is the fact that it is really only meant to be played once through. The decisions that are made the first time around are spontaneous and, therefore, are the staple of how the game is meant to be played. Afterwards, obtaining trophies is all that is really left, and that is simply a matter of replaying chapters in a different fashion to earn them. Do not get me wrong, the first play through will be glorious in and of itself. However, like a good book, once the ending has been revealed, re-reading that book does not have the same luster as it did prior.
The player’s actions can cause a character to die at any moment.
Overall, Heavy Rain is a must have for anyone looking for the reason why gaming is an art form, and not just a hobby. With a compelling storyline, a gripping plot, beautiful surroundings, and one of the most unique ways of playing a game that I have ever experienced, Heavy Rain is a game that in and of itself makes having a PS3 worthwhile.
+Incredible story and realism.
+Highly fleshed out characters
+Unique gameplay (enhanced with Playstation Move)
~Gripping story from beginning to end
~Interactive drama is brand new for PS3, and is a unique genre overall
~Listening to the thoughts of the characters
Rating: 10 of 10