Looks awesome and the split screen, picture-in-picture camera angles
- Some really evocative music
- Replay factor
Some very intense sequences
- An adventure game!
think the reveal of the killer is a cheat
- Sixaxis motions don't always seem to register
- Some story disconnects that require much suspension of disbelief
- Encountered multiple game-stopping freezes
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Score: 9.0 / 10
Heavy Rain made me really lament the
passing of the adventure genre. Admittedly, it's a nostalgic attachment
as my earliest gaming memories are steeped in the genre and what made
adventure games so memorable -- the characters, the puzzles, the quest,
-- have been absorbed by most other genres, even first-person shooters,
so it's not like adventure games vanished completely, but I miss the
As much as Heavy Rain makes me think of adventure games of yore, it's
definitely a jump from my nostalgic musings because there's quite a bit
of reflex-dependent action. There are long stretches of rapid
button-presses, directional flicks of the thumbstick, holding down a
buttons, or flailing the Sixaxis controller
to illicit some kind of action. Using the on-screen prompts to
manipulate objects in the environment -- open a car door, take a shower,
examine items -- takes very little getting used to and when there's no
pressure, it's a great way to interact with the game.
But Heavy Rain rises and falls on waves of intense action where a missed
button press can result in death or a missed clue, both of which can
have simple to dramatic effects on the way the story pans out.
It's not exactly a branching game, with
bizarrely different endings depending on your actions through the game.
The changes tend to be a little more subtle, with some sequences playing
out longer or shorter, or with different people involved, but it
encourages the player to dive back into the game after reaching it's
conclusion, especially after flipping through gaming forum posts and
comparing experiences with other players.
That doesn't mean the story is without some holes in the story. In fact,
there are quite a few questions that are never seem to be answered in
the game. Even with some musings to fill in the holes to answer the
questions or just suspending disbelief, there are still parts that feel
like a page or two is missing.
Heavy Rain starts strong with tragic protagonist Ethan Mars, picking up
the pieces of his life, which is shattered again when his son is
kidnapped by the so-called Origami Killer, whose victims show up days
after being snatched, dead after being drowned in rainwater. The killer
contacts Ethan with Heavy Rain's tagline: How far are you prepared to go
to save someone you love? Which sends Ethan on a gauntlet of five
trials; tasks that become increasingly horrible as tries to save his
son. The other three playable characters follow plot lines that weave
into what Ethan is trying to do, though from different angles.
It's the emotional involvement in the
story, missing pages and all, that made Heavy Rain really stick with me
hours after setting the controller down. As a parent in real life, my
main goal was saving the kid before he drowned. I managed to do that on
my first play through even though one of the characters died before the
climactic showdown. That involvement made the action sequences all the
more intense because I wanted to carry all the characters to the end so
any button slip or directional error was cause for concern, especially
when it came to life or death moments.
Heavy Rain is an essential title for an adventure game fan but I don't
think I can limit the recommendation to "fans of the genre." It's
involving in a way that most games don't even aspire to. There's still
work that developer Quantic Dream can do to hone this experience to make
it even more engrossing but you can't go wrong by spending time with