Step into the Heavy Rain – Game Review

It’s not often that a game has true replay value. Sure, you’ll replay it because you enjoy it but – normally, you go through the mechanics like a well oiled machine. You know the twists and turns, you might find an award (or kill) here or there that you missed the first time but generally, it’s all the same from beginning to end.

Not so I have to say with the game Heavy Rain. Having purchased this game more almost a year ago, I surprised myself the other night by feeling the need to play it again.

For the fourth time.

Heavy Rain was released in 2010 by Quantic Dream. To my knowledge, it was only released to PS3, first for the normal console and then for the PS3 Move System. The basic storyline revolves around a serial killer, the Origami Killer – who kidnaps young boys and then force their fathers to go through brutal trials to prove their love. If they do not succeed, then the boys die. You play as four characters – a father whose son has been kidnapped, a journalist who investigates the case, a private eye hired to take a look and an FBI agent. The story presents itself in a series of cut scenes. Sometimes you are directly in control of the character and other times you have to respond by pressing the buttons presented on the screen in order to control the character’s actions. What’s made Heavy Rain so appealing is that the story line is ever evolving. Your main character can die and his or her role will then just be substituted (or not) by some of the other characters, depending on what had been happening in their story. You can fail to save the boy, or you can make it in time.
You can never catch the killer, or you can be the killer.

It is brilliant. What lead me to purchase it was an article by Listverse where they listed the 10 best written games to date. The list was alright but I noticed that quite a lot of commentators mentioned that Heavy Rain should’ve been included. When I was presented with an opportunity to buy it in March of last year, I decided to grab it with both hands. And I have not been disappointed.

The game starts quite slow and admittedly, you have to take the characters through some minor, remedial tasks such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. It’s all focused on getting you more accustomed by the controls but it does slow the game play down in the beginning. The game also utilizes the PS3’s Sixaxis’s motion sensitive hardware, meaning that you sometimes have to (as with the Wii System) literally bash the brains out of somebody by waving your controller in the air like a lunatic… it was what made it such a logical game to bring out for the Move PS3 controls.
I was very sceptical about this in the beginning. To date, the only game that I played using this for the PS3 was Liar (in which nothing short of flapping your arms and leaping off of a building could get your dragons to fly…) and it frustrated me so much that I gave up after about 2 hours of game play (jumping off of buildings suck). I had thought that I’d be able to choose my controls for Heavy Rain but realized that I was delivered to my fate when I couldn’t do it.

I’m now willing to admit that this technology brings a whole new aspect to game play and I liked it. It makes you so much more involved with the story and the movement of the characters, and it brings you that one step closer to being in touch with the person on the screen. I’m impressed.

And, I’m impressed with the game itself. Or, still impressed I should say. In all the times that I’ve played it, I haven’t had one experience that’s the same. The game’s ability to adjust the game play and give you an ‘alternative’ route to reaching the end if you get one of your main characters killed gives it one of the best replay values of the games I have to date. The designers had said that they never went out to make a traditional game. The exercise was about telling a story and involving the gamer in the decisions and ending that they receive. The game markets itself to having over 20 different combinations of endings.  Although the actual story line is only about 9 hours, you can go back and change a decision in the beginning and it will change the events of the whole game.

It sticks with you. The first time I played it I found myself walking around in a depressed daze for weeks. I had received the ‘ultimate’ ending, dragging all of the main characters through the story and saving the kid, but it had not left me with a sense of accomplishment. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. With normal games that I ‘beat’ (naming Assassin’s Creed for instance).I don’t really think about the ending. I just feel glad that I’ve completed it and immediately focus my mind on my next adventure. With Heavy Rain, I found myself lingering in the afterthoughts of the game, taking the time to truly digest what happened to me through the characters. I couldn’t just let them go.

In a world where new games (and experiences) are released almost weekly, it was a welcome change to find my world slowing down and I’m anxious yet again, to step back into the Heavy Rain.

 

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About Alyssa C.

Having never quite grown up out of her nerd phase Alyssa spends her life between being a technical advisor for a pharmaceutical company, playing console games, reading anything she can get her hands on, tweeting as @alyssc01 and occasionally declaring herself Supreme Ruler of the Universe. She's a freelance writer willing to take on any challenge with numerous grammatical errors. The first three is always free.