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"Heavy Rain"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Heavy Rain'.
Tue 23/03/10 at 13:27
Regular
Posts: 2,781
Story
Managing a solid mix of stylish noir ala Se7en and torture thriller ala Saw, Heavy Rain certainly stands out with its uncommonly involved story, which revolves around a group of individuals tied together by the mysterious Origami Killer. The protagonist - Ethan Mars - is a man trying to atone for past mistakes and get his kidnapped son back, while other characters, such as Boston-impersonating FBI agent Norman Jayden and P.I. Scott Shelby, attempt to close the case, and a hotshot photographer, Madison Paige, also becomes embroilled in the mess.

While the story borrows a lot from the aforementioned films - and in fact, if you're a film buff, some of the plotting might seem just a touch hokey - it's more the execution than anything that makes it work, for Heavy Rain offers the ultimate in choice, ensuring that every player has a different experience, to the extent that you're able to end the game with all of the main characters dead. It's impressive how far the story branches, for while locations largely stay the same, character actions can vary widely, and the kind of planning that must have gone into it is incredible. Moreover, while a lot of the game's attempts at poignance fall flat, several - such as a quaint scene between Ethan and his son at a park, and another, where you're given the choice to kill a drug dealer or let him go - are enhanced greatly by Cage's keen cinematic eye and his unique interpretation of the video game medium, which fields more than a few clever curve-balls that the player won't expect. To that extent, the reveal of the killer is pleasingly minimalistic - there are no epic, sweeping overtures, and although it's one aspect of Heavy Rain that's going to divide players - it's nowhere near as barmy as the third-act problems that plagued Fahrenheit.

8.5

Gameplay
Heavy Rain refines and hones the mechanics of Quantic Dream's previous Fahrenheit; this time there aren't any reloads if you fluff up, and the smallest actions can influence the world around you, so you'd best keep an eye out. To this extent the comprehensive gameplay - which allows you to perform even the most mundane of actions should you wish - keeps the player on edge (as you're unsure what is going to be important later), while also gearing up for some superlative set-pieces which will test your reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination, as you frantically mash a QTE button sequence in order to evade a foe.

By and large the game's strongest element, it is mired by a few irritating elements; on-screen prompts tell you which way to manipulate the controller to perform a given action, but unlike Cage's previous game, there's no on-screen icon to tell you what that action is, meaning proximate items like a window sill and a sink may become confused due to what seems to be quite lazy programming. Also, the control system - which requires R2 to walk - is ultimately more cumbersome than beneficial, resulting in some Shenmue-esque problems, where you'll get caught in the environment.

However, the plusses totally outweigh the negatives, and given the game's hulking ambition, a few snaffoos are acceptable.

8.5

Graphics
It's fair to say that Heavy Rain is a great looking game; perhaps it doesn't live up to the E3 video, but it's still wonderfully presented for the most part, with Cage placing the camera angle decisions in the choice of the player, making them the director, and allowing them to, with the press of a button, change the perspective. The chief complaint is that the textures are quite inconsistent - some, such as the characters and their clothes - are magnificent, while more mundane objects look distractingly bland, but still, for where it counts most, the game certainly delivers. The quality of the lip-sync is especially startling, as are the vast environments you're able to access via Jayden's ARI glasses.

8.5

Sound
Aurally, the game excels largely because of a film-grade soundtrack that propels the drama forward, ratcheting up the emotion while not allowing it to descend too deeply into histrionics. During the game's more intense sequences, it'll make your heart beat even faster, and though Cage managed a major coup when he scored Angelo Badalamenti for his previous game, this is a score that's equally robust.

Problems abound with the main other aural element, though; the dialogue. It appears that Cage has hired primarily French actors, who will obviously not understand the small intonations and inflections that effectively convey convincing emotion. Thus, some of the voice performances - chiefly Ethan and his kids - sound rather flat and bemusing, while Norman Jayden's Boston accent isn't without its slips. Given how firmly the game is rooted in its story, it's odd that Cage wouldn't just hire American actors, when you consider how important it is that the storyline plays out authentically. That said, the voice actors of Paige and Shelby are excellent, and once the story ramps up, you'll probably be too engrossed to care too much about the flimsy voice work.

8.0

Value
The game will only last about 8 hours on a first playthrough, but for those interested enough in the story and the choice system, you'll want to go back for a few plays and see how things can otherwise play out, and how Cage pulled off some of the later narrative conceits. For the casual player, though, it might occasion more of a rental, if not only for the short length, but for the divisive nature of the game.

8.0

[/u]Overall (not an average)[/u]
Heavy Rain is far from perfect; David Cage hasn't learned as many storytelling lessons as he could have from Fahrenheit for starters, but this is a game that asks impressive questions about the future of gaming, and though its reception with audiences remains to be seen, it's certainly the type of game we should be encouraging. This is a brave, bold game that lacks pollish in a few areas, but still delivers in most every way it promised to.

8.5

Thanks for reading,
Reefer
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Tue 23/03/10 at 13:27
Regular
Posts: 2,781
Story
Managing a solid mix of stylish noir ala Se7en and torture thriller ala Saw, Heavy Rain certainly stands out with its uncommonly involved story, which revolves around a group of individuals tied together by the mysterious Origami Killer. The protagonist - Ethan Mars - is a man trying to atone for past mistakes and get his kidnapped son back, while other characters, such as Boston-impersonating FBI agent Norman Jayden and P.I. Scott Shelby, attempt to close the case, and a hotshot photographer, Madison Paige, also becomes embroilled in the mess.

While the story borrows a lot from the aforementioned films - and in fact, if you're a film buff, some of the plotting might seem just a touch hokey - it's more the execution than anything that makes it work, for Heavy Rain offers the ultimate in choice, ensuring that every player has a different experience, to the extent that you're able to end the game with all of the main characters dead. It's impressive how far the story branches, for while locations largely stay the same, character actions can vary widely, and the kind of planning that must have gone into it is incredible. Moreover, while a lot of the game's attempts at poignance fall flat, several - such as a quaint scene between Ethan and his son at a park, and another, where you're given the choice to kill a drug dealer or let him go - are enhanced greatly by Cage's keen cinematic eye and his unique interpretation of the video game medium, which fields more than a few clever curve-balls that the player won't expect. To that extent, the reveal of the killer is pleasingly minimalistic - there are no epic, sweeping overtures, and although it's one aspect of Heavy Rain that's going to divide players - it's nowhere near as barmy as the third-act problems that plagued Fahrenheit.

8.5

Gameplay
Heavy Rain refines and hones the mechanics of Quantic Dream's previous Fahrenheit; this time there aren't any reloads if you fluff up, and the smallest actions can influence the world around you, so you'd best keep an eye out. To this extent the comprehensive gameplay - which allows you to perform even the most mundane of actions should you wish - keeps the player on edge (as you're unsure what is going to be important later), while also gearing up for some superlative set-pieces which will test your reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination, as you frantically mash a QTE button sequence in order to evade a foe.

By and large the game's strongest element, it is mired by a few irritating elements; on-screen prompts tell you which way to manipulate the controller to perform a given action, but unlike Cage's previous game, there's no on-screen icon to tell you what that action is, meaning proximate items like a window sill and a sink may become confused due to what seems to be quite lazy programming. Also, the control system - which requires R2 to walk - is ultimately more cumbersome than beneficial, resulting in some Shenmue-esque problems, where you'll get caught in the environment.

However, the plusses totally outweigh the negatives, and given the game's hulking ambition, a few snaffoos are acceptable.

8.5

Graphics
It's fair to say that Heavy Rain is a great looking game; perhaps it doesn't live up to the E3 video, but it's still wonderfully presented for the most part, with Cage placing the camera angle decisions in the choice of the player, making them the director, and allowing them to, with the press of a button, change the perspective. The chief complaint is that the textures are quite inconsistent - some, such as the characters and their clothes - are magnificent, while more mundane objects look distractingly bland, but still, for where it counts most, the game certainly delivers. The quality of the lip-sync is especially startling, as are the vast environments you're able to access via Jayden's ARI glasses.

8.5

Sound
Aurally, the game excels largely because of a film-grade soundtrack that propels the drama forward, ratcheting up the emotion while not allowing it to descend too deeply into histrionics. During the game's more intense sequences, it'll make your heart beat even faster, and though Cage managed a major coup when he scored Angelo Badalamenti for his previous game, this is a score that's equally robust.

Problems abound with the main other aural element, though; the dialogue. It appears that Cage has hired primarily French actors, who will obviously not understand the small intonations and inflections that effectively convey convincing emotion. Thus, some of the voice performances - chiefly Ethan and his kids - sound rather flat and bemusing, while Norman Jayden's Boston accent isn't without its slips. Given how firmly the game is rooted in its story, it's odd that Cage wouldn't just hire American actors, when you consider how important it is that the storyline plays out authentically. That said, the voice actors of Paige and Shelby are excellent, and once the story ramps up, you'll probably be too engrossed to care too much about the flimsy voice work.

8.0

Value
The game will only last about 8 hours on a first playthrough, but for those interested enough in the story and the choice system, you'll want to go back for a few plays and see how things can otherwise play out, and how Cage pulled off some of the later narrative conceits. For the casual player, though, it might occasion more of a rental, if not only for the short length, but for the divisive nature of the game.

8.0

[/u]Overall (not an average)[/u]
Heavy Rain is far from perfect; David Cage hasn't learned as many storytelling lessons as he could have from Fahrenheit for starters, but this is a game that asks impressive questions about the future of gaming, and though its reception with audiences remains to be seen, it's certainly the type of game we should be encouraging. This is a brave, bold game that lacks pollish in a few areas, but still delivers in most every way it promised to.

8.5

Thanks for reading,
Reefer

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