Review by cerrate
Rain, QTEs, and glitches...oh my.
I can tell you right now, do not buy this game unless it is patched. You can however safely rent it and judge for yourself. My judgment is that the game is unfinished. I'll just get right to that problem.
Occasionally the framerate will start to drop and then any characters in the area will start falling through the world or strobing around. Frequently when a new chapter or area starts the game will quasi-freeze and you will be unable to move until you quit to the main menu and restart. This might not be so bad if it only happened when a chapter started but it will get you mid-chapter too. I'll explain what I mean by quasi-freeze with no spoilers.
While being pursued by someone I completed the QTE to escape...only to have my character glitch in the alleyway and be completely unable to move until captured. So while I was completely unable to move, the game continued to churn forward and the fate that I avoided was forced on me. Effectively changing the story.
In my experience the frozen character seems to be fairly common, I'll go 4 chapters without it happening and then 6 with it occurring. The story might be good but imagine you're watching a movie and every 5-10 minutes you have to quit to the menu, go to chapter select, and then watch the first 10 seconds to a minute of whatever you just watched again. It really kills any immersion you might get out of the experience.
You can tell Quantic Dream was trying to immerse you in the world of Heavy Rain. Even during the installation of the game you are provided with step by step instructions to make an origami crane. The graphics, when they aren't tearing, are quite impressive. As you might expect from a game that stresses the weather to this degree the water effects at times can be breathtaking. Even if it is a simple trick, the setting's dreariness really jives with the story. You might even find yourself mildly down because you feel the effect of the rain.
The controls during the QTEs are fairly intuitive and these events can leave you saying wow. However, the camera angles and walking controls can be quite clumsy at times.
The music is excellent and always appropriate for the moment.
I'm going to have to go with a 6 on this for now. A future patch that clears up even half of the technical issues and glitches in this game would push it to an 8 but as of 3/1/2010 the game is not finished. It's a shame this title was rushed to release in this state. Get used to quitting to the menu and restarting the chapter, I did.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Heavy Rain (US, 02/23/10)
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