"Heavy Rain" is by far the most innovative game I have played for quite some time. No other title has immersed me so deeply and made me feel so much a part of a story. Although it does have a couple of minor faults, this is likely to be a contender for Game of the Year (and we're only in February!).
In a city on the East coast of America, a murderer known as "The Origami Killer" is on the loose and taking the lives of innocent children. You, the player, are drawn into this terrifying tale by playing four different characters in an attempt to bring the killer to justice.
What makes "Heavy Rain" so great is the fact that it is utterly unique. Every action you take, every word you say, has a consequence. The way in which you react to any given situation has an effect on how events unfold later in the game. Sure, there have been games before in which a player's actions determine which variant of a path they travel down (RPGs such as "Fallout 3" come to mind, for example), but not on the scale that "Heavy Rain" does. If a character dies, there is no returning to a previously saved game - the story progresses without them and the way it pans-out is affected by such events. The developers claim that there is an exceptionally large number of ways in which this game can conclude, and this means that everyone who plays it will have a different experience. In short, "Heavy Rain" delivers a level of interactivity heretofore unseen in video games.
The story is immersive, gripping, and full of suspense. The characters have a lot of depth to them, and offer enough variety between one another to keep things interesting. One of this game's strongest points is also its soundtrack - the music constantly shifts to reflect the tone of each scene, and at times the orchestral score is utterly chilling. It really does add to the atmosphere tremendously. Gameplay-wise, some people have criticised "Heavy Rain" for merely consisting of a series of "quicktime" events. However, it is so much more. Although it is scripted and you do follow one main storyline, the outcome of your actions cannot be broken-down to a mere "pass/fail" format - they instead trigger different events in which you can complete a scene. These actions vary from life or death situations to the simple activity of brushing a character's teeth - either way, you can't help but feel as if you are a part of this game.
However, "Heavy Rain" is not without some minor flaws. At times, the voice acting isn't quite up to scratch. Lip-syncing seems a bit off and character's facial expressions appear slightly wooden. Furthermore, the graphics aren't exactly groundbreaking. Don't get me wrong, this game looks fantastic, but there are a couple of moments when the visuals are questionable. At one point, my character was having a conversation in a busy police station and all of the CPU "background" characters were passing through him as if they were ghosts - this is fine in a game such as Warcraft, where constantly bumping into other people is a hindrance. But in the case of "Heavy Rain" it serves to undermine the realism that the story has so delicately created. In addition, the controls could perhaps have been improved upon - they often feel a little bit clunky and unresponsive. One such instance occurred when I had to guide my character through a series of small, dark tunnels - the constantly changing camera angle appeared to confuse the system as to which direction I wanted to go in and as such I was left constantly going back and forth. But these small problems really are infrequent gripes with what is quite simply, a spectacular game.
"Heavy Rain" won't be everyone's cup of tea. If you're after a gung-ho, mindless action game then this is not it. If however, you are looking for something unique, something that requires you to weigh-up every consequence of an action and something that will immerse you into a story like nothing else, then you must play this game. It is utterly unique and completely engrossing.
on 18 March 2010
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.
This is one of the first titles I brought on the PS3, since ditching the Xbox 360 after the infamous three rings of death.
My oh my, I wasn't disappointed!
Heavy Rain follows four different characters as they pursue the notorious Origami Killer, who has been kidnapping and killing boys, usually around the age of ten. Victims are found with a small origami figurine in their hand, and an orchid on their chest. All the victims were killed by drowning.
Heavy rain starts off with Ethan Mars waking up to a bright new day, and preparing to celebrate his eldest son's birthday. Here, you can take the time to get used to the game's unique controls which not only involve using the controller for day to day tasks, but using the buttons to choose a response to dialogue.
What strikes me is the outstanding visuals the game has to offer. Characters are amongst the most beautifully drawn i've ever seen, and although there is the odd glitch, or some objects low on detail, the overal look and feel of the game is outstanding.
After the prologue style tutorial, two years have passed, and Ethan lives with his son Shaun, sharing custody of his surviving son with his estranged wife. Before long, Shaun goes missing, and Ethan faces a battle against time to save his son's life - and will constantly be faced with one question-
How far will he go to save his son's life?
This becomes central to the game's theme, and as you progress through the game, from time to time, you will take charge of the other characters in the game - A journalist by the name of Madeline, FBI Profiler Norman and Private Investigator, Scott. Along the way, there will be various challanges to overcome and some truly tense situations as the game progresses towards a conculsion.
The real innovation with Heavy Rain is that how you react to situations - what you say - what you do - whether you catch the bad guys, miss evidence - fail/pass tasks, all has consequences later on. This is where the game's diversity really pays off - and you'll find yourself returning for more to see how a different choice here and there affect the outcome of the game.
The controls aren't as difficult to master as it seems, but the more nervous your character is, the harder it can be to hit the combinations, but fear not - there is no "game over" as such, what you find is that loosing a character at specific points in the game means their input into the story is lost, thus resulting in a different ending.
The story is engaging, the characters great and once Heavy Rain gets going, you won't want to put it down.
Quite simply, a true masterpiece in gaming - and the best game I've played in a long time.
Visuals 8/10 - Beautiful animated, drawn characters - some graphics low res.
Gameplay 10/10 - Incredibly addicitve, you won't be able to put it down.
Playability 9/10 Innovative control system is surprisingly easy to use.
Overall - 9/10 - Buy it!
I played the demo of Heavy Rain when it first came out and I was intrigued, I had to get it! This is more of an interactive story than an action game, but the story is like that of a detective thriller movie, in a lot of ways it is like those old choose your own adventure books, with a hint of the good old point and click adventure games, and a few action sequences that play out using quick time events for good measure. It is unlike anything currently on the market although the creators, Quantic Dream, are bringing out another title in the future (Beyond: Two Souls)which is supposedly going to use a similar gameplay style.
In Heavy Rain, you control four different characters all looking for the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys who then get killed by drowning. The gameplay is split into chapters and in each chapter you play a different character. Choices you make during the game effect the story and ultimately the ending, there are several different endings you can achieve, but your first play through will be the most exciting as at this point you do not know anything about the story and the characters or who the killer is. However obtaining different endings is still worthwhile, especially if you wait awhile between playthroughs.
Personally I get tired of all the generic shooting games out there, war in the past, war in the present, war in the future, war in space, you get the idea, and welcome something a little different with some decent story telling and I hope to see more of this type of game in the future. If you fancy a change, Heavy Rain is certainly worth a look. However if fast paced action and lots of shooting is more your thing, you might not enjoy it as much as I did.
on 6 September 2010
Okay, it is guaranteed that this game is a completely unique experience so any kind of comparison is out of the question. I agree with many other reviews that this is not a game for everyone, if you are looking for an action packed, explosive megafest of blood, gore and violence look elsewhere.
Indeed, I think this is best described as a movie game in which the player is the director. You choose what to say, how to act and what choices to make - all of which effect the outcome of the story. Please don't think this is slow paced as there are many times when you need to think fast and move quickly. On a technical level the gameplay is extremely simple (everything you need to know is surmised on one page in the instruction manual!), players simply have to follow onscreen prompts. Overall this style of gameplay works well, I was never frustrated by its responsiveness which is great. Having said that the movement was at times a little too slow and clunky, I get a enjoyment out of exploring environments, something I was put off by because walking around was more like driving a truck that was too big to get round corners.
The graphics are good, again I agree with previous reviews that at times they seemed a little passe, certainly not the best by PS3 standards but nonetheless good and, considering the style of game, more the adequate.
Thank God it had a great story as this experience is entirely dependent on there being a great storyline. Had the makers got this wrong the whole thing would have fallen into the doldrums. Plot, characterization and development are all good drawing you back into the adventure and keeping you stuck in. To like Heavy Rain you have got to be patient, in many ways its a bit like reading a book, so not for people looking for instant gratification.
So how do I rate Heavy Rain? Well,I loved playing it, I'm a fan of everything that has a great story to tell. The freedom to essentially decide the the story yourself is fantastic and intriguing and it is this aspect that gives it its replay value. I would be excited by the prospect of another installment. Though I would make it more scary, gritty and dark. So if you are looking for something with a mature edge, something completely different which is fun and enjoyable its definitely worth a look!
on 4 August 2010
I have very high praise for this game. "Heavy Rain" totally drew me in, the level of realism was so great that I really cared what happened to the people I was watching on screen in a way that quite surprised me.
I can't say much about the plot other than the obvious (4 people become embroiled in the search for a serial killer), because everyone who plans to play this needs to know as little as possible about the plot to get the most out of it. You need to know about the style of play though. Apart from making the character move about, which is done with the directional stick, every other action on the screen is co-ordinated by following on-screen button prompts. Some of this simple, for example, if you stand facing a cupboard, you might see an arrow pointing to the left flash up - and pushing the analogue stick to the left makes the character open the cupboard and see what's inside. And some of the action is more complex. Anything like fighting, escaping or carrying out difficult tasks means that you have to watch the screen closely and press the right button quickly as it appears, or hold three down at once, or mash one as fast as you can...get the idea? Sounds like it would get boring fast but I have to say it didn't - although I got sore hands after a few of the very diffcult combinations when I ran out of fingers!
The success story of "Heavy Rain" though, is the sense of real drama. The story and the characters are fantastic. All four leads are amazingly lifelike, and they speak, move and emote with real depth, and this makes you become hugely involved with the plot...well, I certainly was, When my characters encountered hurdles or were subject to attack, I was with them all the way. Sometimes I even surprised myself by shouting at the screen when I was able to dish out much needed retribution to some of the very unsavoury characters who were after me. And unsavoury is putting it mildly. I agree with some of the other reveiwers about the classification of this game. I think an 18 certificate would have been easily justified. I knew the game was about a serial killer but I didn't expect things to be quite so violent. The killer taunts one character by forcing him to undertake sadistic "trials", and a couple of these made me flinch with genuine revulsion as I did them. This is undoubtedly due to the hyper realism of the game - you really feel like you are totally immersed in the action, and that these could be real people. And nobody has a nice time in this story: "Heavy Rain" is one very dark game.
I only have a few niggles - some events in the game are massive red herrings that are never explained. The plot is very clever (it has to work from four different perspectives), but some of the finer points passed me by and at times I got lost. The overall weakest part of the game is character movement - the swivel-and-walk-in-different-directions control scheme is hellish...sometimes I was twirling my character all over the place before getting them aligned correctly to open a door or press a switch.The flow of the game is great though, the saving is spot on - theres no easy way to backtrack if you think you've made a bad choice - unless you reboot in the middle of the action before the autosave kicks in - although I later found out you can choose a chapter and replay and save it, but I couldn't tell if this meant playing forward again from that point or simply saving that standalone chapter with a different set of actions in it (?)
In general, this game is a class production all the way, high quality and mature in all respects. The "quick-press" way of controlling the action will not be to everyone's taste - especially if you know exactly what you want to do but the button combinations are too difficult or too quick to press correctly. I think everyone should play this game, but again, be warned that it can be quite hard hitting due to the impact of some very realistic scenes of violence.
on 29 February 2016
I think the story might eventually be interesting, but I have to spend time opening cupboards to get plates out and put them on the table with a variety of complex motions....I even had to brush my god damned teeth by shaking the controller violently up and down and side to side....there's immersion, and there's retardation, this game has both. I wanted just the first feature.
on 18 February 2014
I picked this up for about £6 pound in a well known GAMEs shop last Christmas. I have been keen to play this ever since I first played the demo sometime ago.
Gameplay: It is certainly a unique and interesting approach to game playing, and there is definitely something relaxing in the seamless movements you make with the sticks on your controllers to get stuff to happen. The sudden introduction of time based button pressing creates frantic moments that get the blood pumping. While you are mostly free to move around at points it can feel a little linear as you a push from one character to another (maybe that just feels that way in the wake of GTAV). Not being able to run or speed up the gameplay can be frustrating as it can be a bit ponderous at times.
Sound: Very atmospheric music and brilliant voice work (except the kid) really help pull you into the game.
Graphics: There is no denying the game looks ace, from the character movement their expressions through to the atmospheric setting. All first class and still holding up as the PS3 begins its death throes.
Overall: While the graphics are probably the best part of the game, they are also its downfall. I found the so realistic that the constant raining and dreary setting began to depress me to the point that I didn't want to play anymore.
Bearing in mind as an older gamer with less time on my hands, I'm looking for something a little more light hearted and fun. A good game and applaud any innovation in game playing, but I'm from the UK and if I want to plod around in the rain and get in the occasional fight with crazy people, I might as well just have a night out in Newcastle.
on 27 August 2010
I loved this game to bits, it makes you feel so emphatic towards each of the four characters you play and I found it to be an emotional experience throughout. It's a nice change to have a video game which actually has an amazing storyline with it, it's very rare these days.
As for the gameplay aspects of it, given the style game is I don't think it could have been any better personally. If the controls were overhauled the game would need to be overhauled, and some amazing things about the game would need to be sacrificed.
This is a very brief review because I don't want to give anything away from the storyline, but I will say that this game just simply magnificent, you will want to play over and over and you won't forget the experience afterwards.
on 6 March 2010
I was really looking forward to this game, I thought it would be very atmospheric, drawing me into an interesting mystery storyline, with me having to fully interact with characters in order to progress etc.
In reality..... yes, it looks great, the story is passable, the interaction?? Almost non-existent, you essentially watch an animated movie and at certain points press a few buttons in order to allow the story to progress.
I was hoping for a more free-form gameplay where you make your own way between scenes, instead each scene is staged or setup and you are confined to each location until you've exhausted all the limited `interactive' options.
On the control side of things, it was very limited and very simple, for me it may as well have been a simple point and click system.
I think the game was an interesting attempt at something new, unfortunately it just didn't work for me, I just didn't feel part of it.
Another frustrating aspect of this game was that it kept freezing on my console, I ended up having to restart on numerous occasions, it may have been just my console but have never experienced this before.
I would urge anyone thinking of getting this game to consider renting it first, before buying it (you'll probably finish it within the rental period!)
As another reviewer has noted, this will definitely be a Marmite game, some will love it, some will hate it, me? I was just really disappointed!!