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"[GAME] Heavy Rain"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Heavy Rain'.
Wed 17/03/10 at 12:08
Regular
"Not your monkey"
Posts: 2,104
Lets face it, there is little that does more to fuel the fire between console fan-boys than a highly anticipated console exclusive game. Games such as Halo and Unchartered 2 have done much to both push gaming boundaries and give their respective owners ammo for the 'eternal argument' of which console is better. Heavy Rain, the newest PS3 exclusive, is no exception.

I must state that I wont be giving any spoilers as I encourage you all to play through this if you have a PS3. The over all story is actually quite simple. As you play you cycle between 4 characters including the main character Ethan Mars, a married father of two. The "Origami killer" is at large and after the first 30 minutes or so your 'idealic' life is turned completely upside down. The other 3 playable characters are Private detective Scott Shelby, FBI agent Norman Jayden and a troubled insomniac called Maddison Page.

The promises made by the developer were exciting (but have been made before) : a dynamic story which would truly adapt to the decisions you make during the game. In my opinion, finding a game with a 'good' story is rare. Some of my personal favourites include Mafia, Bioshock and Deus Ex as I sympathised with characters and didn't feel like the story was an after thought to the action. Deus Ex was (as I remember) one of the first games to claim that the choices made by the player would affect the outcome of the game. Although this was a break through at the time, in reality all that this meant was that you could choose one of about 4 endings based on your final decisions. Games like Mass Effect etc have built on this but Heavy Rain takes it one step further still. Although you cannot change the major story aspects, the decisions made by each character really do affect who lives, who dies and which game scenes you play. It is quite feasible that minor differences in multiple play throughs will lead to hugely different fates for each character - it really is an impressive accomplishment and will inspire you to replay scenes thinking "What if I try...".

Perhaps the most talked about aspect is the control system. You get full freedom of movement to walk/explore and where you go and what you find (in a given scene) will also affect how the plot plays out. Interaction with people and objects however is controlled by choosing on screen prompts e.g. "circle to drink the beer, square to choose not too". Many of these are time limited so some have complained they are simply following quick time prompts to punch, dodge, kick etc and that it hardly qualifies as a game, just an interactive 'experience'. Personally, I enjoyed it and it added to the immersion I felt. Admittedly it was odd at first but if you define a game as something which you play and control then there is no doubt in my mind that this is merely a different control method. Give it time and you realise there is far more to Heavy Rain then quick time events.

There are some notable glitches however. In general the game is, as you would expect, absolutely beautiful. Its clear that lots of time went into the design as locations add tension or cause adrenaline rushes as necessary. However, there are too many occasions where textures pop/tear and animations or sound break or are not aligned. At some points I even had complete game crashes causing me to restart entire scenes. It's frustrating as these seem relatively easy things to sort out given complexity of the game's many other accomplishments.

In summary, this game is an exceptional achievement. It is truly engaging and induces feelings of genuine sympathy and anger based on the plot decisions that you yourself make. Despite the complaints I don't believe its merely an interactive movie although I agree there is a fine line. Take the time to look beyond your initial assumptions and you will find depth rarely found in a game. For me it's one of the best games of recent months and deserves a look from every PS3 owner.
Fri 19/03/10 at 11:02
Regular
"Not your monkey"
Posts: 2,104
Thanks for the feedback guys - I'm glad you enjoyed reading through it.

As I say, it's definitely worth the play through (and so is the DLC) but if you're an XBox guy then its not worth getting a PS3 solely for. Put it on a list with Unchartered 2 if you ever decide to pick up a cheap PS3 in a few years time ;-)
Wed 17/03/10 at 16:07
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
I would very much like to play it but it is looking like I'll need to wait another week or so before processing a 'lost in the post' claim. Good review though.
Wed 17/03/10 at 15:52
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
Fantastic review! I really admire your reviewing style. Top notch stuff. Shame I have an Xbox though :(
Wed 17/03/10 at 12:08
Regular
"Not your monkey"
Posts: 2,104
Lets face it, there is little that does more to fuel the fire between console fan-boys than a highly anticipated console exclusive game. Games such as Halo and Unchartered 2 have done much to both push gaming boundaries and give their respective owners ammo for the 'eternal argument' of which console is better. Heavy Rain, the newest PS3 exclusive, is no exception.

I must state that I wont be giving any spoilers as I encourage you all to play through this if you have a PS3. The over all story is actually quite simple. As you play you cycle between 4 characters including the main character Ethan Mars, a married father of two. The "Origami killer" is at large and after the first 30 minutes or so your 'idealic' life is turned completely upside down. The other 3 playable characters are Private detective Scott Shelby, FBI agent Norman Jayden and a troubled insomniac called Maddison Page.

The promises made by the developer were exciting (but have been made before) : a dynamic story which would truly adapt to the decisions you make during the game. In my opinion, finding a game with a 'good' story is rare. Some of my personal favourites include Mafia, Bioshock and Deus Ex as I sympathised with characters and didn't feel like the story was an after thought to the action. Deus Ex was (as I remember) one of the first games to claim that the choices made by the player would affect the outcome of the game. Although this was a break through at the time, in reality all that this meant was that you could choose one of about 4 endings based on your final decisions. Games like Mass Effect etc have built on this but Heavy Rain takes it one step further still. Although you cannot change the major story aspects, the decisions made by each character really do affect who lives, who dies and which game scenes you play. It is quite feasible that minor differences in multiple play throughs will lead to hugely different fates for each character - it really is an impressive accomplishment and will inspire you to replay scenes thinking "What if I try...".

Perhaps the most talked about aspect is the control system. You get full freedom of movement to walk/explore and where you go and what you find (in a given scene) will also affect how the plot plays out. Interaction with people and objects however is controlled by choosing on screen prompts e.g. "circle to drink the beer, square to choose not too". Many of these are time limited so some have complained they are simply following quick time prompts to punch, dodge, kick etc and that it hardly qualifies as a game, just an interactive 'experience'. Personally, I enjoyed it and it added to the immersion I felt. Admittedly it was odd at first but if you define a game as something which you play and control then there is no doubt in my mind that this is merely a different control method. Give it time and you realise there is far more to Heavy Rain then quick time events.

There are some notable glitches however. In general the game is, as you would expect, absolutely beautiful. Its clear that lots of time went into the design as locations add tension or cause adrenaline rushes as necessary. However, there are too many occasions where textures pop/tear and animations or sound break or are not aligned. At some points I even had complete game crashes causing me to restart entire scenes. It's frustrating as these seem relatively easy things to sort out given complexity of the game's many other accomplishments.

In summary, this game is an exceptional achievement. It is truly engaging and induces feelings of genuine sympathy and anger based on the plot decisions that you yourself make. Despite the complaints I don't believe its merely an interactive movie although I agree there is a fine line. Take the time to look beyond your initial assumptions and you will find depth rarely found in a game. For me it's one of the best games of recent months and deserves a look from every PS3 owner.

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