It has been a long wait, but it’s finally here… Heavy Rain for the PlayStation 3 has arrived! Quantic Dream, the company that brought us the cult classic Indigo Prophecy so many years ago, is making its return in the form of this PS3 exclusive. With a heavy focus on character development rather than non-stop action, how will this game hold up in today’s market?
Will Heavy Rain be a flood-inducing tsunami… or just a passing storm? Let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOTs!
Bottom line: This game is gorgeous. Heavy Rain’s outstanding graphics blur the line between fantasy and reality; the character models and environments you’ll be exploring are crisp, detailed and absolutely stunning. From the falling raindrops to the cars running on the freeway, you won’t be thinking that you’re playing a game anymore, this is more like watching a movie.
A game with the caliber of graphics as aforementioned, without the use of good voice actors the effect would be have been understated. Thankfully, in Heavy Rain, the reason you can feel the emotion and thrill of the game is through the outstanding voice work that really make the characters come alive and seem human. The company has certainly made long strides since Indigo Prophecy when it comes to the overall quality of the voice acting.
The combination of the phenomenal voice work and realistic graphics of Heavy Rain is complimented by the very impressive motion capture. If you thought Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was one of the games that really did a great job with motion capture, then you’ll be happy to know that Heavy Rain will be competing with Uncharted 2 on that level. All of the moves in the game are captured to perfection; it’s amazing (and worth it) that it took the developers over six months to complete the motion capture in this game.
Heavy Rain’s main character, Ethan Mars, is a responsible father who loves nothing in the world except for his two little boys. After a tragic accident that took the life of one of his boys, he becomes depressed, all the while making his other son, Shaun Mars, suffer from it. Two years after the death of his son, a serial killer known as the Origami Killer begins abducting young sons who are eventually found dead three days after their disappearance… drowned in rain water, with an origami figure on their hands. Shaun Mars is one of the victims and it is up for Ethan to do everything he must to save his son.
“Are you prepared to suffer to save your son?”
– The Origami Killer
During the search for Ethan’s son you will come across three characters (Norman Jayden, a drug addict FBI agent who is assigned to solve the mystery of the Origami Killer; Madison Paige, a photographer who’s an insomniac and will be involved with Mars, and Scott Shelby, a private investigator hired by the families to search the Origami Killer). All four of them have the same goal: to catch the Origami Killer. Honestly, you won’t feel the tension of the game after the first few episodes. Despite taking a while to get into the action, once the pace starts to quicken you won’t be able to put the controller down until you find out who the Origami Killer is.
I must say that Heavy Rain is a game that has an extremely well thought out storyline that will keep you guessing until the very end. You will make a prediction as to who the Origami Killer is as soon you start playing, but as you are nearing the end, you will just be stunned as to what you’re going to find out. “Expect the unexpected” would be a good tagline for this game… the twists and turns are a rare and welcome addition to a game market flooded with games lacking in true storytelling.
Heart Pounding Action
No other game or movie has ever given me the same kind of thrill I got like while playing Heavy Rain. In most parts of the game, you will be engaged in an action sequence time events where you have to press a series of buttons to decide whether the character will get hit or evade that incoming attack. If you miss (and most likely, you will until you get the hang of it) you will feel that suspense in your heart and wish you had helped that character defend himself. This technique of making the player feel sympathy for the characters featured in the game is something that is not easily accomplished, but Heavy Rain has done just that.
Tons of Endings and Possible Outcomes
You have the power to change the outcomes that take place in Heavy Rain. Every decision that you make can change one thing or the other. Simple decisions can have dramatic effects on how the story plays out. With about five different endings, the replay factor is definitely there.
Heavy Rain offers a unique style of gameplay that was originally introduced in Indigo Prophecy. The game uses “active time events” where you have to press certain buttons to make the characters act, rather than simply sitting idle during a cutscene. Sure, it sounds easy but when you are engrossed in the scene and marveling in the action, a mistake can cost someone’s life and alter the way the story is going to end. It is very important that you pay close attention when an active time event takes place; these are not only important but gratuitous as well. It may seem boring at first but once you get used to it you’ll eventually be hooked in the game’s storyline. Not only this, but you’ll soon realize that the controls aren’t that bad either. Moving the character using the right analog stick can be a pain at first but after about an hour or so of play, you’ll adapt in time.
Future DLC Episodes Coming
As soon as you find out who the Origami killer is, you will want to know how he lured those poor little boys and drowned them. As previously announced, there will be downloadable content coming out for this game. It will be based on the events during the killing of the Origami Killer. It’s also been said that we will be able to play and expand more on the background of the other three characters in the game; Scott Shelby, Madison Paige, and Jayden Norman.
Trust me, once you’ve finished the game, you will want more of Heavy Rain. This is indeed a good thing because I myself can’t wait for the prequel episodes. Yep, it simply is that good.
Am I watching a movie?
Most of the time, you will feel like you’re watching a movie in lieu of playing a game. That’s not to say there’s no gameplay here because Heavy Rain’s main selling point is the compelling story. I must say that this game can easily turn into a movie and potentially gain blockbuster status in just one weekend. It is really that good. The characters feel like real actors, the gameplay is tight, and the story is amazing!
Achieving a Platinum Trophy in one play-through is impossible. It will require you to play the game a lot of times and try different scenarios that can completely change the way story is told. There are 57 trophies that can be unlocked but only half of them are obtainable in one play through. Most of them are hidden except the two; One Bronze – Heavy Rain Hero (finish Heavy Rain) and One Silver – Four Heroes (Complete the story with four characters alive).
Exceptional Musical Score
Playing Heavy Rain is one believable and realistic experience thanks to the wonderful musical score. Everything you look for in a great movie in terms of the musical score is found here. When drama kicks in, a great emotional soundtrack kicks in that can make you cry. This holds true for action, romantic moments and more! The music sets the tone of the game perfectly.
That’s it? I want more!
Honestly, I didn’t find anything wrong in this game except that it made me crave for more Heavy Rain episodes. The game shouldn’t take you more than ten hours to complete but with a game with such a good storyline as this, you’ll be wanting more!
Heavy Rain is one of the games that offers such a dynamic compelling storyline with great motion capture and voice acting that it will get gamers hooked for hours. A big screen adaptation would be a natural fit. The story unfolds naturally and with so many possible endings, it’s a sure bet for a replay. If you are a fan of thriller-drama movies, you will not be disappointed on this one.