How far are you prepared to go to save someone you love?
That’s the question behind the dark and moody “Heavy Rain.” The game tells the story of the hunt for the serial murderer known as the Origami Killer. Actually, the game is less like a “game” and more like an interactive story for which you can help mold the plotline. It also uses some innovative gameplay mechanics that I liked, including the use of split-screen sequences, which allow you to judge which response to a situation would be best based on the reactions of the characters around you.
Unfortunately, the storyline starts out slowly. So slowly that I was concerned about the overall quality of the game’s plot. I understand the need to teach players the gameplay mechanics, but it seems like this “tutorial” section wasn’t quite up to a par with the rest of the game.
The visuals are phenomenal and successfully evoke the “film noir” style that the game emulates. As fellow gamer Scott Grundies of San Diego said: “Visually, (the game is) pretty awesome. A few stutters here and there on my PS3, though, but nothing major or persistent. The characters look awesome, and most of the sets are done well.” I agree about the art style. The game has stuttered a couple of times on my system, but the visual artifacting has not been distracting in any way.
Yes, the game uses quicktime-events, but they are presented in a completely different style than any other games that I have played. With “Heavy Rain,” if you miss a specific button in the sequence, the game continues on, and something happens as a consequence of that failure instead of forcing you to replay the sequence over and over until you complete it perfectly. That was completely refreshing.
The story is well done, and definitely engaging (once you get past the introductory section), but I felt that there were some plot holes and minor contrivances that should have been cleared up.
Ultimately, I want to recommend “Heavy Rain” to everyone, because I think its story, art style and gameplay execution are definitely something that people should experience and formulate their own decisions about. I think that Andrew Pfister, senior games editor at G4TV, summed it up perfectly when he said, “It’s the kind of game that’s not going to appeal to everybody, but at the same time you want to recommend that everybody play it.”