Review: Heavy Rain

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Susan Arendt, thank you for this review of Heavy Rain. I have been trying to convince others to play this game ever since I finished my first playthrough. Got a buddy to play the first hour or so, now he's hooked. We need more games like Heavy Rain around, not in terms of gameplay or voice-over work, god no, but in terms of immersion. The sections with Ethan Mars had me on edge every single time, and when it was over I had to sit down and let what I had just done sink in. That is truly powerful interactive storytelling. Shine on you hard workers at the Escapist, and shine on Quantic Dream.

Susan Arendt:

PayJ567:
Not really a massive complaint but that spoiler at the end seemed massively uneccessary to put in... I mean the video wouldn't have been any worse if it was left out, only more people could have watched it.

Unless, of course, it isn't a spoiler. But then, maybe it is. Who knows?

There are other spoilers in the video that aren't obvious or important unless you're actually playing the game, thus the warning.

Oh, That's my bad I guess, sorry.

Susan Arendt:

RNunez:
This is my first time commenting on one of your reviews so I must first say that you have a voice that could soothe the heart of a thousand origami killers.

Now onward with my comment. I was quite happy to see that heavy rain managed not only to excel at refreshing the way a story could be told in a videogame, but it also cemented itself into the minds of critics and fans alike. I was in heavy anticipation of this game in part because it was made by Quantic Dream who also made Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy (which I noticed other people have harken) making Heavy Rain somewhat of a spiritual successor. My hope was for Quantic Dream to no longer be known for "That game that was really good but fell to pieces 3/4ths of the way in" and revive itself with something as fantastic as it previous game attempted to be and I see that Heavy rain is just that.
Thank you for the review and thanks for your insights.

I specifically avoided mentioning Indigo Prophecy because I think Heavy Rain deserves to stand on its own merits. But it's worth noting the enormous leaps that Quantic Dream made from one game to the next. That, more than anything, is what makes me eagerly anticipate whatever QD does next. I hope they're given the chance to refine the game style even further. Heavy Dream is just this side of astounding. Given a bit more time, just imagine what QD could do.

Heavy Dream? Nathan? What's next Susan? :P

I'm giving my brother this game as a birth day gift so I can play it soon. Yay for giving gifts you want yourself.

If you watch the bonus featurettes that unlock after finished the game, you'll notice most if not all the voice actors are European forced to play different American accents. Which in my opinion accounts for 99% of the issues we have with the voice acting. Some times they slip into their native tongue and considering how many people they needed and budget, looks like they weren't asked to do it again.

Once you allow this game to get its hooks into you... that's it. Expect to spend every waking moment playing it. The story is one of the best written and best presented I may have seen. It is emotional and absorbing - so much so, I found myself yelling at the screen on several occasions. And if you're a parent, be prepared to gutted like a fish. The gameplay becomes intuitive and seamless in short order.

My only complaints are minor nit-picks; I would have liked to see more of some characters, the clothing models are a little stiff, and there can be continuality issues ('Umm... Sam has two bullet holes in him... maybe he should be going to a hospital next? Just saying.'). But beyond these, Heavy Rain is an engrossing wonder to behold.

Darn, now I'm getting tempted to get a PS3 after all. Does anyone know if there's a PC port planned later on? Fahrenheit was on PC...

teh_gunslinger:

Susan Arendt:

RNunez:
This is my first time commenting on one of your reviews so I must first say that you have a voice that could soothe the heart of a thousand origami killers.

Now onward with my comment. I was quite happy to see that heavy rain managed not only to excel at refreshing the way a story could be told in a videogame, but it also cemented itself into the minds of critics and fans alike. I was in heavy anticipation of this game in part because it was made by Quantic Dream who also made Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy (which I noticed other people have harken) making Heavy Rain somewhat of a spiritual successor. My hope was for Quantic Dream to no longer be known for "That game that was really good but fell to pieces 3/4ths of the way in" and revive itself with something as fantastic as it previous game attempted to be and I see that Heavy rain is just that.
Thank you for the review and thanks for your insights.

I specifically avoided mentioning Indigo Prophecy because I think Heavy Rain deserves to stand on its own merits. But it's worth noting the enormous leaps that Quantic Dream made from one game to the next. That, more than anything, is what makes me eagerly anticipate whatever QD does next. I hope they're given the chance to refine the game style even further. Heavy Dream is just this side of astounding. Given a bit more time, just imagine what QD could do.

Heavy Dream? Nathan? What's next Susan? :P

I'm giving my brother this game as a birth day gift so I can play it soon. Yay for giving gifts you want yourself.

Oh, for pity's sake. I just shouldn't talk today, clearly. :p

Wonder if ZP will review this, it would be exciting to see if he actually liked this game

Good game, excellent review. Loved the Ennio Morricone spaghetti music... Epic and very fitting. ^^

R1CK_D0M:
The gameplay aside, if you make the wrong decisions, heavy rain can be the most depressing thing you'll play in a long time.

This is actually one of the reasons I want to play the game so much. The fact that the ending can be so open, unlock most games on the market today. I like being able to screw things up without the game over approach.

Too bad I don't own a PS3.

Why did they need spoilers in that review. It would have been fine without it.

Having played Heavy Rain through, I have to say it's an amazing game. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but very very different from the games on the marketplace these days. I actually found myself making real choices about right and wrong, and several times I didn't know what choices I would make.

Although, I do wonder about calling the gameplay "quick-time events." These aren't the kind of QTEs that we think of as "press X to not die". They're more akin to "to use this object, press X, but press O to try this other thing, and make up your mind quickly or I'm punching you in the face." It's not that they aren't QTEs, but that they're so much more.

My issues with it are movement controls and general dislike of QTEs, but adventure games I've always liked This sounds like a good rental.

Casual Shinji:

In a way Heavy Rain reminded me of the first Assassin's Creed: It's like playing an amazing game, but someone keeps jabbing you in the side with a pencil every few minutes.

Isn't the last part what Yahtzee said?

Susan Arendt:

PayJ567:
Not really a massive complaint but that spoiler at the end seemed massively uneccessary to put in... I mean the video wouldn't have been any worse if it was left out, only more people could have watched it.

Unless, of course, it isn't a spoiler. But then, maybe it is. Who knows?

There are other spoilers in the video that aren't obvious or important unless you're actually playing the game, thus the warning.

It's fairly early in the game, so I'd say its not a spoiler.

I mean, that's the second mission with Scott, so it's not anything major.

Holy_Handgrenade:

Casual Shinji:

In a way Heavy Rain reminded me of the first Assassin's Creed: It's like playing an amazing game, but someone keeps jabbing you in the side with a pencil every few minutes.

Isn't the last part what Yahtzee said?

Dagnammit, and here I thought I had an original comparison.

It's in my GameFly queue, so now I just have to play through a few other titles to get there.

worldnamer:
Having played Heavy Rain through, I have to say it's an amazing game. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but very very different from the games on the marketplace these days. I actually found myself making real choices about right and wrong, and several times I didn't know what choices I would make.

Although, I do wonder about calling the gameplay "quick-time events." These aren't the kind of QTEs that we think of as "press X to not die". They're more akin to "to use this object, press X, but press O to try this other thing, and make up your mind quickly or I'm punching you in the face." It's not that they aren't QTEs, but that they're so much more.

Ok, that description made me giggle. It's also pretty apt. Nicely done. :)

Nice review of a game that had me hooked from start to finish.

I knew it would divide people in their opinions. It's a shame so few people own a ps3 or will treat this game with such disdain by the label "interactive movie", honestly that label doesn't do it justice. I hope though that its success in sales will mean more games from the developer. I've never played anything quite like this before.

Excellent review, informative and funny! I really enjoyed it, and i can't wait to (eventually) get this game!

Bit pedantic of you, though, to quibble over how one of the characters' says "origami".

UtopiaV1:
Excellent review, informative and funny! I really enjoyed it, and i can't wait to (eventually) get this game!

Bit pedantic of you, though, to quibble over how one of the characters' says "origami".

It's not just one character. That example is just the most egregious.

Hah, last bit of the vid was great.

And how in Gods name did Susan forget to include the "JAYson. JAYSON! JAYson." moments. :P

I've played and beaten this game over the past week. I can't get enough, I started a new game and I want to see how much differently I can steer the storyline

Wish that they would port this bad boy to the 360.

From what I have seen of the game so far, you got it right thinking of Choose Your Own Adventure, Susan, but also it has a strong Sims streak to it as well. :D
It is looking quite appealing, but I have to wonder if I can forgive the game for its crappy writing. The creator gets aces for concept, but he really should have hired a good writer for this instead of bolloxing it on his own. For one, serial killers never admit to being what the cops label him/her as. Though that fellow in that scene might have been a copycat. Now I want to play it even more to know for certain.
And verrrrry creepy loading screens. Though, it could be worse, they could be making faces at you instead of just looking absently around.

Toar:
Wish that they would port this bad boy to the 360.

Are you sure you want a game with this kind of detail to it on a clunker like the 360? The graphics would get trimmed down very noticeably, not to mention the breakdowns that would occur during any tense moment.
Thinking about it though, if someone made a game like this with the 360 in mind, we might just get a better story out of it since the developer wouldn't be worried more about bigscreen computer animation quality to the game.

Loved The Good The Bad and The Ugly moment. Looks interesting something I'd wait until the price dropped to pick up. Quantic dream the amazing and mind bending Omikron: The Nomad Soul another flawed and beautiful game

Susan Arendt:

Sparrow:

Susan Arendt:

Sparrow:
I doubt I can be budged on how much I hate this game until I actually play it, which sound ridiculous I know.

But then, I'm screwed either way. If I do buy it, and hate it, I'll feel like an idiot. But, if I don't play it I won't be able to form a concrete opinion of it.

Maybe I should just steal it.

I don't understand...why do you hate it?

Well, in general, not a big fan of any console exclusives in general. I own a Wii, a PS3 and a 360, and yet I still hate the very concept of the fact developers hold titles from other consoles for personal gain is well, dick-ish. I understand in most cases, it's different for the Wii.

The main reason is, well, I don't think this is the right game for a console (goes back on my previous point a bit, but meh). I actually think this game could fully operate with the use of a DVD remote. Everyone that reviews this says it's like "an interactive movie experience". Nobody ever goes straight to calling it a game.

I just don't understand why it couldn't function on something it's better suited to. Like... a blu-ray player.

If you played it, you'd understand better. You need the range of movement that the joystick provides. You're still walking around in 3d space, something that wouldn't work as well on a DVD remote, for example. It would be possible to do a game like this on a Blu-ray player, but it wouldn't be nearly as good.

Now, Natal, on the other hand...that would be fascinating.

As for exclusives, it's not as though they're doing it out of spite, it's a matter of development teams (at least in this case...in other instances, it's a matter of being paid to be exclusive). If you have a large enough team to develop for more than one console, then that's marvelous, but if you don't, it's in your best interest to focus your attention on delivering the best experience you can for a single platform, whatever that platform may be. Quantic Dream just plain isn't big enough to develop for multiple platforms at once. Hardly "dickish" of them to want to make the best game they can with the resources at their disposal.

I don't think he has any real justifications there, Susan. I mean, really - DVD remote? To me, it simply sounds like he made up his minds without the facts and doesn't have any good reasons behind it.

Now me, I played the demo and, man, I loved it! The fight scene was possibly the most balls-out action I remember in a game for a long time! It was so visceral and in your face, and more than once I found myself ducking and weaving, kicking up my legs defensively and moving my controller around as if it might help!

If only a truck full of PS3s would conveniently crash in front of my house... I've been waiting for this game since the 2006 demo and now I can't even play it. *goes off to cry in corner*

Enjoyable read though, nice to see that this place always writes non-spoilerific reviews (well, as much as it can be).

heavy rain sucked for me, too little action thinly spread on a weakly told story, in a game based around story.

Warachia:
heavy rain sucked for me, too little action thinly spread on a weakly told story, in a game based around story.

How the story was told is a point of view thing, so I'm not going to dwell on that, but too little action? IMO it had plenty of it. Every Scott chapter except maybe two had some real good action. Ethan chapters after first few ones?

Madison's first chapter and several later ones? How about Jayden and his actions? Even those without the fights were pretty intense and awesome That's too little? If yes, then I don't really know what were you expecting...

Anyway, the game is great. It finally kicked out KotOR II from the first place on my 'top 10 games ever' list. It sucked me in emotionally, mangled, chewed and finally spit leaving me with one of the most depressing endings possible (yeah, I screwed up during my first walkthrough). Amazing. No game ever managed to do that before. Currently I beat the game in (almost) every way possible. I'm hunting for platinum trophy and I have only one gold trophy to go (not the 'all endings' one. I have it since ages, I'm talking about second one :]). I beat it 12 times and still counting. If you have PS3 and you still didn't play it - shame on you, and fix that mistake.

Warachia:
heavy rain sucked for me, too little action thinly spread on a weakly told story, in a game based around story.

I am the opposite. A bad story can wreck a game whether the controls and game play are amazing or terrible, where as I'll play a game through if it has a good story going for it.

On Topic I'm excited to rent this as soon as possible, if my game rental place would hurry up and get more copies of it in.

You couldn't pay me enough to play Heavy Rain.

Yet another video about heavy rain I cant watch yet :( I keep wanting to watch reviews of the game but I have yet to play anymore than the demo. Damn this game/movie making it impossible to read or watch anything about it without spoilers. So someone tell me is it worth selling a few games to gamestop for heavy rain or should I just wait?

sunpop:
Yet another video about heavy rain I cant watch yet :( I keep wanting to watch reviews of the game but I have yet to play anymore than the demo. Damn this game/movie making it impossible to read or watch anything about it without spoilers. So someone tell me is it worth selling a few games to gamestop for heavy rain or should I just wait?

If you want to get an amazing story and unleash emotions (various. From extreme adrenaline on some more neck-breaking chapters, through shock and sadness from depressing parts, to happiness if you'll manage to get to the happy ending) you never felt during any game ever (and even if you felt something like that to THAT extent from other game, then you should already know how awesome is that), then go for it. HR is IMO worth every single penny you'll spend on it.

Wonderful review of a fantastic game. The control scheme seemed tedious at first, especially since we were using it to perform such mundane actions (Brushing teeth? Really?). But it dawned on me that this was a clever way to create empathy with the player- the tasks are all familiar day to day actions we perform. Its easy to slip into the role of the character when we're performing their daily routine along with them. At the same time, its a simple way to educate the player on the control scheme without breaking the mood with a complete training level. There enough chracterization and action going on to keep the chapter interesting while keeping us in a completely safe environment in which to practice the various puzzles and challenges the game will throw our way. It serves to build the theme and mood as well, since this bright and happy introduction to our characters is clearly meant to draw a parallel to the desperate and dark feel to the rest of the chapters. In short, it was a great way to show us how to play and establish that Ethan's life and dreams are going pretty well, if all too mundane and suburban, before the events that define the rest of the game.

One thing that doesn't get mentioned here is the expert way the game handles pacing and mood. The scenes in the large crowds, where the characters are trying to push through to get to an objective, with that thrilling score in back...wow. Good stuff. Likewise, the ARI environments are appropriately majestic and awe inspiring, both thrilling to watch and well juxtaposed with the rest of the gritty setting- its easy to see why one would want to escape into it as much as possible. There are plenty of examples, little touches that make the game just surreal enough to be eerie without damaging the realism (super advanced virtual reality tech notwithstanding). I think my favorite moment in the game involved our bedraggled protagonist limping down a long hallway bathed in a blood red light, with a completely white room at the far end. It was just the right combination of cinematic and interactive to be awesome and scary all at once.

I think the 'movie' comparison is inevitable. Its not that it just covers itself in cut scenes to sit through. Indeed, while its not heavily interactive in the sense that you can attack anyone you want or leave a discussion immediately, the conversation pieces tend to be quick and give you several options to respond, and each choice really does shape how your story goes. No, the 'movie' comparison is appropriate because this game really was inspired by the suspenseful movie genre, with heavy doses of Noir and a dash of sci fi thrown in. This makes parts of the game cliche (if you've seen many classic detective stories, Scott Shelby will be familiar territory, Ethan would fit in well with any 'save the missing relative/play the killer's game' story, and Norman still reminds me of Mulder). But its in as much how you execute a cliche as how you defy it, and the game execute them very well.

All that said, I had a few issues. I don't care one wit about the plot holes. The story still fits together just fine to me. What bugs me is what amounts to a cheap shot in perspective...something occurs 'off camera' that would solve the entire mystery, and it occurs in a way that will make the player feel as if they should very well have been aware of how, why, and when the event occured. This isn't a deal breaker, but since the entire premise of the game is to solve the mystery, having this essentially 'covered up' until the big reveal was....annoying. Then too, some of the options were given are hard to see or just rather vague as to what the player would actually be doing. In a game built on choices, that can be very, very bad. For example, in a hostage situation I was attempting to talk down the gunman while training a weapon on him. The game gave me the option to press R1, which looked to be the start of a puzzle. In fact, it was the 'shoot the gunman' option, something I didn't want to do for a number of reasons.

All in all, however, it was fantastic. Easily the best game I've played in a couple years, based largely on the incredible story. Highly recommended.

And yeah, the whole 'Origamee' killer thing buged me too. I decided early on that Blake had just screwed up the way its pronounced when the killings began, and the press and everyone else just starting using the mistake as a way of mocking him. Man, I hated that guy.

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