Heavy Rain brings back the adventure game like never before.
Developer: Quantic Dream
I have been awaiting anxiously the release of Heavy Rain for quite some time now. The thought of such an interesting story intrigued me, and I looked forward to playing a title where even if your character dies, it doesn’t hamper the story. It continues on, much like real life. So when I went in to pick up my copy of HR on release day, I was more than ecstatic to begin playing. I sat down with a beverage, turned on the TV, and cozied up to hours of playing.
Heavy Rain is one of those games that tries to engage you from the very beginning, and I mean VERY beginning. While installing the game on the PS3, which can be quite a tedious task, the game has you complete some origami, in order to get you ready for the story about to unfold. While some people may see this as simply a novelty and not worth talking about, I disagree. Most games forget that gamers can tend to be impatient, especially when it comes to installing and load times. So, for the game to give me something to occupy my time with, without dwelling on how much I wanted to be playing instead of waiting for it to load, was a nice treat.
After installing, the game begins. You are first introduced to Ethan Mars, our story’s main focus. If you’ve been paying attention to the screenshots and videos for Heavy Rain that have been released, you have noticed how dark many of the shots and scenes are. The beginning of the game is a stark contrast to that. Ethan at the beginning of the game has 2 sons, a wife, and a career. The first two chapters of the game explore this life, and it only makes the inevitable loss of this life more devastating. The controls on the game are relatively intuitive, allowing the player to sense the urgency in the character’s feelings. When Ethan loses his son in the mall, the visuals become blurred, command prompts shake, taking the player into that panicked mindset that Ethan is experiencing. If I had to praise the game for one thing, and one thing only, it would be this. Heavy Rain really allows the player to become involved in the scenes that are playing out before them. The characters emotions really effect how people play this game. You feel panicky, nervous, happy, devastated, and angry when the characters do. It is an intense experience from beginning to end.
But it is definitely not the only thing that Quantic Dream has done right with this game. Not only is it an intense experience, but the game keeps you guessing along the way. Who is the killer? What is their motivation? Will the characters make it through their various tasks? It keeps you questioning even though you are playing. The graphics are also noteworthy. Quantic Dream’s labor of love is clearly on display for everyone to witness. After playing through once, I watched the “making of” videos that I had unlocked. It was quite an undertaking to create. Each of the scenes was filmed with actual actors wearing suits that would turn their movements into digitized beauty. I don’t think that you really appreciate how much work went into this gargantuan effort of a project until seeing it through to the end.
This game has great replay value as well. Aside from getting all of the trophies that the game has to offer, there are 22 seperate epilogue pieces to view, depending on who survives, who doesn’t, and what the players have chosen to do over the course of the game. I will definitely be sitting down to watch each of these different endings unfold, whether they be happy or sad.
The only thing that I have left to say is this: Heavy Rain is definitely revolutionary. If you are an impatient gamer, if you are only out to kill and experience immediate gratification, then this game may not be for you. But, if you have an open mind, are willing to experience a game rather than just play it, and are willing to put aside the conventions of gaming as you know it, then your experience will be well rewarding. Heavy Rain is a bright light in the gaming world. I only hope that more developers take a cue from Quantic Dream and stretch their ability to create not just games, but experiences. It is a step in the right direction. And one I wholly approve of.
By: Alexandria Adams