Heavy Rain review (PS3)

coolbeans | 1148d ago | User review
Reviewing: Heavy Rain
Quantic Dream Delivers a Virtual Wet Dream; Blurring the Lines Between Adventure Videogame and Movie
Step into an adult noir setting, step out of what you usually expect from a videogame. Developer Quantic Dream wanted to push for creating a game...that's actually more of a single-player "experience"; and it's safe to say they delivered on quite of those few fronts. As much promise as the game showed before release, one must ask: Does it deliver on all of its promises?

To give a quick history lesson, Quantic Dream has delivered a previous QTE/Adventure game called Indigo Prophecy/Farenheit (varies depending on country). Before that, the inception of QTE's occured in Shenmue, and has been used as a game variant for a plethora of games in almost every genre. While the QTE might be an overused side-feature, -ironically- very few games actually develop it to become an integral part of the gameplay. Enter the challenge for a game developer to create zeal in a new fanbase in which the main formula is normally filler in many other games. It is now easy to understand the risk-reward for creating this game.

Heavy Rain is a near-future noir game set in undisclosed city focused around the murders of young boys by the heralded Origami Killer. All that is known about this mysterious, supposed psychopath is that he/she murders boys by drowning, dumps their body somewhere, and leaves an origami figurine next to his/her victims. The story to find the killer is a 4-pronged storyline, in which 4 characters: Norman Jayden, Ethan Mars, Madison Paige, and Scott Shelby become intertwined as you progress through the game.

The beginning of Heavy Rain revolves around Ethan Mars and ,to exspunge spoilers, his reasons for getting involved in the Origami Killer's tangled web. FBI Agent Norman Jayden and Private Eye Scott Shelby's revealed drives for this Orgami Killer case are that of assignment by their agency and the victims' mothers, respectively. The one character that falls into this investigation is photojournalist Madison Paige.

This thrilling tangled web of lies leaves a story waiting to be uncovered; however, many of these questions are left unanswered or the answers that are just anticlimatic. One of the main components, Ethan's blackouts throughout the game, driving the psychological thriller portion is never properly explained. Beyond that lies some uneven pacing, other unanswered questions, and cheap-parlour tricks incorporated into the main plot twist of the game. Having said that, you'll be greeted by a great amount of suspenseful moments that still drive the game to be a great experience.

To say Heavy Rain is a beautiful game would be an understatement. From delivering crisp close-ups substituted as a static loading screen to the top-notch voice acting, HR (Heavy Rain) certainly capitalizes on the cinematic experience aspect of the game. You are greeted by direction similar to that of movies; certain moves like camera pans, multiple camera angles running simultaneously, among many other ideas incorporated in many movies are used to vary the slower, humdrum moments. Incorporate these directing ideas with a somber tone and you then have the makings of a great noir feel. It certainly has a few imbalances graphically, but it's nothing that's detriment to the overall visual appeal. Overall, almost every aspect of the audio/video side is top-notch and delivered with expertise and panache.

As stated earlier, Heavy Rain is a QTE Adventure game. What that translates to, for those unfamilar with the term, is an adventure with most of your action movements throughout the game revolving around pressing, holding, or tapping a button; on top of that, you also have motion control actions from the Sixaxis on the PS3 controller-as well as the Playstation Move-. If failing or succeeding in making the right moves, you'll be greeted with the appropriate animations translated on the screen. Whether it's simply shaking orange juice or evading police, the different button combos are both varied and well-impletemented.

What gravitates this game to great heights is having the volition that can be either life or death for your character(s). What makes this aspect of the gameplay so compelling is the idea that the story must go on. If any of your playable character dies throughout the game, the game keeps rolling and you see the consequences unfold later in the game. Entire parts of the story can be missed simply by making one choice! For example, one of your characters will be pinioned spread eagle on a table, struggling for his/her virtual life while trying to make a narrow escape (in which you only have a small amount of time to escape). Wrap up all of these aspects together, and you have the makings of a unique experience hampered by hitches that are diminutive in comparison.

In the end, Heavy Rain delivers a one-of-a-kind experience for this gen; although, also bringing a big double-edged sword in regards to the story side of the game. Although game stories aren't always a deciding factor in a game, this could be found to be exception by some. I personally have always thought a noir game's/movie's/etc. story is ipso facto a great one, so it is understandable to hold this aspect to a higher standard. The minor flaws when it comes to clunky controls and a sometimes-iffy camera can harm the experience, but it's nothing game breaking. I personally can't recommend this game for all adventure fans; however, if you are beginning to abhor those vapid shooters that seem to keep coming then you should definately try this game out.

coolbeans' *FresH* badge
Ups
Dozens of varied stories/endings equals great value
Different from every other this-gen game
Absolute, emotional thriller
Downs
Profusion of plot holes
Controls can feel clunky for some situations
Some awkward camera angles
Score
9.0
Graphics Showcases many graphically stunning moments, characters, and more; however, there are some inconsistencies.
9.0
Sound Voice acting was top notch. I found every single main character's voice timbre to be pleasent (when regarding gruffness and tone); that is a rarity to find in video games imo. Main theme was on replay far too often though.
9.0
Gameplay As stated before, the QTE gameplay is well-made and the other gameplay ideas that drive the game are almost unbelieveablely deep. A 10-12 hour run through the game could be cut in half, depending on the choices you make. Expect to fight the camera throughout the proceeding.
8.0
Fun factor Although there's much to be praised, there's that feeling on missing out on what could have been in regards to the game's story. Although it delivers on many promises, don't expect that cinematic gap between games and movies to have been fully bridged from this game.
0.0
Online
8.7
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
coolbeans  +   1148d ago
Hope you guys and gals enjoyed the review. When it comes to my " *FresH* " badge, I'm just walking closer to that of rottentomatoes.com when it comes to their aggregate reviews by critics.

I further seperate the Fresh/Rotten idea to Certified Fresh/Certified Rotten, also like that of RT. Please note, 9.0 doesn't = a *Certified FresH* badge; you may see my MW2 review as an example.
GregoryBen70058064   1144d ago | Spam
ainsz  +   1147d ago
Great review, completely agree. However I hated the children's voice acting, it was painful to listen to. Other than that, all the other characters sounded great.
DoomeDx  +   1146d ago
Agreed, especially during that ''flashback'' part

*Spoilers*
''Scot, im drowning. oh nooo...help me.'' he said that in a sarcastic way lol.

But damn, this game is awesome. I remember the part where i had to drink poison in order to get the location of shawn. I pauzed the game for 5 minutes, and though about my decision
coolbeans  +   1146d ago
Ahh....I forgot that part. I edited to "main character" instead of including "every single character".
ainsz  +   1146d ago
I know right? The feeling when you have to decide to drink the poison. I decided to do it and I felt so sad, but good in a way.

SPOILER!!!

Then at the end when/if you save shaun and find out it wasn't poison, I can't explain how happy and amazed I felt. Epic game.
TheDivine  +   1146d ago
Great review man. It was pretty awesome. Reminded me of a Dean Koontz novel, dark, disturbing, and beautiful at the same time. The ending (my ending i guess) was amazing.

SPOILER!!!

I was damn happy it wasnt poison also. I thought hard about what to do. I tried not to read spoilers and just go with my decisions. This is one game a platinum trophy imho takes away from the game. I want to see my trophies and remember every little decision i made. Its my story. The part where you crawled through the broken glass was soo tense. I loved it. Indigo prophecy was also pretty amazing. The intro was the BEST intro ever. I wish it was made with the graphics of heavy rain, still holds up well. Its bc on 360 and on the xbl store. Highly recommended.
SLLCKGT  +   1145d ago
Best thing to do is beat the game and put it back on the shelf for a month. Then play it again and you hardly remember anything, so its almost as exciting as the first time. Too many different outcomes they were all great.
coolbeans  +   1138d ago
Did that when my friend came up to play it :D.
theinkandpen  +   1145d ago
I was so eager to buy this game and then found, some time ago, that development had shifted solely to the console market. No ports are in the pipeline as far as I know. Shame, I thoroughly enjoyed their previous games and this one looks better than La Noire could hope to be.
coolbeans  +   1145d ago
"...and this one looks better than La Noire could hope to be."

Not exactly a fair comparison since LA Noire's an open world game. The gameplay mechanics between the two are completely different.
Kur0  +   1142d ago
Noire isn't very open world at all. It just gives that appearance.

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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