Review by Linkman213
An Immersive Gaming Experience Unlike Any Other
Let me start off by saying that Heavy Rain is not your typical game. Its not your dime-a-dozen shooter or a typical turn-based RPG. Heavy Rain is in a category all on its own. Quantic Dream classifies Heavy Rain as an "Interactive Drama". It is just as much watching a movie as it is playing a video game. The game unfolds through a mystery-thriller style storyline with elements of action movies all tied together in a huge drama oriented plot.
Being that the storyline is the main part of the game lets start with that. A serial killer known as The Origami Killer is kidnapping young boys and leaving their bodies to be found mere days later. One of these children happen to belong to one of the main characters known as Ethan Mars. In order to save his son The Origami Killer puts Ethan through tests to prove whether or not Ethan is worthy to save his child. While the player attempts to guide Ethan through these trials they must also take control of three other characters. Norman Jayden is an FBI Agent who is investigating the case of The Origami Killer and must put together clues in order to track down and put an end to this psychotic killers spree. Scott Shelby is an aged private investigator who, on behalf of the families of the victims, is investigating The Origami Killer as well in order to help capture them. The final character, Madison Paige, is a journalist who comes searching for The Origami Killer to get the story of a lifetime. All four of these characters are integral to the storyline. What makes that even more interesting is that any one of these four can die through the storyline depending on the player's choices. If one of the characters is killed the game continues using the remaining characters. The main plot deepens as you travel through the game leading to a thoroughly engrossing story which can have a multitude of different endings. Despite the immersion that the game offers there are a few potholes which may leave the player questioning the plot at the end of the game. That being said, the story remains strong and pulls the player in from which they may have a hard time escaping.
The graphics in Heavy Rain are truly top-notch. Facial animations are some of the best seen in a video game to this day, even rivaling that which was first experienced when Half-Life 2 was launched. The main characters are modeled down to every last detail: eyes look full of life, hair moves with a fluid grace, character animation is seamless, and lets not forget the water effects. This game may have the best looking water I've seen in a video game. The reason that the graphics didn't get a perfect 10 is that background characters seem to have less fluid animation and less detail then the main characters of the storyline.
The controls in Heavy Rain WILL take some getting used to, but after about an hour it will be like second nature. Not many people will be accustomed to using the R2 button to walk forward. The left analog stick controls your characters head and determines which way they are looking. If you are walking it also determines the direction you walk in. Every other control in the game is context sensitive. Most of the time the player will use the right analog stick to interact with the environment. The face buttons (circle, square, triangle, and X) are used to complete certain actions and sometimes must be used in conjunction with each other, while all being held down, to complete and action. Many of the game's action sequences are done through Quick-Time Events where the player only has a few moments(which lengthen or shorten depending on the difficulty chosen) to press the corresponding face button, move the right analog stick, or move the controller using SIXAXIS or else fail. Speaking of SIXAXIS Heavy Rain is the first game where I have felt that the motion controls have actually helped with immersion rather then make me want to return my game to the store. In Heavy Rain SIXAXIS is very responsive and not a hindrance to the controls what-so-ever.
The musical score for this game is a masterpiece. The music invokes emotions such as fear, anxiety, happiness, sadness, and tension. The sound effects themselves are perfect and sound exactly as you'd expect it to be in real life. There isn't much else to be said aside from that
Replay Factor: Very High
With over 10 different endings to the game you will be striving to go back through the game and change each little choice you make wanting to see all the different endings. Each choice can affect the ending in minor or major ways and perhaps could even influence which characters survive the story. Because of the amount of things that can change you could play this game 15 times and have a different story each time.
Buy or Rent: Depends
Whether or buy or rent this game depends a lot on how much you want to see the different endings and how things may have played out for you. While the game lasts 8-10 hours on your first playthrough you may want to see the other endings. If so then the game definitely deserves a buy. If you only care about seeing one ending then rent the game. Though I personally highly advise seeing multiple endings as they can vary greatly in the outcome of the story. If you do decide to buy the game pick up a new copy if you can afford it. You get a little treat at the install screen if you do.
Heavy Rain isn't a perfect game, but it comes very close. Quantic Dream is taking a step in a new direction with video games. They are trying to take gaming into a more story driven direction and after playing Heavy Rain I believe that they can succeed in this endeavor. Heavy Rain has provided me with more fun with a video game then I have had in a long time. I can only hope that Quantic Dream decides to go further in this new direction and develop more games of this style.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Heavy Rain (US, 02/23/10)
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