Written By: Carl Frill…
Heavy Rain was released by Quantic Dream In February 2010, and was met with anticipation due to being released as an ‘Interactive Fiction’ game. This Idea of interactive fiction, whilst not being a unique concept, having been done before with Fahrenheit, also known as Indigo Prophecy in America, also developed by Quantic dream.
Personally, I thought Fahrenheit was a fantastic game. It was well paced, had a gripping storyline that kept me wanting to play the game for hours, and thought the controls worked really well. So when I first heard about Heavy Rain, I thought “Great, a game that can’t disappoint me.” Then it was announced as a PS3 Exclusive, so I couldn’t play it. Once I could finally play the game, I did. Playing the game almost a year late does have some advantages, such as the addition of move compatibility, as well as patches to fix broken aspects of the game, and the release of downloadable content means that now would be a better time than the pre-release build professional reviewers usually use.
The storyline is going to be important in an Interactive Fiction game, and the outline to the plot does not disappoint. You control four characters searching for the “Origami Killer”, who drowns his victims, leaving the body with an orchid left on their chest, mud covering their face, and leaving an origami figure in their hand. The game is focused on rescuing the latest victim of the Origami killer, the son of Ethan Mars, an architect, and features 5 challenges set by the killer he must complete in order to find his son. One particular saw-like level forces you to crawl through broken shards of glass, failing if a “pain gauge” fills up. If you succeed this, you must then walk through a series of electrical condensers, again failing if the pain gauge fills up too much. Not all are this complex. The challenge after is nothing but “cut the end of your finger off”, but still feels as much of a challenge as crawling through glass, as the scene is particularly graphic, and the voice acting is done amazing well, making this scene
As with most games released recently, there are multiple endings, in this case for each character, but another aspect is that any of the protagonists can die during the storyline, changing the final stages of the game, and skipping chapters deceased characters would otherwise be in. and whilst the storyline is fantastic later on, it cannot be forgiven for having a slow and uninteresting beginning. It feels like a chore going through the first hour or two, and it’s almost enough to abandon the game entirely, as very nearly did.
The controls are another aspect of the game that stands out. It’s comprised mostly of quick time events and moving the right thumbstick in a particular way, which works well with the game genre, but the movement controls really let it down. To walk, you hold R2, and turn by moving the left thumbstick left and right, which is sort of like controlling a remote control car, if the car required Quick Time Events every so often. On several occasions I nearly had my characters killed because I couldn’t move them to where I wanted to.
With a game as simple as this, glitches are not to be expected, and most of the way through, this was true, and with the way it told the story, I was deeply immersed into the game. But suddenly, about ¾ of the way through the game, the textures suddenly failed, making one of the walls black, and my character’s head invisible. Whilst this was short-lived, and the only instance, this still isn’t bad, but it completely ruined the immersion, and I began to notice the difficult to use controls and slow place again, something that had gone completely under the radar.
Overall, through control issues, and waiting for something to do, I would still recommend this game to people. Not to people who spend all their time on first person shooters, who can’t enjoy a game unless something is on fire, or somebody who only plays games to boast that they are better than other people, but someone who plays games for the storyline & the enjoyment of playing a game.