REVIEW: Heavy Rain
People would say that Heavy Rain’s graphics are stunning. For the most part, that statement is true. The characters all look very nice, although at sometimes they seem to have a little too much shine to their skin. This is best seen the first time you take control of character Madison Paige. Also there are moments when the rain in the game looks absolutely incredible, then there are time where the rain looks kind of meh, for instance at the start of Scott Shelby’s first sequence the camera is watching water run down the side of a road when Scott drives by splashing water towards the sidewalk, that splashing effect looked ugly and instanced. Now I am being extremely nitpicky, these so called “flaws” are nothing to get worked up over. The atmosphere is done incredibly well suiting the mood for every scenario. During one of Norman Jayden’s scenes you get to dress up your office with different “environments” thanks to the ARI he carries around. I’m not sure if this has ever been done before but the whole concept is kick ass and kicks even more ass because Quantic Dream pulled it off beautifully, the visuals of these “environments” are truly stunning. Honestly though, the most beautiful part of this game are the indoor environments. The lighting really sets the mood for the emotion they are trying to capture whether it be sunlight coming in through the huge windows or gloomy lights barely lighting a corner of a shitty house. Quantic Dream really pulled off the indoor scene, most of them are very believable if it weren’t for the awkward characters. Now that I think about it, I don’t even think anything comes close to what Quantic Dream has accomplished when it comes to indoor scenes.
Without the dramatic music in this game the mood would just be dull and boring. That feeling of a dramatic movie would be void. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that the music in this game is fucking awesome not to mention the atmospheric noises and sound effects. My only beef with the audio is the voice acting. It really is hit and miss with certain sequences. At times you feel like the acting is spot on with the scene, most of the time though they just don’t seem to suit the character and/or situation. The first time I heard Norman Jayden’s voice I was actually disappointed, same goes for Ethan Mars and a few of the non plot characters. What really brought me down though was when calling Jason’s name in the shopping mall during one of Ethan’s earlier scenes, all you had to do was press the X button and you would call his name. Sometimes though, the exact same recording would play one after the other throwing the believability scale out the window. Think about it like this, say you lost your kid in a mall, recorded yourself screaming his name and then played it on loop. Of course there’s like 3 or so recordings but still its really not very appealing to the ears. That’s just me being picky again though. A simple solution to this problem could easily have been implemented by only being able to press X as certain points is the sequence. It would fit with the rest of the game because that’s pretty much what the game is anyway (not that it’s a bad thing). So like I was saying, music good, atmosphere and sound effects good, voice acting not so great.
I’ll keep this short because there’s not much to say about it. The entire game is pressing whatever button the game tells you to press. Sounds pretty lame but it actually works for the game. The reason you play it is for the story anyway. Besides the obvious the game handles ok. It’s not the greatest because the whole game goes for realism and drama with realistic human expression but then you get to controlling these puppets and it feels clunky and awkward but still doable. There are times during gameplay when I had to pause and think about what decision I should make, to think about any and all outcomes that could possibly come of my action. Then there are times where you only have a few seconds to react and so you have to just go with your gut. It’s like playing the ending of Mass Effect 2, that feeling of intensity you get while playing and trying to make the right decisions to keep everyone alive. In Heavy Rain I would say about half of the game is that feeling of intensity. The ending had quite a twist to it, I never expected it to happen. I’m obviously not going to tell you what happened but I will tell you it’s definitely worth playing through to find out. I loved playing Heavy Rain despite it’s flaws.
The game revolves around 4 characters; Ethan Mars who is an architect with a wife and two sons; Madison Paige who is a journalist of some sort who is for some reason wet for Ethan; Norman Jayden who seems like a gay FBI agent who is hopped up on some kind of blue cocaine; and last is Scott Shelby, a retired officer gone private investigator who has the hots for some hooker who’s son was killed by the Origami killer. The Origami killer being the main drive of this game and the connection between all 4 characters. The story is broken up into a series of “scenes” I guess you could call them. In each scene you take control of one of the 4 characters who each are on their own little adventure but all have the same goal in the end, to find the Origami killer. The asshole killer kidnapps Ethan’s last remaining son because the other was somehow killed by a car. You know what, let me just take a moment to talk about that stupid scene. So the dumbass kid decides to run across a busy road even though he looks old enough to know that a speeding car would annihilate him causing his father (Ethan) to run out and protect him because he’s his son and all. Ethan runs out, jumps in front of the car, back to the car and kid in arms in front of him and somehow Ethan makes it out ok but the kid does….WHAT? Anyways, that’s really the only part in the game that I really hated, just rubbed me the wrong way. Right, so the kid gets kidnapped and Ethan has to endure these trials to get letters and numbers to an address which reveals the location of his probably already drowned son because by the time you get to him the amount of rain that has fallen is 6 inches. That being that amount needed to fall to drown somebody, like a kid, in a well. All in all this game is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you’ve read this review you probably already played through it because this is one heavy spoilerfied review. Instead, just spread the word about this amazing experience of a game.