Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: "Heavy Rain"

"Heavy Rain" is like a movie just like how an interactive story book is like a novel; it starts off with the same beginning and depending on the actions you take, you will arrive on different endings. I know there are many games that does this to some extent, but 'Heavy Rain' is a game that heavily focuses on this aspect. If you've played previous Quantic Dream games (eg, Indigo Prophecy) you'll know what this means.

Honestly, gameplay-wise, 'Heavy Rain' does not have much to offer. It mostly involves you walking around areas, giving you random things to interact with, and occasionally an action sequence which requires you to do certain stunts with your controller.

Jayden in an action sequence

Really there isn't much to the action sequences. When it tells you to press R1, you press R1 before the time is up. When it tells you to flick the controller to the right, you flick it before the time is up. When it tells you to hold R1, X, O, Square, L2 at the same time...well you get why I call it 'stunts'.

To make it worse, I truly hated the movement controls. R2 to walk and the R-analog stick to set direction? It's quite irritating, but you'll get used to it eventually I guess.

Scott Shelby, private eye

So what's so great about this game? This game is either a hit or a miss to you. Either you really like it, or you find it really pointless. Like I said, this game is like an interactive movie. It's actually classified as 'Interactive drama' on Wikipedia. As such, it is very very VERY story-driven. The key focus of the game is the decisions you can make.

Decisions. In Mass Effect, KOTOR, Fallout or any RPG that are somewhat considered 'open-ended', usually you have decisions to make that either scream "WHITE WHITE WHITE!" or "BLACK BLACK BLACK!". In Heavy Rain, there are more 'grey' decisions, decisions that are kinda hard to tell if it's going lead to a good thing or not. A good example without giving away much spoiler would be: To drink the poison or not if your son's life depended on it.

Ethan, on his way to becoming a dog

Of course, since this game is story driven, maybe you would want a brief overview. You play 4 characters throughout the game, rotationally (wow that's actually such a word): Ethan Mars, Scott Shelby, Norman Jayden and Madison Paige.

Ethan was an architect with 2 sons. 1st son died, got seperated with his wife, gained schizophrenia and take turns to take care of 2nd son. Along the way, 2nd son went missing and was suspected to be kidnapped by the Origami Killer, a serial killer that basically drowns young boys. The son is the 8th victim-to-be I think.

Scott is an ex-cop-turned-private eye running around to check on the victims' families. He aims to find the Origami Killer by himself. He suffers from asthma.

Madison is a female journalist who suffers from insomnia. To sleep well, she checks in on motels. She is also investigating on the Origami Killer case.

Jayden is a profiler (I think) from the FBI sent to investigate on the Origami Killer case. He is a 'nice-guy' in general, but gets his hands dirty if need be. He uses a prototype equipment known as 'ARI', which helps him analyze on scene data on the go as well as organize his findings. He is also a druggie and occasionally suffer from withdrawals.

Ethan, now a dog

Hmm, come to think of it, all the character you play has some sort of sickness. Interesting. Anyway, I wanted to add in more details, but they potentially contain spoilers, or lead to conclusions that can spoil the game. As you can probably tell from the characters I've very briefly described, the main question of the game is 'Who is the Origami Killer?'.

With that, I will conclude this review. It's not really a bad game. Despite the limited gameplay, the cutscenes, storyline, and excellent cinematography (I believe Quantic Dreams has their very own motion capture studio) were enough to hook me throughout the whole game. Sometimes I even wonder 'why am I playing this?' in which the reply was 'because I want to know who the hell is the Origami Killer'.

Yep, everyone's favorite chapter of the game

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it's a step back towards Dragon's Lair in terms of gameplay; has anyone made an "interactive movie" that feels like an actual game?

    I dunno... it has to happen one day. I still think I might give this game a miss for now, but when it starts coming down in price I'll probably take a look.