This is my first review so I hope the fanboys and other critics wont be too hard on me! After all, these are simply my views. (Sorry if it seems a little long)
I have played through the entire story several times now. (several replays in order to unlock different endings and trophies/achievements)
The most important thing for me when it comes to a game is that it must be fun. Heavy rain, although unlike any other game that I have played was fun the first time I played through it. I was gripped by the story and I couldn't wait to finish it and find out what happened next.
The way in which the story was told was very good in that it kept my attention and aside from a couple of frustratingly long sequences with very little interaction worked very well.
The first time I played through the game I did not realise that you can go back to any chapter and play the story from there - My understanding was that if you made a decision, you had to live with it - and what ever happened was final - This made the action sequences genuinely exciting for me as I really didn't want to mess up.
So, with that in mind, my first play through was great. fun story, exciting sequences and at times, I did feel very immersed in the game's atmosphere.
It is a terrible shame that I did not take the game back to the shop then and trade it in for something else. I had finished MY story and thought it was very exciting, and very entertaining.
Unfortunately, I played it again and in doing so, I realised a few things which took a lot away from my enjoyment - and even managed to taint the first (seemingly brilliant) play through.
I learnt that despite several occasions in the game where you are given a choice - It invariably did not matter what choice was made as shortly after, the story would steer back on course towards the fixed plot.
for example (and I will keep this vague so as not to spoil anything - and those who have played it will recognise the scenes):
You get the choice at one point to kill a person. if you kill him, the scene ends shortly after and the dead person plays no further part in the story. if you do not kill him, the scene ends and the person also plays no further part in the story.
In a similar situation you can chase someone; who if caught plays no further part in the story. But if you let him go, he plays no further part in the story either.
and so the pattern emerges...
I puposely made the opposite choices when I played through the 2nd time so as to get a different storyline, but I was dissapointed to find that it had little to no effect.
That said, there are a couple of occasions where you can make decisions which will impact on the story - these choices will be so blatant however, that you will know what to do and what the consequences will be. These choices ar often, simply to fail at a particular objective.
On an even more frustrating note, during the action sequences, it didn't seem to matter if you failed the majority of the QTE button combinations - as long as you got a couple of them, or the last few, then you would successfully pass that segment.
In some cases the game will give you a choice: eg: run left or right whilst being chased. First time round, I went left. The second time, I went right, just to see what would happen differently... On choosing right, he goes right, realised his path was blocked and goes to the left anyway!
This happens a LOT - But you wouldn't notice it on a single play.
In some scenes you have a choice of what to do out of 4 or more responces, only 1 will progress the story - if you are unlucky enough to choose that response first, then you can find yourself missing out on a lot of dialogue and some of the plot. What I mean here is that through no fault of your own, you can choose an option that will end the scene, without ever intending to do so!
My biggest dissapointment though, was when I learned that, the game had been miss sold to me; I was led to believe that choices and decisions made, even seemingly miniscule choices, would directly influence the story. I understood this to mean that there were a number of possibilities including the endings, and more importantly, who the killer was. I thought (and this was backed up by the countless red herrings in the game)that depending on my decisions, there may be different storylines which resulted in different killers. This is not true - and I'm surprised that no one else has touched on this aspect.
Instead, what you get is 1 story, and depending on how well you do, the game lets you see certain parts of it. Leading up to the final scene where depending who you take to this scene (ie: who is still alive and knows where to go) will play out a set number of ending sequences which either range from 'happily ever after' to misery and failure( frustratingly followed by unskippable credits!)
So basically - You play right through for the last scene, and depending on who is there, you get a different ending.
The game is brilliant for one play through only. There after, plot holes begin to emerge - and there are a few big ones!
One other thing worth a mention: while the graphics are superb, and lifelike - the voice acting is incredibly bad. There are a few laughable lines which really did spoil the mood of the scene.
I would recommend everyone to give this game a try - I enjoyed it. But don't play it more than once or you may risk ruining what is quite a good thriller story.
Nice idea, needs some work, and I think these types of games will only get better.