Heavy Rain - PS3

Game Description:Heavy Rain: In this dark, atmospheric mystery game, players jump between four characters as they try to solve a case involving a serial killer known as the Origami Killer. Gameplay consists of guiding the characters through interactions and events by hitting corresponding letters that appear on screen at specific moments, making the experience more akin to an interactive movie than a traditional video game. Featuring stunning visuals, an engrossing story and unique gameplay, this is one storm you'll definitely want to be caught in.
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Heavy Rain Hands-On Preview

Heavy Rain Hands-On Preview

By Andrew Pfister - Posted Dec 14, 2009

Heavy Rain

I’ve completed the first eleven scenes of Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, and I’m not entirely convinced I should be calling it a “game.” Don’t take that as effusive pre-release praise about games being some form of higher art; it’s just that Heavy Rain, thus far, makes me feel like I’m an actor more than a player.

It starts with the completely mundane. Getting out of bed. Taking a shower. Brushing my teeth, using and flushing the toilet. As I get to know architect Ethan Mars and his family, Heavy Rain is teaching me its mechanics: movements with the analog stick, combination button presses, conversations with other characters, and exploration of inner monologue. The only traditional control element to be found is the “walk” button, and everything else is based on contextual interaction. The plot is propelled mostly by talking, thinking, and examining... and in the moments where life and limb are actually in peril, it’s much more reminiscent of a cinematic action scene than a typical video game combat scenario.

Because of this approach, Heavy Rain will succeed or fail on the strength of its plot. The introductory scene of the once-joyful Mars clan sets the tone early. Ethan, his wife, and their two sons are a model family. We don’t just get to see Ethan’s joy of being a father -- the interactions are designed to try to make us feel the emotions at play. That sets us up for the tragedy that happens next, and the quick tonal shift from sunshine and happiness to grime and depression.

Thematically, Heavy Rain seems to concern itself with adult things: estranged relationships, the difficulties of raising children, dealing with crippling depression, chemical dependency, feminine vulnerability. It runs the risk of being unable to resonate with the video game audience at large, but because Quantic Dream has chosen these themes, it can elicit responses that other games don’t need to bother with. Losing Jason, one of Ethan's sons, in a crowded mall – a situation inspired by something that creator David Cage experienced in real-life – really wants you to panic as a father would, responsible for his child's well-being.

Private detective Scott Shelby finds himself in the middle of a convenience store robbery, a scenario that’s all about indecision and dealing with an unpredictable actor.

Alone in her apartment in the middle of the night, Madison Paige senses that she’s not alone, and because you’ve just met this character and don’t know what she’s capable of, the ensuing scenario has a genuine sense of peril.

Norman Jayden, dependent on chemicals to maintain his composure, fights off a public meltdown that would adversely affect his career... and the choice to resort to drugs is left to the player.

If we are to call Heavy Rain a game, it’s one of those games that you can’t describe as “fun.” But it’s engaging and provocative in a much different way, and barring any script meltdowns, I very much want to see how these stories and characters weave together and conclude. It won’t appeal to everybody, and I hope that Sony and Quantic Dream are prepared for that and already have established different expecations for its success.


Comments are Closed

  • mikemill

    This game is definately not for everyone. The typical Modern Warfare run and gunners who require nothing of art or story from their gaming won't get this... but there are a lot of mature gamers out there who are interested in a sophisticated experience in gaming...

    Posted: December 14, 2009 2:05 PM
  • radion_null

    It it manages to engage me like a good movie than it will succeed in meeting my expectations for the game.

    I'm thinking of flOwer for some reason now. I don't have "fun" with that game, I enjoy the game nonetheless.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 12:40 PM
  • Ewoc

    As long as you don't have super powers by the half of the game, i'm sold! (Indigo Prof icy of course)

    Posted: December 14, 2009 12:11 PM
  • nodrodee

    Good for Sony for offering Something different, it paid off with Little Big Planet (play,create,share), if Heavey Rain is good it will ad some verity to your game collection.

    I'm very interested but still not sure if I'm buying, next game on my radar is Grand Tourismo.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 12:04 PM
  • hogey

    I am really looking forward to Heavy Rain. The graphics look amazing and the story seems to be quite intriguing. When I spend money on a game I usually tend to go for something that has a deep, rich plot. Gameplay only has to be mediocre but the story has to great. Heavy Rain's style seems to be that of a point and click, which may not go over well with the hardcore gaming audience.
    What I am hoping from other gamers is that they don't pass on this game because of the gameplay. At this point, Heavy Rain seems to be highly experimental and support is needed in order to receive more games like this in the future. With more support comes more games, with more games comes more refinements which should equal better quality.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 11:45 AM
  • Straticus

    For people still unfamiliar with how the game will play or what to expect go pick up a bargain bin copy of Indigo Prophecy on PS 2 or Xbox. I see this game being an extremely polished version of that and being more grounded in reality. I had fun playing the first game because it is more of a thinking game with the situations if puts you in. If you enjoy making those tough decisions when ever faced with a moral situation like in Mass Effect / Dragon Age, then you will enjoy this game.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 11:32 AM
  • sdc10

    I do not have a ps3 but I am interested in seeing how this game does, mostly because it is very different from anything else. I still need some convincing that the game is not just one big interactive cutscene tho, also I wonder if the game is able to steer clear of the uncanny valley

    Posted: December 14, 2009 11:00 AM
  • badATchaos

    so this is the new generation of point and click adventure games, huh?
    looks okay.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 10:57 AM
  • river_tron

    I see what your saying Damon. It's different kind of fun. Just like you don't have the kind of "fun" watching a great film with an really depressing storyline. It may have depressed you a bit, but you still enjoyed the hell out of the film and it's story. It's a different way to engage the participant. Books engage in a different way then movies. Just Like movies engage in a different way than video games.

    That being said, I'm extremely curious to the results of this gaming experiment. Andrew's early reaction to the game falls in-line with what I've thought this game would be all along. Let's hope the experience warrants a purchase and not just a fleeting glance. It could benefit the story telling mechanics of todays games greatly if it's as compelling as Quantum is making it out to be.

    Perhaps even eliminate the cut-scene all together and make it all 100% interactive....

    I know...I know... but a man can dream, can't he?

    Posted: December 14, 2009 10:54 AM
  • HausOfGaGA

    I am so excited for this game!!!!!!!

    ugh it looks awesome i just hope that they match the intensity of the little first teaser trailer from 2005/6 e3 ps3 reveal. The part where she has the gun an is pointing it straight at the gamer and is talking... ugh i love that lol.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 10:49 AM
  • jp555soul2

    You have peaked my interest even more for this game. I agree though, thats its not for everyone.

    Posted: December 14, 2009 10:39 AM
  • DamonTheMoney

    By definition it is a "game", there's no doubt about that. lol

    As far as the whole idea of "fun" goes, I'd imagine that's quite difficult to talk about. I don't have "fun" when watching a movie, reading a book, nor do I have it when watching MGS4's cut-scenes, but I still enjoy them more than I can describe here in this comments section.

    I'd play this game as though I was watching a movie, I wouldn't expect the levels of "fun" that I get when playing BattleField or God Of War. I'd expect it to, specifically, NOT have that kind of fun.

    This has been quite difficult to put into words, but I hope you all understand what I mean. Thanks :-)

    Posted: December 14, 2009 10:29 AM