Review by the_real_truth
Reviewed: 02/24/10 | Updated: 02/26/10
A fantastic experience, with sloppy controls and shoddy voice acting.
Heavy Rain is not a game that's for everyone. Cutting right to the chase, if you don't like QTE's (Quick Time Events), then you aren't going to like this game. If you liked Indigo Prophecy, like I did, then this game is for you. Heavy Rain is an interactive movie. This statement means that the game will rely heavily on an engaging story, moving characters, and quick timing on your part.
Unlike Indigo Prophecy, which most people will agree ends up falling on its own face half way through the game, Heavy Rain remains a solid experience the entire way through. However, I will say that (And I'm likely in the minority here), I enjoyed Indigo Prophecy more. The first half of Indigo Prophecy, especially the very beginning, had me at the edge of my seat, and though it took a bunch of wrong turns and ended up in some place nobody wants to be, it somehow managed to be a great game.
Heavy Rain never goes down the wrong path. The game throws you curve-balls, and unless you've been spoiled by some of the finest people to ever grace the grand site, that is GameFAQs, you will not be able to guess what is going to happen; If you manage to actually guess what would happen, your actions while playing the game, can change the outcome of those actions. Ultimately, the plot twist ends up being a fine piece of work, that you might find in a well written book. Though there appears to be an inability for simple addition with a few of the endings.
The characters are some of the most realistic characters that I've ever seen in a game. This is possibly the best looking game on any console right now, and it's unmatched in character models, and the realism of said characters. They don't come without problems, however. The voice acting is sub-par, and with a game like Heavy Rain, it's extremely important that you make the player feel like they are involved, and instead not focusing on what's, for the most part, poor voice work. It's actually enjoyable in a game like Resident Evil, or Star Ocean 2, but it has no place in a game like Heavy Rain. Looks, and sound aside, the characters all have intriguing personalities, and I kept wanting to know more about each one. How each one falls into play in the end, is done incredibly well.
You start off with your standard introduction to each character. There is a main character, and the story will revolve mostly around him, with each additional one having their own role, or reason for being where they are. How they're involved in the grand arc, and how they ultimately end up coming together, or not, depending on how you played through the game, just makes sense. The game will keep you guessing until the end, when everything is thrown at you in the sudden realization of exactly what's going on, in the same fashion as, The Sixth Sense. The only question is whether you ended up being where you wanted to, or if poor game mechanics put you there on accident.
I probably don't speak for everyone, but motion controls are terrible. There are, I believe, 5 different actions, that you will need to make, that require you to move the PS3 controller 5 different ways. Be it shaking the controller until the on-screen indicator disappears, or simply moving the controller in a quick motion in one of 4 directions. At times this caused me to miss a command prompt, because the game had read a motion I had made, as another motion. There are other issues with the controls, like having to use R2 to move. There's no reason that you shouldn't be able to simply move the analog stick around to move. The whole head-tilting thing, could have easily been handled with another button. The most annoying area in the game, is when you're in this small tunnel and you're crawling. Making turns in the tunnel was one of the most awkward tasks that I've ever had to do. This led to me making some mistakes, and ultimately getting a different outcome than I had wanted. This tunnel was the severity of poor controls, and other than that, nothing else that I can remember is too extreme. That's not to say that the game doesn't have other problems.
While they weren't game-breaking the first time through, there were a couple of minor glitches that I had encountered while playing the game. Things like music and sound cutting off for about 2 seconds, and floating eggs, were really all that I had seen at first. Then, after finishing the game and using the chapter selection feature, the game seemed to start going wacky on me. My character would lock up, where I wouldn't be able to move. The camera would zoom in on a door, on the outside, while I'm inside, so I can't even see what's going on. I think even once I had a character cut out from a scene, and jump randomly into another location in the room, for no reason at all. Luckily, with you being able to reload any chapter you wish, this is easily handled, but it's still an annoyance that should not be there.
To break it down, Heavy Rain is not for everyone. It takes a lot of risks, and even if you don't like the game, it brings a lot of ideas to the table that should inspire people to think outside the box. If you hate QTE's with a passion, then avoid this game at all costs. The game clocks in somewhere around 8 and 1/2 hours, so you may wish to rent it. Chapter selection actually cuts down on replay time, since you can jump to anywhere in the game that you like. The game is beautiful. I'd go as far as to say it's the best looking game you can find. Heavy Rain is something that you should at least try once, to see if you like it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Heavy Rain (US, 02/23/10)
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