Heavy Rain review (PS3)

beardpapa | 1682d ago | User review
Reviewing: Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is a better video game version of Saw
Well no not really but there are similarities. I've been renting a lot of games off Gamefly seeing as how I've completely sheltered myself from online gaming and focusing more on single player aspects. Upon receiving Heavy Rain I loaded it up to see an intriguing interactive prologue to the main story.

The game centers heavily around the character Ethan Mars and his journey to saving his son. A slew of other key characters such as Scott Shelby and Madison Paige draw the audience closer to the game and its "motion film" like experience. Part of what made Heavy Rain a video game with such memorable experience compared to other games this generation is the direction of the story. The key characters are very well developed and seem somewhat organic, enough so that throughout the pacing of the game the audience can develop a connection to them.

And as the player progresses, correct and incorrect controller inputs ultimately dictate the path the story will unfold. Simply put, this game is like a film or novel brought to life in digitized form with enough interactivity for the user to be immersed into its world, and feel as though he or she is the character in that world unsure of the path they will eventually follow.

The voice acting for the game is also excellent as well as the overall sound effects giving the environments a more immersive feel. Background music could be better though as it seems a portion of the score is reused many times throughout the game. Graphic quality of Heavy Rain is also excellent but it is apparent that some models are low texture and low polygon. However, high texture and high polygon assets were kept for facial features of the characters, and it soon becomes obvious that art direction was reason for this kind of visual presentation.

The majority of background assets are rendered in heavy bloom and while some scenes feature rather bland textures and colors, other scenes are heavily textured and very detailed. It would seem that ultimately these were design choices and again art direction. The primary goal of the game is to captivate the gamer with its story and characters, so it seems reasonable that the director chose to focus the graphics on facial expressions, the key character models, and key object elements. Afterall, it would be unreasonable in a story to direct the audience's attention at something trivial to the plot.

Gameplay could have been better implemented however. The awkward controls such as pressing R2 to move forward felt unnecessary. Though I understand the point of it, allowing characters to continually move forward regardless of camera angle changes, it felt rather clumsy over traditional analog stick movement. Perhaps it was another design choice. Characters did indeed have more organic animation with this control scheme as the analog stick directs movement of the head instead of the entire body, which is what real people do when they have attention towards an object (head moves first body second).

Having played Indigo Prophecy though, I feel the older brother had better gameplay than this incarnation. The gameplay in Heavy Rain, for the majority of the time, was more about Quick-Time-Events (QTEs) than actual 'game' play. Scenes like Scott Shelby's attempt to escape from his car were 'game' play, but scenes of Madison escaping from illusions were heavily QTE.

There were some points in the game involving QTEs where I realized it didn't matter if I successfully inputted the correct button combinations; the outcome no matter positive or negative would ultimately lead me to the next portion of the story. I realized only parts of the game where decision-making was involved affected the way the story would unfold.

Ultimately, despite Heavy Rain being a wild experience and memorable one, the story, the trials, and the Origami Killer reminded me much of the movie Saw. Because the game is based heavily on character background and story, it is indeed a short game and can be easily completed in several hours. The gamer can repeat the game and make different decisions on the second play through for replayability purposes, but it is quite easy to assume where it will lead, given that the Origami Killer is the same character each time.

Heavy Rain is definitely worth playing and investing time into, though for most people like myself, is a game more worth a rental than an actual purchase. It is a game you can discuss your experience with others and also a game you can show to amaze those around you. Otherwise, reiterating what I said, it is more like a 2-night Blockbuster rental than a Blu-ray movie you want to keep in your collection.
Ups
Engaging immersive story{Believable well developed characters{Different experience from other games this gen
Downs
Too much emphasis on QTE{Somewhat predictable storyline{Somewhat awkward control scheme
Score
7.5
Graphics Indigo Prophecy felt as though it had the better game. Too many scenes involving QTEs made it less entertaining.
8.4
Sound Great facial/body animation and textures. Great body textures too despite noticeable lower polygon count. Environments though immersive and believable could use less bloom.
8.6
Gameplay Excellent sound effects, voice acting, and environmental ambience. Orchestral score is engaging and suits the mood though is reused often too many times.
7.8
Fun factor The story attracted me and it was what made me want to progress further. Although there were a lot of QTEs, some scenes with them were actually fun while other scenes seemed unnecessary.
-1.0
Online
8.2
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
Reibooi  +   1678d ago
Having just finished the game a few hours ago I have to say I disagree with ALOT of what is in this review. The biggest things being that you can connect with the characters and that the game has good voice acting.

The game has horrible voice acting. The only character that does a really good job of acting is Scott Shelby. Everyone else is either sub par or downright horrible(like Ethan Mars)

For that reason it's nearly impossible to identify and grow any connection and care about these characters. I mean it's hard to care about someone who talks(and often times looks) Like a robot.

There were also(from the path which my game unfolded) seemed to be massive story line errors that literally made no sense( I can't really discuss these here as they are very big spoilers).

On top of that add janky facial animation and some robotic animation for general movement and the game misses it's mark.

Don't get me wrong there are times the game is absolutely stunning but it fails to live up to what it could have been. The game has sporadic quality throughout. Ranging from incredible to downright bad.
#1 (Edited 1678d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

Add comment

You need to be registered to add comments. Register here or login
Remember

Heavy Rain

Average Score 8.8 Reviews(383)
Release Dates
PS3 Release Dates
JP 18 February 2010
AU 25 February 2010
US 23 February 2010
EU 24 February 2010
PS4 Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates