December 15, 2019 at 3:22 AM #724
Rating: 4.0 – Great
…That’s A Lot of Rain.
I’ve talked about a good variety of games, whether it would be FMV games, story-driven games, and action/adventure games. But I never thought I would tackle a game where it combined BOTH genres into one massive game. This said game is basically a Telltale game, but if they gave the player more control over the character, and the budget was through the roof.
Heavy Rain was first released in 2009 for PlayStation 3, then remastered in 2016 for PlayStation 4, and was developed by Quantic Dream, which is run by David Cage.
Keep in mind, I would be treading spoiler-territory if I told you the whole story, so here’s a cliff-notes version.
Ethan Mars (played by Pascal Langdale) once lived a peaceful life with a wife and two kids, but after a horrible car accident, his son Jason dies, and leaves him in a six-month coma. When he awakens, he’s stuck living in poverty with his second son Shaun. However, Ethan’s life gets even worse when he discovers that Shaun has been kidnapped by the elusive Origami Killer. He soon learns that in order to find and save his son, Ethan must endure seven life-threatening trials to find clues leading to the whereabouts of Shaun. Over the course of the game, he comes across three more characters that are entangled to the plot. Scott Shelby (played by Sam Douglas), a private investigator looking for evidence from the families of the Origami Killer’s victims, Norman Jayden (played by Leon Ockenden), an FBI agent who not only is investigating the crimes of the Origami Killer with the help of a virtual reality pair of glasses called ARI, but also dealing with a serious addiction to Triptocaine (the drug that subsides the affects of ARI), and Madison Paige (played by Jacqui Ainsley), a freelance journalist with insomnia who comes across Ethan after every trial and learns of his dilemma. The choices the player makes throughout the game will not only determine the fate of Shaun Mars, but also the fate of the main characters, as they come face-to-face with many threats, the Origami Killer included. This is a fantastic story, with a great cast and crew. It’s got everything you want in a psychological thriller; action, emotion, interesting plot twists, and lots of creepy and disturbing moments.
This control scheme is VERY different than what most people are used to in a story-driven game. Normally, the player would move their character with the simple push of the joystick. In Heavy Rain, that simple control felt the need to add in the input of R2, essentially moving the character around like a car in GTA. R2 moves the character, while the left control stick turns the character in the direction the player wants them to move. In some moments, holding down L2 will bring up a list of thoughts for the characters to think of, while pressing Cross, Square, Circle, or Triangle to hear some of their thoughts of their current situation.
As per tradition with story-driven games, there are quicktime events. LOTS AND LOTS OF QUICKTIME EVENTS. Seriously, the amount of quicktime events in this game are more than enough to put the entire catalog of Telltale Games and Dragon’s Lair to shame. Unsurprisingly, they appear when you’re in a do-or-die action sequence, having to press the right button at the right time to move on, or having to mash the button repeatedly to escape. But surprisingly, even when you’re doing something mundane as fixing dinner for your son, or tying a man’s suit tie, they also have button prompts, whether you’re holding a number of buttons down, while also pressing a button to successfully perform the action, or when you’re moving the right analog stick (by the way, this is the control stick you use for all the quicktime events) very slowly and gently to perform it. There’s also instances where you have to move the controller around, via Six-Axis. A highlight of the game (which I am still keeping spoiler-free) is the way the game handles the deaths of some player characters. Normally when a character integral to the plot is killed, the player would get a Game Over, and the chance of trying again. But here in Heavy Rain, whenever a character dies from a failed quicktime event…they. Are. DEAD. There are no Game Overs, so when a character dies, they’re out of the picture for the rest of the story, along with a bad ending for the character at the end of the game. Along with the many ways the player can undergo any situation, there are also a plethora of endings, depending on who’s alive, if Shaun is alive or dead, and other special outcomes.
Out of all the story-driven games I have played, Heavy Rain would have to be my favorite. Yes, there are problems, like the glitches (on BOTH PS3 and PS4, which are STILL not fixed), some of the voice acting ("JAY-SON!!!!," "Agent Nahman Jayden of da F-Bee-I," "Origammy Killer," etc.), and the weird control scheme. However, looking past all that, and getting used to the control scheme, this is one of the best PlayStation exclusives I have ever played, and I recommend it for people with a PS3 or a PS4, or both.
+ Great story.
+ Great cast.
+ Graphically amazing.
+ Multiple endings and outcomes, making for a variety of replayability.
+ Innovative control scheme, drastically different from other story-driven games.
- The control scheme is difficult to grasp first time in, completely blind.
- As noted, while wonderfully casted, some lines of dialogue is completely laughable.
- There are unresolved glitches on both versions. Most notable is the "Shaun Glitch," where during the final level, the button prompt to yell Shaun’s name never goes away, and the player can keep pressing the button, even during the final fight between another protagonist and the Origami Killer, or even when the Origami Killer is undergoing a monologue. While this infamous glitch is hilarious, it is still a glitch, and all the immersion the game is supposed to give you during the nail-biting climax is gone. (Unless you don’t ever press it again.)
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