Review by AngofWolf

Reviewed: 03/02/10

Heavy Rain - A Game for Everyone

Graphics – 8/10 x 2.5 = 20

When I first picked up Heavy Rain my initial impression was that the graphics was good. No, they were more than good. They were realistic, concrete, and impressive. I could even say that Heavy Rain has some of the best in game graphics I have ever seen during gameplay. As I continued to play however I found that the graphics were not quite as perfect as I had thought. Here and there certain graphics seemed unrealistic and poorly done compared to the surroundings, they just didn’t flow as well. Also the NPCs had a tendency to walk into one another and just keep walking without moving until one of them finally slid off the other, at which point they would depart from their meeting. I can understand that problem happening when I walk into someone, or in a crowded area, but watching the pre programmed NPCs do this is small areas with limited NPCs just sort of irked me.

Sound – 10/10 x 2.5 = 25

The sound matched up perfectly to the moving mouths. There wasn’t a single moment that I cringed like I do when I watch dubbed movies, music videos, or poorly lip synched video games. I also found the voice acting enjoyable and realistic. The high score however extends beyond just voices and lip synching. It includes what music played and when. Though overall the music track seemed limited, the peaceful tones truly made me feel comforted at times while the frantic, ominous tracks keep me glued to the screen; not willing to blink for fear of missing something. Even the little things, like the crash of pans or the start of a car had convincing sound and had me feeling like I was there.

Gameplay – 10/10 x 2.5 = 25

“Oh no don’t die!” I found myself standing, frantically pressing the indicated buttons more than once while playing this game. Fearful for failing and losing a character in a fight, some moments were pretty intense. Yet despite this the gameplay itself was simple and I found that many people, even non gamers, enjoyed playing this game. Don’t think this simplicity means you can take your eyes off the screen for a single second however. The constant need to press buttons and direct your character, often through time sensitive situations, will keep your full attention on the screen. Another added note to this is that the game scales well based on your situation. Fight scenes consist of simple controls that are on timers. While some actions, such as handling a child, require slow, soft, and more complex controls. Needless to say the game calls for button combinations that make sense based on the situation, meaning you don’t have to worry about having to do something completely weird and out of the ordinary for a situation.

My final word on this game may come as a slight disappointment though. I find that the game, though replayable, isn’t as enjoyable the second time around since the you have a pretty good idea of what to say or do in order to get a certain effect.

Story – 10/10 x 25 = 25

I have read a few other reviews and they claim that this game starts slow. Though I do agree nothing spectacular happens in the first fifteen minutes, I feel it still not as much of a bore as others claim. You will find yourself practicing various button combinations and getting the feel for how the controls will work. Also you are able to explore quite a bit, which gives you an idea of just how much you can, and possibly will need to, explore later in the game. The game does pick up quite a bit after the first hour and the story will quickly drag you into it. Eventually you find yourself caught up in a tempo that will carry you to the end of the game.

The game does consist of eighteen endings, so story satisfaction may vary depending on what you do throughout the game. On another note, you do get multiple endings per playthough; so you can expect to see three to five endings with each showcasing what happens to the various playable characters and their companions. Still despite what you do in the game, the game itself largely remains the same. Sure there are branching paths and certain omissions here and there. Overall though once you beat it, the game isn’t going to offer up any surprises unless it’s the ending.

Final Thoughts:

This game was beautifully crafted and seems to be loved by gamers and non gamers alike. I would recommend it to anyone with a PS3, and would even venture to say that this game could turn some new gamers into casual ones. By its completion a new gamer (meaning Heavy Rain would be their first game) should have a decent feel of the controls, meaning the game could be a compelling teaching tool for anyone looking to get someone else into video games.

Total score – 95/100 or 9.5/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Heavy Rain (US, 02/23/10)

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