At the recent DICE conference which just took place in Las Vegas, David Cage gave a speech which outlined nine points supporting his message that "the industry needs to grow up." Predictably, his comments angered many people and I've been seeing comments across the gaming spectrum disagreeing with him or trying to prove him wrong in various ways.
I've learned a few things after reading about what's happened during the DICE Summit and Awards event that's taken place this past week. The industry seems to be crying out desperately for maturity. David Cage (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls) says that games need to grow up. Warren Spector (Epic Mickey) says that games like Lollipop Chainsaw shouldn't be made. The industry wants more Journey and The Walking Dead experiences, as evidenced by these games winning 99.5% of the awards given out. The definition of "fun" is changing.
In a short period of time I have played three games that may not seem to be similar or related. The co-op shooter Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, the straight-up cover shooter Max Payne 3, and the thriller Heavy Rain share a third-person perspective, though, one that reflects their central cinematic aspirations. Although their critical reputations vary, each of these games is an interesting failure in the project of creating a playable movie.
I have to say, I find few things as irritating as a console game that will not play without being installed to the drive. Disc. Console. Turn on. Play. This is a very simple concept that has been happening without issue for a few generations now. The fact that I have to turn my system on at least half an hour before I intend to actually play never fails to infuriate me.
Our three Heavy Rain critics join Tim for a post-mortem on the game. We don't talk much about the story. Instead we focus on the game's emotional resonance (or lack thereof), its "fail-less" structure, the effectiveness of its quicktime events, and its possible legacy in the annals of videogame history. Also, somehow, we mention Shenmue about 20 times. Featuring Richard "Really" Naik, Trent Fingland, Dan Weissenberger, Tim Spaeth, and a cat hair mustache.
Well, I finally finished Heavy Rain, and was startled by a lot of things about the last few chapters. The identity of the killer, the lack of resolution offered to many parts of the story, and a certain twist that invalidates nearly everything that occurred.
Look, we all know that this is basically just another Saw game, and given how bad the actual Saw game was, I understand why hopes were high for Heavy Rain, and why we'd want to give it a pass for its unoriginality. But I thought I'd take a moment to acknowledge just how similar the premises are. They're both stories about a crazed killer who kidnaps people and then creates elaborate traps inside crumbling edifices deep within America's post-industrial wastelands, designed to test how much a victim will sacrifice to save a life.
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