Heavy Rain this, Heavy Rain that….its all you hear and see on gaming sites. Everyone has something to say about it. Whether its a critic who wants to bash its risky step or whether its a critic who praises this brave and innovative move. Whether its a critic who gives a poor review and causes an uproar among the PlayStation faithful or whether its a critic who lavishes it with praise and a perfect score which gives the PlayStation faithful some ammunition in the bragging wars.
Everybody is talking about Heavy Rain.
And that’s brilliant.
Every morning i get up i always do a quick browse thru some of my usual gaming news sites to see what the latest news is, and about 80% of all content relates to Heavy Rain. Its impossible to avoid.
Its not often games cause such a talking point across the gaming public, but usually its down to it being a major release, nothing more, nothing less. Now don’t get me wrong, Heavy Rain is indeed a major release, its going to be one of the big boys for the PlayStation 3, just as much as God Of War, Gran Turismo and Uncharted is. But the main reason everyone is talking about it is because of the simple fact that this game is “Different”. As gamers we play the same type of games over and over, ok they might be refreshing on the gameplay and graphics front, and sometimes they might feature new gameplay mechanics never seen before, even small things like the iPod in MGS4, the VATS in Fallout 3 or a mobile phone in GTA IV, there is loads of examples, but they are still the same type of game at the core. They all fit into the classic Genres. But never, or at least very very rarely, has a game come along and said “We are not going to make a game that belongs to that genre or that genre, no, we are going to step away from all that and simply create our own genre”. And thats exactly what Quantic Dream have done. With Heavy Rain, they have bravely gone where other developers are afraid to go, the have stepped outside the Genre classifications and created their own from scratch. That genre doesn’t have an official name as of yet, but i think the common knowledge is that its called “Interactive Story” or “Interactive Drama”.
Now although change and innovation is good, and most gamers and critics have applauded Quantic Dream for what they are doing with Heavy Rain and anticipate the game with excitement and even curiosity, but as with everything, there is people out there who don’t share the sense of excitement. Rather they simply cant understand the attraction to such gameplay style, whether its just a mater of personal taste or even a deep feeling that Heavy Rain is pulling gaming in the wrong direction, maybe from the old school perference of full control over your player. People also criticized the masterpiece that is Metal Gear Solid series for similar reasons, for the huge amount of cutscenes that they felt interupted the game far too often. Well i would admit, Heavy Rain is somewhat similar to MGS, but Heavy Rains seems to get the balance right, yes there is a hell of a lot cutscenes but with Heavy Rain you get to interact in them and decide how they unfold. Just as this game has the right to be praised, it also has the right to be criticized. But i for one prefer to encourage such risks and changes by developers. Even if you dont like the game, you should still apreciate the fact that it has created a new direction, a new option for gamers, the variety it has added to gamers library.
Now of course i havent played the game so i wont say its as every bit as good as i think it will be and it deserves every perfect score it gets. But i have played Quantic Dreams previous and similar title, Fahrenheit, the Demo for Heavy Rain and read countless reviews. From the Demo experience i had, it ticked every box of what i wanted to experience in the demo, the controls, although weird at first, but soon you appreciate that they have to be like this to really immerse you in the pace of the game. I was weary of how the action scenes would pan out considering the controls and QTE, but the fight with the thug was as every bit as intense as any action game, which actually surprised me. Then their is the interactions with many aspects of the enviroment, like looking out a window, knocking on a door, even grabbing a tissue for your upset lady friend, as insignificent as they appear, they never seem pointless or boring. The dialogue with other characters, although it sounds straightforward, when the choices of dialogue are floating in the air you are pondering each one and even feel a sense of importance to which one you choose, as in random button pressing will get you nowhere. I could go on and on about the demo but im not, but if you want you can hop over to read our main man, Gari Clarks, Demo Impressions. For me though, like i said, the demo was pefect.
As for the reviews, mostly good, a majority of them have said all the kind of things i wanted to hear. I made a post here a few days ago about how one particular review read like music to my ears, you can find it here.
So, to sum it up. Heavy Rain is the hot topic all over the web of gaming. Although this is great for the game and gamers who plan to purchase it, this is also a perfect situation for Sony and the PlayStation3. Because this is, in a way, Heavy Rains very own advertising campaign. Everywhere you look somebody is talking about Heavy Rain. So you can say the game is practically selling itself and saving Sony on advertising. People are either going to buy it because they are genuine fans or just out of pure curiosity to see what its like. Also, and probably most importantly for Sony, this will no doubt encourage gamers to buy a PlayStation 3 console, especially with God Of War 3 just around the corner.
PS3, It Only Does Heavy Rain.
Thanks for reading.