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Heavy Rain Review

Heavy Rain Review (PS3)

MSRP: $29.99

1-Player

“How far will you go to stop a serial killer?” – Quantic Dream

Late last year, Roger Ebert exclaimed that games will never be considered art. He had obviously never played Heavy Rain, Quantic Dreams’ cinematic yet highly interactive masterpiece.

I’ve never experienced a game quite like Heavy Rain. Never has a game affected me on an personal/emotional level. The characters are so well-written, well-realized, that the player can’t help but care about each of the protagonists fates; especially around the end game.

Heavy Rain plays a bit like an interactive movie in which all of the players decision affects the direction of the story. And this story is not your traditional video game cliche. Heavy Rain focuses of four interconnected characters as they track down the notorious Origami Killer before he or she can kill again.

The unapologetic adult story puts the characters – and the player – in very uncomfortable situations. Imagine – as a parent – losing your child in the mall, the crowds barely letting you pass through them. And when you do find your child it is too late, your worst fears have happened…

The player controls each of the characters using the PS3 Dualshock controller, or the Playstation Move peripheral. I personally found the Playstation Move more intuitive as many of the gestures that the player have to do correlate to the actions the characters done on screen. For example, in order to knock on someone’s door, the player has to raise the PSMove over his head, and flick his wrist forward as if simulating the action of knocking.

I did face a lot of issues with the characters movement. Since the game utilizes fixed/cinematic camera angles, moving the characters within the environment tends to be a chore; controlling their tank-like walking patterns can get annoying and may remove you from the immersion.

Technical Presentation

AudioHeavy Rain is a treat to the aural senses, especially if you have a surround sound system. Small details like the pitter-patter of rain, character conversations, environmental ambeint sounds, are top-notch; working together to immerse the player into the world. Voice acting is a bit hit or miss. While some characters like Madison and Scott are well acted, Ethan and Norman (Jayden FBI…) are so obviously voiced by french actors playing American characters. Thus their accents showing more often than not. It’s really hard to believe their accents when they keep mispronouncing words like “Private” to “Pree-vate.”

GraphicsIf anything, Heavy Rain showcases the Playstation 3’s horsepower. The game sports some of the most realistic characters, animations, and environments seen on any system so far. Though some animations can seem wooden sometimes, the facial reactions, emotions are conveyed in an eerily realistic fashion. Many times people that pass by me as I played the game asked me what movie I was watching.

Final Thoughts

By the end of the game, I felt horror, thrill, anger, and other emotions that I never feel when playing most other games. Many times I caught my hands shaking, my forehead sweating, my butt at the edge of my seat, all because of the prolonged tension during some of the game’s more thrilling sections.

This game will not appeal to most gamers who are looking for your typical shooting, fighting, sports games that dominate the video game market. But if you’re looking for a cinematic, emotional, and engaging game look no further than Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain has recently been added to the Playstation 3: Greatest Hits Collection.

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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on March 18, 2011, in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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