At this point, it seems as though just as many people are waiting on Heavy Rain to collapse under its own hype. That’s a shame, because I had the privilege of attending a behind-closed-doors glimpse at another section of Quantic Dream’s eagerly anticipated title, and it’s one of the best titles on display at this year’s E3. And that's no overblown superlative.
Hopefully you’ve seen our 20-minute demo, with walkthrough, of the game in action. Or, at least, you’ve read Billy’s recent preview. Both detailed the “Mad Jack” section of the game, in which FBI profiler Norman Jayden investigates a junkyard for an abandoned car left by the notorious Origami Killer. Today, I saw the “Mad Jack” section for a third time, and got my first glimpse at “Madison at the Blue Lagoon,” another 20-minute portion of the game. In this chapter, news photographer Madison Paige enters the Blue Lagoon nightclub to interrogate Paco Mendes, the club’s sleazy owner, about an apartment building he also owns that’s tied to the Origami Killer. Of course, it’s never as simple as described.
During the “Mad Jack” demo, Cage allowed Jayden to die so that he could describe what happens when you lose one of your four playable characters. If Jayden survived the junkyard, he could also come to the Blue Lagoon to question Mendes, with a different outcome. Different characters can investigate the same thing to glean different information, Cage said. While Jayden can use the strong arm of the law,
That includes taking
And this is where Heavy Rain really seems to distinguish itself from other adventure games. It’s very dark and mature, like any Hollywood thriller about serial killers. And like another game I saw earlier today, Uncharted 2, it plays upon emotional impact. You don’t want to see something bad happen to her, but the characters are often at risk, even if
With a gun aimed squarely at
Mendes’ eyes go wide with shock, but he still won’t talk.
What’s most important here isn’t just this tense and dramatic situation, but the way that you play it.
At the end of the demo, Cage revealed that none of the game’s four characters can be killed until the halfway point of the game. He also mentioned that should all of them meet their maker, the story will follow an arc to a conclusion, but you won’t see a “game over” screen. I asked him about the game’s save system, since he’s mentioned that the game will frequently autosave to continue the plot. I also asked what would happen if players miss an important clue in the game. It seems that if you pass up some detail, you will miss it, and the story will continue. He also said that he hopes that at least for the first playthrough, gamers won’t try to toy with the save system. Ideally, he wants them to go through, just to see how the story unfolds, before trying to heavily tinker with the outcome. We’ll see if that happens.
For now, Heavy Rain still manages to impress, a year after Sony officially unveiled it. Cage promises that we’ll see two more characters, one coming at GamesCom, the final at Tokyo Game Show. Until then, I plan to pop in my copy of Indigo Prophecy for another spin.