Heavy Rain Review

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After seeing the first piece of footage and info for Heavy Rain a very long time ago (talking a few years) I was intrigued to find out how the control system would work for what seemed a very deep and engrossing title. I’m sure many felt the same way as i did when i first see it, “nice graphics but it actually looks a bit dull” I said to myself but because of these doubts at first, I wanted to find out more. It pulled me in. Over the course of the months and months before the release of Heavy Rain, the more info that was released the more I wanted this game as it really did look amazing and the whole new way of playing capped with what seemed to me like a great story, added to the hype.

Moving on to 2010 and the release of Heavy Rain and I finally got my hands on Quantic Dreams epic 2010 blockbuster. The game started and after I familiarised myself to the controls and how they work, it was such a refreshing, original and without doubt the best choice that the developers could of done as it adds suspense, tension and atmosphere thanks to the game characters moving at the pace they are meant to unless told otherwise. You won’t find any sprinting button or jump and hang action buttons in Heavy Rain unless you are told to do so during fight scenes etc (more on this later on).

Heavy Rain’s story is a heart pounding, edge of your seat, dramatic thriller that revolves around 4 quite different people trying to find out who the Origami Killer is. The characters that you interact with in the game are Ethan Mars (a architect that’s life has been turned upside down due to his family being ripped apart and his other son being kidnapped by the Origami killer), Madison Paige (a insomniac journalist that gets caught up in the hunt for the Origami killer), Norman Jayden (an FBI profiler bought in to help with the case) and Scott Shelby (a retired police officer that is now a private investigator that is working the case for the victims’ families).

Heavy Rain’s location is set around a dull, bleak, gritty and wet (hence the ‘Heavy Rain’ name) fictional city. The rain setting within the game plays its part and for a big reason. The origami killer uses the ‘rain’ setting to his advantage by killing his victims by drowning them in the rain water. This means that the characters that are in the game only have a certain amount of time to find the killer before another victim dies because of the constant rain lashing down (due to the fall season of the year).

Heavy Rain is a game that you won’t play anywhere else this year due to its different ways of how the game plays. It’s all about interacting with cut scenes with button presses be it by pressing x and L1 to climb when prompted to on screen or turning the analogue stick to use as a lock pick for example. This might sound boring and something that you may not like the sound of but it works and it works very well indeed. It adds to the suspense of the game and during fast, action paced cut scenes it really does make you sit on the edge of your seat and it works wonders with the game. Some say the game is a interactive movie rather than an actual video game title and part of me agrees with what others have said but that doesn’t mean to say that this is a bad thing as at least the guys from Quantic Dream’s are trying something different and it works wonders for the game and while playing, I was gripped from start to finish. It’s one of the most original, innovative and damn right brilliant titles I’ve played for a very long time and one of the best on the PS3 full stop.

Some of the action paced parts of the game are fantastic. For example there is a scene where you play Ethan Mars and a task you have been set by the Origami killer is to drive the wrong way up the motorway for 5 miles. It revolves around you getting out of the way of certain objects including cars, workmen and road works for 5 miles and if you succeed, you have passed the task. The way this scene has been integrated into the game is a big highlight and one of the most memorable scenes from the whole game as it really adds so much tension and it leaves you like a nervous wreck. Edge of your seat stuff right there. Other scenes that are similar to this are ones involving other characters like Norman Jayden where you are locked in a car that is about to get crushed by a rather evil looking junkyard worker named Mad Jack. This scene revolves around you getting free before the car is crushed and again, the way these sorts of scenes are implemented into the game, they add so much tension and really show what Heavy Rain is all about. Fantastic stuff. Although the game is mainly made up of screen prompts during cut scenes, you can still walk around various environments and look around and interact for example but the real genius within this game is from the epic cut scene interactive moments.

Although there are 4 character involved in the game and they all have the same intention in mind (i.e. find the Origami killer), the one character that you get engrossed with the most is Ethan Mars i feel due to the fact that this is a man that is down and out after one of his sons died in a motor accident and his split from his wife and then to make matters worse, his other son then gets kidnapped by the Origami killer and he has to do whatever it takes to get his son back. The game pulls you in so much that it feels like you are a part of this guy’s life. It grips you and doesn’t let go till the end. That’s what makes Heavy Rain so special and no other game as of yet has gripped me like this has.

There are some problems with the game but they are only minor faults more than anything major including screen tearing and also audio loss in certain scenes which can be frustrating. Another slight fault within the game is the fact that sometimes, the screen prompts don’t react as quick as they should do but it’s a rare problem as it doesn’t happen a great deal but unfortunately, it does happen every so often.

Onto the graphics side of Heavy Rain and this is where the power of the cell within the Playstation 3 stands out. The detail and love that has been put into the game to make it what it is, is breathtaking. The detail of the characters and the scenes is amazing and you can see how much David Cage and his team working on Heavy Rain have put into making the look of this game as good as they possibly can. There are parts of the game graphically that made my jaw drop including parts where you search buildings environments and the detail is unbelievable. Parts like individual books and the wood effect on furniture for example being rendered perfectly.

Conclusion –

If you want a game that is full of guns and includes full on action from start to finish then Heavy Rain isn’t the game for you but if you want a game that is engrossing, edgy, tense and leaves you wanting more and you want to play a game that is fresh, new and overall original, then Heavy Rain is the game you need in your life. You won’t play another game like this in 2010 and this is a title that all PS3 owners should own. Hats off to David Cage and his team at Quantic Dreams as they have created a title that deserves all the praise it’s currently getting. Brilliant.

I'm a huge fan of the PES, MGS and Uncharted series', and anything else in between. If you love a good gaming discussion or want to talk about anything else, then feel free to get in touch.

@GariClark