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Heavy Rain Review

Richard Naik's picture

Wait... Why Did He... That Doesn't Make Any... Uggghhhhhh...

Heavy Rain Screenshot

HIGH The Saw-esque anticipation of something horrifying.

LOW The weak, head-scratching reveal of the murderer's identity.

WTF The install screen that made me bitterly regret never learning how to properly fold a paper airplane.

"I don't know if this genre will be still called point-and-click adventure in the future but games where the story, puzzles and relaxed pace are the main characteristics, will definitely stay here."

The above excerpt is from an interview I did with Machinarium lead designer Jakub Dvorsky, responding to a question about the future of point-and-click adventure games. While I don't have any idea if Heavy Rain was the kind of game he was alluding to, it certainly fits the bill (along with its spiritual predecessor Indigo Prophecy) as an evolutionary step forward from the adventure games of ages past.

The player is in control of one of four main characters trying to find a serial killer before he/she claims their next victim. The film noir feeling the game is gunning for is expressed beautifully through the cinematography and the player-induced insights into the characters thoughts. Like Indigo Prophecy, traditional adventure mechanics like item usage and problem solving are integrated with QTEs to heighten the player's interaction.  All the pieces are in place for Heavy Rain to be an absolute knockout that pushes forward into a new genre borne from adventuring's ashes. Make no mistake—Quantic Dream is swinging for the fences here. Unfortunately, they'll have to settle for a shallow pop fly in every sense of the term—eliciting the "ooos" and "ahhhs" of a home run at first, but eventually just lazily dropping into nothingness.

First, the game has a number of technical problems. While it never crashed on me, there were a lot of audio and frame skips which were particularly bad during QTEs when they caused me to miss a button. There were also several instances where the subtitles were badly out of sync with what the characters were saying, which wasn't so much of a problem for me, but I can imagine this causing a lot of confusion for non-English speakers who rely on the subtitles. Still none of these problems were bad enough to break the game. Those honors go elsewhere.

Heavy Rain Screenshot

I'll be blunt about it—Heavy Rain has bad controls. The "hold button to move" mechanic is absolutely ridiculous, as every single action I took could've been handled better by a simple joystick push, like in...well...almost every other joystick-using game ever created. The fact that the mere action of moving around the world was a chore that left my finger sore is a crippling flaw big enough to derail the control scheme by itself, but unfortunately that isn't the end of the control problems.

I was constantly fighting my character to keep him/her facing in the right direction, as turning is extremely sluggish and unresponsive. All too often I would go right past an interaction point several times before I was finally in the right spot and facing the right direction. The problem magnifies itself when the camera angle suddenly shifts when I'm moving. It's very easy to get turned around during these shifts, and as I said, getting set in the right direction is a pain. The sequences involving moving and turning in tight quarters are brutal, and as a result I spent very little time reveling in the suspense that was intended in these spots.

Picture this: I see a potentially torturous situation in front of me, and I cringe a little at the thought of what my character is being asked to do. I take a deep breath and head on into something that will certainly be hard to watch. I take the first few steps into this trap, and after a while I reach an intersection. Fortunately the game gives me a way to figure out where to go, so I attempt to turn in the correct direction. Nope. I'm stuck. The suspense level is obviously meant to be rising, as the music's pitch is growing higher and higher the further I go, and the pain my character is being made to endure is increasing with each step I take. However, instead of reveling in all of the wonderful aesthetic that was so clearly intended to take me in here, I am instead stuck, cursing the inability to simply turn in the direction I want to go. This particular instance was the worst of its kind, but there were several others throughout the game, and they only serve to highlight the game's flaws rather than allowing me to take in what the game is doing right.

However, pinpoint controls aren't why one plays Heavy Rain. An adventure game is its narrative. It is the heart and soul of the game, and no other aspect can even come close to its importance. Even with poor controls, the story can still wash all that away and make me push on just to see what happens next. Surely this is where Heavy Rain truly excels, right?

Heavy Rain Screenshot

Wrong. Heavy Rain manages to drench its narrative in mediocrity too. When the whole driving force behind a game is the story and the player's connection to the characters, those two elements damn well better be good, and in Heavy Rain they're far from it. Obviously I won't throw any spoilers out here, but the plot is so full of holes, out-of-place characters, and illogical decisions that one would think George Lucas was brought in to write the script. It seriously feels like this was written on a weekend (especially the reveal of the murderer's identity) and then put into production without anyone editing it or noticing that major plot developments made no sense.

The one thing Heavy Rain does do quite well is express the emotion and tension in the individual scenes. The game wields the threat of horrific acts like a weapon, slowly building up the tension in a Saw-like anticipation of something terrible happening and then bringing it down with the force of a sledgehammer. Again, I won't describe any of them specifically, but this is the one area where I think they really nailed what they were going for. When they hit the high notes with these scenes, they hit them hard. Unfortunately, even this aspect falls kind of flat without a strong overall story to support it.

Let's take a look at what we've got here. The controls and interaction with the game world are suspect at best and downright awful at worst. And even looking past that I still come away disappointed. The script is weak, the characters' interactions/motivations are often left unexplained, and the voice acting is mediocre in some places and bad in others. The only thing Heavy Rain really has going for it is the composition of some of the individual scenes, and that's not nearly enough to carry the whole game on its own. So in the end we don't have much of anything except the spectre of what might have been.

It's an important step forward to be sure, and I think when we look back on the history of adventure gaming Heavy Rain will be listed as a milestone in its own right. However, it succeeds only in showing us what might be possible, and not what is possible. I really, really wanted to like Heavy Rain, but it has far too much working against it. So here's my advice—play it. Take a look at where the genre is going and try to see the potential here. Then discard it while it's still worth something at GameStop or wherever else and wait for another game to truly fulfill that potential. Rating: 4.0 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS3. Approximately 8 hours of play was devoted to completing the game once on normal difficulty.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains blood, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language and use of drugs. Lots of disturbing imagery and other stuff going on here, folks—keep the kids away.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: All audio is subtitled and I only saw one significant audio cue in the whole game. The cue was not a game-breaker. However, deaf players may have some trouble due to the occasional lack of sync between the text and the spoken lines.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Developer(s): Quantic Dream  
Key Creator(s): David Cage  
Publisher: Sony  
Series: Heavy Rain  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore  
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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Nice work on this review;

Nice work on this review; it's definitely what I would consider informative and accurate.

Unlike a lot of other "reviewers" you manage to highlight one big enough reason why this game fails and that is due to a poor story. Unfortunately a lot of people think that if a game tries to tell a story that is mature, even if it's actually good or not, then that automatically means that it's "superb". I don't think so.

Heavy Rain would get absolutely destroyed if it were a film, and the fact that - as a game - it has technical problems too means that the developers really haven't accomplished much at all. Shame.

Sounds just like Indigo Prophecy

What's really disappointing is that it sounds like the guys at Quantic Dreams didn't take anything from the criticisms of Indigo Prophecy.

While they should perhaps be commended for (hopefully) opening the way for a next generation of story-driven games, a part of me also resents them for exploiting the current immature state of video game story. Create a story for your video game that seems to reach beyond a mere excuse to kill hundreds of baddies and you will be praised to no end for it. Illusory interactivity is vital but actual good gameplay is expendable. See also: Metal Gear Solid 4.

Question

Saying you are entitled to your opinion sounds snarky and disingenuous, but I'll say it anyway.

You are entitled to your opinion.

Personally, I didn't find the controls too difficult after just a little while, and had one or two freezes, but no big technical glitches. Still, that's all utterly up to your personal experience.

What I think is a little more troubling are your views on the story which you, understandably, had to be vague about. I can think of one unexplained pheneomena that everyone is wondering about, and that I hope can be explained in the DLC, that would be considered a hole. But, your assertion that,

"the plot is so full of holes, out-of-place characters, and illogical decisions that one would think George Lucas was brought in to write the script. It seriously feels like this was written on a weekend (especially the reveal of the murderer's identity) and then put into production without anyone editing it or noticing that major plot developments made no sense."

seems hyperbolic and untrue from my experience of the game. So, totally for my own edification, if you could give some examples, with tons of spoiler tags, of what you mean, I'd really appreciate it.

Yeah, I like this game and view it in a better light than you. But, mostly, I just want to hear the specifics of where you're coming from. Thanks!

What galls me is that it's

What galls me is that it's getting acclaim for doing thematically what soap operas have done for years, and not even doing it very well, and that THAT's being called 'art'.

Heavy Rain should have been a serialized pay per chapter download on the PSN network.

Richard- a minor quibble.. the horror of finding the interaction point was lessened by using the stick to tilt the characters head in the desired direction- you could overshoot where you were standing, but turn your head and find the action icon. Once I figured this out the movement issues were marginal.

Responses

@Crofto

I think they accomplished something in that they showed what *can* be done with some better writing and tighter controls-I really hope this spurs someone else to try their hand at this genre, although Indigo Prophecy didn't really spawn any imitators either.

@Anonymous

I like Indigo Prophecy for the first 2/3 of the game, but after all the ridiculous crap started it lost me. Also totally agree about MGS4.

@Andrew
[SPOLIER WARNING]

Here's a rundown of my major problems with the story (which will probably show up on this site eventually) plus another article outlining a lot of the plot problems which I think is very accurate.

@RandomRob

Turning my head actually still didn't get me the interaction prompt a lot of the time. I *had* to be facing it or else it wouldn't show. Might be just the way I saw it though.

Good review Richard because

Good review Richard because you really make it clear why you did not like the game and why you gave it the score you did.

But i don't agree with you.

For starters i also did not like the movement controls but they were not game breaking. After a certain point i got used to them and stopped interfering with the enjoyment of the game.

As for the plot holes while i would agree there may be some, i agree with Andrew that the game was not full of them. In spite of any plot holes the story rises above the vast majority of stories told in the videogame medium. Enough with "save the world" or the "angels Vs demons" stories. The story is mature not because of the killings and the sex scene but because of its theme.

I am not a father but there was nothing i wanted more than to save that child. It was not because i thought "it's what the game wants me to do in order to succeed" but because i really wanted to save him resulting in questions of my morality as a person.

We can go on and on about about the game's failings (which some even you haven't mentioned) and the game does have a lot.

But it brings so many new things to the table that i can forgive it. It raises so many questions. What is a videogame? Does the fact that basically the game is not about success or failure make it not a game? Does the fact that sometimes you want to fail a QTE sequence change how we view games? Can videogames finally tackle a wider variety of stories? Is the interaction of this game enough to really have the meaning of gameplay?

It was one of the most unique experiences (not just in videogames) i have had in a long time. For all it's issues Heavy Rain has made me question the medium, how i view it and what i want to get from the medium in ways that only very few games have done.

The only complaint I really

The only complaint I really have with your review is that you say its full of plot holes, yet given the vastly branching storyline based on your decisions and actions, you only played through the game once.

Did you not think that maybe that was the point, to play through it again with different decisions, complete or fail the trials on purpose, or have the characters killed off to see how the story changes. To fill in any holes that you maybe experienced the first time round.

With a game that that surely plays out differently for everyone on a single play-through I just feel you are unduly harsh without having explored the various ways in which the game ends.

but the joy of the gameplay

but the joy of the gameplay completely fizzles out after one playthrough. David Cage even said that people should only play it once, to have their own "personal experience" with it... which is a left-handed way of saying the experience is so linear, decision-trees aside, that there's no POINT in replaying it.

And as for the whole redefining the genre business... Indigo Prophecy already did what this game did. The redefinition is the graphics and choice of subject matter. Wanting to save a child is a universal wish fulfillment scenario for anyone, and the game exploits it for entertainment. What makes it immersive is your expectation of it, which vanishes after you get where the story is going.

nup

No need to think that was the point, it wasn't.

David cage (game director,) was interviewed and said
"I would like people to play it once…because that's life. Life you can only play once…I would like people to have this experience that way".
He also stated is would ruin the magic. Just to let you know.

Responses cont'd

@Zolos

Disagree completely. It does do a lot of new things that I hope will move throughout the industry, but it doesn't do nearly enough to be able to stand on its own.

@GameFreak666

I tried starting another game after I finished, but without the mystery the thrill is just gone. I can look up the other endings if I'm that interested, but they aren't worth going through the whole game again.

@ RandomRob & Shane OK, so

@ RandomRob & Shane

OK, so saying that multiple playthroughs was maybe the point was wrong. I'm just going by my personal experience being enhanced by seeing the story play out differently on my 2nd & 3rd completion.

Yes I know David Cage said to only play through it once but if he truly believed that himself, Why has he set up the trophies to require multiple playthroughs if you want to get the platinum (if you are so inclined to do so)?

Yeah, for me this is also a

Yeah, for me this is also a one playthrough game. I got my story.

One more thing i would like to add Richard is this.

Richard - "So here's my advice—play it". For a game that receives a 4/10 that says a lot.

@Zolos I'd recommend that

@Zolos

I'd recommend that people play it just to see the potential here, but that potential is the most noteworthy feature, thus the 4/10.

Some stay dry and others

Some stay dry and others feel the pain. Heavy rain.

Ohio's agriculture is based

Ohio's agriculture is based on grains. Heavy Rain.

Richard Naik

Richard Naik wrote:

@Andrew
[SPOLIER WARNING]

Here's a rundown of my major problems with the story (which will probably show up on this site eventually) plus another article outlining a lot of the plot problems which I think is very accurate.

That's exactly what I asked for. Thank you! Now, this will be a bit mind numbing, but I think I can actually resolve a lot of these, white knight for artistry that I am.

***NOTE: SPOILERS INCOMING. AVERT THINE EYES THEE WHO WISH NOT TO KNOW***
Your Gaggle:

1. He's investigating for many reasons. a) he wants to recover loose items that the families may realize are clues. b) he wants to see what his acts have done to the family--somewhat, I think, out of sick curiosity, but also out of compassion, as shown in how kindly he treats the mothers. Shelby is a serial killer, but, like all people who do evil, he does not think himself evil. He thinks he's testing fathers for their own good. That he can be caring and compassionate is not a plot hole, but the potential complexity of a human being.

2. I never got caught, but the thought came to me as well. This is kinda movie logic, but I think the justification is that with all the red tape and talking, the cops may not have gotten all the clues in time to save Shaun. Also, a huge police caravan rolling up to the site might have just led Shelby to kill and run. This isn't a beautiful explanation, and it could have been done better.

3. Madison is a journalist who comes upon Ethan and, at first, is helping him for the story. But, she quickly gets personally invested, and possibly falls in love. David Cage recently mentioned that her backstory is important, but it wasn't in the game, so it probably will come out in some DLC. It should have been, and she is the most enigmatic character, but I kinda like that about her. Also, that club scene is the opposite of exploitative, as are all her scenes. They force the player to be a strong women that works her way out of a shitty circumstance, and I chose to keep her dignity as best I could.

4. I guess she's in the dark worrying, and probably working with the cops to find Ethan by the end. Her portrayal was not very successful, I agree.

5. This is the big one. It's unexplained, and that sucks. The best theory I've heard is that Shelby, who saw Jason's death, has made Ethan his special project, and is drugging him (tranq dart, something else, who knows), increasing Ethan's paranoia with the origami figures, thus testing him even further as he now thinks that he is the killer. It's a stretch. It's unsubstantiated. But it kinda works. In no way should we have to conjecture this much.

Gamesradar 15

1. She's a journalist, and her backstory is unexplained, so maybe she knows him from the past. Lauren notably finds Shelby's house without any help (I tried not helping her or leaving my card), so he must have an easy to find listing, making Madison's work quite easy.

2. They still have it because they don't think it's important or they're just messed up. All the parents--Lauren, Mrs. Bowles, Reza--are destitute. They are distant and uninterested in doing anything more for the case. Shelby, if you choose to, can actually reenergize them to life, and thus they give him the previously unconsidered evidence. People don't work like robots--emotions overwhelm and make us make stupid decisions, like keeping evidence.

3. see your 2.

4. Blake is a dick. He may even (another theory) be the guy who attacks you at Paco's (who doesn't really have Shelby's build). Either he's just an impulsive blowhard who wants to solve the case more than he wants to save the kid, or he's actively trying to sabotage it.

5. see your 5.

6. Yep, this solution suffers from some movie logic. Heavy Rain is great, I think, because of what it does as a game. The choices and actions you can make. It's writing is good, but it is not revolutionary.

7. Also movie logic, also a little silly.

8. It seems like it's only really hitting as the game starts. Also, his addiction is directly connected to the ARI tech, so maybe the FBI is aware of the problem, but value the new crime solving ability too highly to deal with it.

9. Movie logic. Bad guys don't kill good guys with errant shots in chase scenes. It's something we've accepted for decades. This game shouldn't be attacked like a new pariah.

10. Yep, it's playing around with tropes and caricatures. Arguably, we meet freaks because they are the few suspects connected to terrible crimes, not because everyone is a freak.

11. I'll cop to this one. Course, the practicalities of most traps set by serial killers in stories like this are rarely air tight.

12. Ethan wracked with and consumed by guilt and pain and rage and doubt. He's not thinking straight. This isn't a hole. It's Ethan's frailty.

13. Given. This action movie scene was incongruous.

14. We don't know a lot about Shelby. Maybe he's done some robberies or something. This inquiry isn't a hole, it's just a question.

15. I thought this worked alright. I liked the triple meaning of the cut to Lauren looking at the ballerina: look, Lauren's kind fanciful, look, you have to dust this, look, this is when Shelby killed manfred.

***END SPOILERS***

That's a lot of words in defense of a game. The main point is this. Finding fault in works of fiction is easy. Aiming to do so rather just trying to play along is cynical. There is a fine line there. Heavy Rain made me feel tension, relief, compassion, and fear more strongly than most any other type of media because it was a GAME. Because I was actively involved. It is not airtight. But I found it magnificent in all that it does right. Does it deserve all this thought and space on a website? I think so.

@Andrew The killer's

@Andrew

The killer's identity still doesn't fly with me. Even if he's compassionate, why bother bringing Lauren with him at all? Even if she finds out who he is, she'll still feel betrayed and wind up in even more pain (which she did in my ending). And if he cared about the rest of the family so much then why even let the boys die? Why not put the father through the trial, then if he fails free the boy?

The idea of Madison working for the story isn't even clear until more than halfway through the game though. And how does she know he's the guy from the story? And staying at that hotel?

And I can't really chalk that much up to movie logic and call it OK. While you do have to suspend disbelief at least a little in most forms of entertainment media, the stuff in Heavy Rain is just too big a leap to take.

re: serial killers

Expectation is the grain that can only be cut by Heavy Rain.

Seriously, this whole genre of 'serial killers who judge the integrity of others' is complete garbage. Serial killers by their lifestyle of action and consequence do not live in a world with a moral center. If they did they wouldn't murder people.

Richard Naik

Richard Naik wrote:

@Andrew

The killer's identity still doesn't fly with me. Even if he's compassionate, why bother bringing Lauren with him at all? Even if she finds out who he is, she'll still feel betrayed and wind up in even more pain (which she did in my ending). And if he cared about the rest of the family so much then why even let the boys die? Why not put the father through the trial, then if he fails free the boy? Yea

The idea of Madison working for the story isn't even clear until more than halfway through the game though. And how does she know he's the guy from the story? And staying at that hotel?

And I can't really chalk that much up to movie logic and call it OK. While you do have to suspend disbelief at least a little in most forms of entertainment media, the stuff in Heavy Rain is just too big a leap to take.

I think he brings her along because he feels guilty and fumbles. Or maybe he's just cruel and wants to string her along. The cool thing about the killer is that his true motives are not clearly stated, and my and your reading could be highly influenced by how we played him to be. I think he's in a very grey area, where he somehow justifies brutal prolonged drowning and torture, but also seems actively interested in caring for a newborn. I find that more interesting than contradictory.

Yeah, that part isn't clear until then because she's supposed to be an unknown character to Ethan and to the player until then. She's got a connection with some facts guy at the paper, but I think she just happened to check into a motel for her insomnia and luck upon Ethan. How likely it is for two characters to choose the same cheesy motel in Philly I don't know. Maybe they both live nearby.

And how much leeway you and I may want to give is a totally legit dividing point. I think expecting cops to shoot people in the back when they're running away or Norman's clue combination to be rock solid is a little nitpicky, but I totally acknowledge that there are places where they could have done a better job.

For me, absolutely none of this broke the immersion or the meaning. I found the European quirks in the environment and voice acting more endearing than annoying. I went along for the ride and, instead of having fun, I just had a meaningful and emotionally affecting experience. I'm thankful for that. If you didn't, I don't condemn you for that by any means. I just think there are two sides here, and I wanted to represent the other. Thanks for allowing me the space.

There's a lot to think about

There's a lot to think about on this thread, but because it's past midnight and I'm exhausted, I'm gonna keep it short. ^_^

SPOILERZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

1> the bottom line here is that although some unexplained elements and enigmatic qualities can be fine and even positive, Heavy Rain has enough of those for at least six games. Players should not have to play through the game multiple times in order to make the story make sense, nor should they have to wait for DLC in order for the dots to be connected.

Hypothesis: My gut feeling is that Cage ran into difficulties by publicly stating that the characters could die with the storyline continuing anyway. He had to make sure that the story could be resolved somehow between three different potential characters, and it doesn't feel like he's ironed out all of the bugs inherent in that overlap. As a result, some things just don't make sense and others are left unshown/unsaid under cover (ostensibly) of directorial authority, but I think these omissions serve double duty as a way of letting them fudge what they couldn't fix.

2> Scott's actions as the Origami killer don't make sense. If he was heartless enough to attempt to kill Ethan at the end after he's already proved he is a "worthy" father, then it doesn't wash that he would come to the defense of so many people in the course of the game. The most damning example is the father in the convenience store-- he's still got his box of clues, so we can safely assume that he didn't even try to complete the trials, so instead of being killed or Scott letting the robber kill him, he comes to this “unfit” father's rescue? Makes no sense at all. On the other hand, if Scott is acting under a twisted sense of insane logic that allows him to defend or befriend the characters he meets during the game, then how can he possibly try to kill Ethan after he clears all the trials? It would seem to fly directly in the face of whatever bizarre moral code he’s operating under.

Hypothesis: I heard several times in the past that the original plan was that the identity of the killer would be different depending on which characters survived over the course of the game. Cage must have had some problems in this area as well, and it seems like he decided to cut his losses and make Scott the killer no matter which scenario the player went through. Scott attempting to kill Shaun’s rescuer makes sense if it's Madison or Norman, but it doesn't make sense if it's Ethan.

I'm probably forgetting a few other things since I'm half asleep, but these two issues are big ones for me, and really brought my final estimation of the game down quite a bit once I completed it. Nutshell: it's a bold game and I respect it for what it tries to do. On a scene-by-scene basis it's pretty successful in triggering emotions in the player and getting them to think, but the game as a whole does not hold together to the level that something so heavily dependent on story should.

That's my two cents, anyway.

My view is that Heavy Rain

My view is that Heavy Rain is a happy accident. I agree that maybe the original idea was to have different killers resulting from devised narratives. However, when realizing that Angelo Badalamenti scored Fahrenheit and that Cage’s games have recurrently included hazy dream-like noirish sequences, it is also safe to assume that HR was equally influenced by the labyrinthian work of David Lynch.

Even if the references are subtle, the assumed plot holes and partially solved mysteries are but an open door for storyline interpretation. As Lynch once said about Lost Highway “When most mysteries are solved, I feel tremendously let down. So I want things to feel solved up to a point, but there's got to be a certain percentage left over to keep the dream going”.

The 2001 reference, the room with the poison for the inattentive ones, is also good evidence that Cage is fascinated with domestic existentialism. But to suggest some inventive interpretation to someone who thinks that the best parts of Heavy Rain are the "Saw-esque horrifying moments" is an unworkable proposition.

preachy serial killers

RandomRob wrote:

Seriously, this whole genre of 'serial killers who judge the integrity of others' is complete garbage. Serial killers by their lifestyle of action and consequence do not live in a world with a moral center. If they did they wouldn't murder people.

This isn't entirely true -- there are serial killers who murder for ends they perceive as 'moral' (by killing prostitutes or homosexuals, for instance). However, I agree with you that the elaborate, moralizing murders that have become such a major part of the pop fiction landscape are irritating nonsense. I think Seven (and to a lesser extent, Silence of the Lambs) are probably the proximal causes of the trash we are currently seeing, although the roots of the phenomenon probably go back a bit further if you examine crime novels.

Ok, just for those asking

Ok, just for those asking about Shelby's motive for the investigation.
--Spoiler-- It's easy, and it's explained through the history. One of the drowned kids, that everybody believe, was killed by the Origami Killer, was not in fact killed by him. --spoiler--

--Spoiler-- Him and Lauren partnership can be seen as him not wanting her to investigate on her own, after all, she could discover he had no conecction with the family of the victims, what would lead her to suspect of him. After all, you can let her die later or dont help her in the beggining, it was your choice. --spoiler--

You are obviously entitled

You are obviously entitled to your opinion.

there were definate problems with the controls and for me the game actually crashed on several occasions...

but really, you scored a game which tried something different and attempted to expand what a game can be less than dante's inferno...

Wait, WHAT about George

Wait, WHAT about George Lucas? There goes any respect I might've had for this review.

George Lucas Kane seeks

George Lucas Kane seeks Indigo Child during Heavy Rain.

FInal Response

I really appreciate all the feedback here. It was a good deal more constructive than I had anticipated.

No matter how I look at it, Heavy Rain suffers from poor writing, filled with loose ends and questionable motivations. I understand that many players can look past this and revel in the emotional involvement that is brought by many of the scenes, but I just can't. Maybe I just want to have my cake and eat it too (and why *wouldn't* you want to eat a cake that you had) but simply trying something new or innovative is not enough to be a great game. I do welcome the attempt, and I truly hope that someday Quantic Dream or some other developer puts all the pieces together and builds a knockout in this genre.

Heavy Rain, however, is a horrendously flawed work that attempted something great. While trying for the home run is commendable, you need to actually clear the fence to be considered successful.

It's worth mentioning that

It's worth mentioning that for the people who played and enjoyed Indigo Prophecy, there was high expectation for Heavy Rain to markedly improve on the formula they started with. Read the reviews for IP on this (or any) site... people had faith that better things were coming and David Cage has continued making romantic talk about doing different things with the medium for years. And it was just talk.

I played IP (which i liked)

I played IP (which i liked) and thought HR was an improvement over it. Maybe Cage did hype it up but it was still a better game.

You guys missed the mark on this review

I know there's enough praise going around for Heavy Rain that a review like this one isn't going to hurt it too much. Still, this review is really off the mark on Heavy Rain.

First off, I think it's important to mention how risky this title is. It's too slow and cerebral for the shooter crowd and it's clearly not an 'E' rated party game. Heavy Rain is a game for grown-ups - for folks 35 and older. The fact that this game got made on a decent budget, and was supported by major marketing campaign is a big (but pleasant) surprise.

Second, the review makes the narrative more important than it actually is. What drives this game isn't the narrative but the exploration. Besides multiple endings, the game gives the player a vast number of choices, some of them are quite banal while others are emotionally impactful: Do you want to go to your office and start work right away or do you want to mix a cup of coffee and putter around the house first? Do you want to keep ignoring your son because the relationship's broken or do you want to find some way for for father and son to connect? Do you sneak up behind an armed robber and take him out or try to talk him down? This game asks players to explore a sense of morality and humanity that I have rarely if ever experienced in a game. What's more, the game doesn't suggest how a player should get through the world of Heavy Rain. There are consequences for the choices you make, but at the same time, there are no rewards or punishments for those same choices. Much like the Sims, Heavy Rain is a 'dollhouse for grown-ups.'

No offense, but this review can't see the forest for the trees. Yes, I agree, Heavy Rain is a deeply flawed experience. Are the controls sketchy? Yes. Are there problems with the story? Yes. Are the controls and story what audiences will ultimately find engaging and memorable about the game? HECK NO!

well said

well said ckz

I had absolutely no problem with the supposed plot holes (if we are going to be really nitpicky we could say everything makes non sense because we are dealing with a serial killer...a deranged man, a man who will do things that are unexplainable, even if a pattern up to a supposed illogical event has been consistent).

That said, the story is really bad. But I didn't play it for the story, maybe I'm one of the few. I played it for the mood. As has been almost unanimously agreed upon, on a scene by scene basis, the game succeeds in spades. I didn't experience most of the control problems Richard did, so I can sort of understand why the game accidentally removed him from the moment, but this never happened to me. I genuinely felt every scene.

What other fucking game (whose sole purpose is not simulation, a la sims or some other such thing) has allowed me to urinate everytime there is a bathroom nearby (and of course wash my hands)???? That alone is an incredible inclusion in a game that wants to tell what finally is a very short story.

I found it fascinating simply walking around a room, looking out windows, opening cabinets, and because of the controls it felt like more than simple exploration. Its ability to expand time (an illusory concept, but interesting nonetheless) elevates it beyond other games in which yes, you can decide to stand in an area and hang out, look for hidden treasures, easter eggs, etc., but because of the game's design, premise, whatever, naturally inclines you to move "forward."

Like a long static take in cinema, Heavy Rain forces (I don't mean this negatively at all) me to soak in every little detail, for nothing more than the details themselves (for so much more than that as well). Going to the bathroom did nothing but prolong what I never felt in a rush to get to, which I would argue is not the same as looking around a room in say, Dragon Age (a game I also enjoyed, for different reasons of course). In Dragon Age I would scour rooms for loot, maybe for the random letter or something, but chests, cabinets, whatever are so clearly designated for that purpose that they are always already subservient to the progress you must inevitably (desirably) make. Not so, at least for me, in Heavy Rain.

Whereas something like loot or a hidden letter will affect the story (or your ability to progress through it), in Heavy Rain
the closets that opened opened to reveal....HANGERS!

Turning on a stereo to listen to some music, helping your wife set the dishes, staring down at the sleeping body of Madison next to you, perhaps lying back down next to her...only to...wait...GET BACK UP! it was in these dead times that the game breathed life into my experience.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that as ckz mentioned, a very Lynchian (not Saw, though unfortunately that will always be referenced first due to the whole torture aspect) mood permeated the game, suspense for me waiting around the corner...not caused by the silly story, but by the seemingly mundane task I'd have the chance to engage in next.

Heavy Rain's treatment of duration is something, at least I, have never really experienced in games (Indigo Prophecy touched on this, but it's hard to deny that Heavy Rain's visual aesthetic raises the engrossment level up just a bit).

And despite its obvious relation to cinema, I think it is precisely in this treatment of duration and choice that clearly delineates it as (video)game. Now is it the best game ever? By no means. In fact because of how terrible the story is (and how reliant upon it the game is...though in my head it will forever be about bathrooms and windows) I simulatneously loved and hated it, and probably won't play through it a second time. But as a singular experience, it's almost like Inland Empire (a movie I absolutely loved, but was so goddamned MUCH I've yet to see it again, though I will in time)...weird shit happens, you feel it all in your bones, most of it makes no sense, but the fundamental emotions are heartfelt and on display nakedly, and then it ends, screen goes to black...you almost forget about it and continue on with life. But the almost is definitely an almost...because the slightest hint of a memory incessantly persists...remains. This is a success in my book.

sorry for long post
remember to wash your hands!

ps...the characters treated the bathroom differently. Scott and Ethan were definitely the type to wash their hands after peeing...Madison and Norman clearly washed first, then went. Screw story man...video games are the accumulation of events!

ckz

thank you for mentioning lynch, was wondering if anyone would reference him

I had absolutely no problem with the supposed plot holes (if we are going to be really nitpicky we could say everything makes non sense because we are dealing with a serial killer...a deranged man, a man who will do things that are unexplainable, even if a pattern up to a supposed illogical event has been consistent).

That said, the story is really bad. But I didn't play it for the story, maybe I'm one of the few. I played it for the mood. As has been almost unanimously agreed upon, on a scene by scene basis, the game succeeds in spades. I didn't experience most of the control problems Richard did, so I can sort of understand why the game accidentally removed him from the moment, but this never happened to me. I genuinely felt every scene.

What other fucking game (whose sole purpose is not simulation, a la sims or some other such thing) has allowed me to urinate everytime there is a bathroom nearby (and of course wash my hands)???? That alone is an incredible inclusion in a game that wants to tell what finally is a very short story.

I found it fascinating simply walking around a room, looking out windows, opening cabinets, and because of the controls it felt like more than simple exploration. Its ability to expand time (an illusory concept, but interesting nonetheless) elevates it beyond other games in which yes, you can decide to stand in an area and hang out, look for hidden treasures, easter eggs, etc., but because of the game's design, premise, whatever, naturally inclines you to move "forward."

Like a long static take in cinema, Heavy Rain forces (I don't mean this negatively at all) me to soak in every little detail, for nothing more than the details themselves. Going to the bathroom did nothing but prolong what I never felt in a rush to get to, which I would argue is not the same as looking around a room in say, Dragon Age (I game I also enjoyed, for different reasons of course). In Dragon Age I would scour rooms for loot, maybe for the random letter or something, but chests, cabinets, whatever are so clearly designated for that purpose that they are always already subservient to the progress you must inevitably (desirably) make. Not so, at least for me, in Heavy Rain.

Whereas something like loot or a hidden letter will affect the story (or your ability to progress through it), in Heavy Rain
the closets that opened opened to reveal....HANGERS!

Turning on a stereo to listen to some music, helping your wife set the dishes, staring down at the sleeping body of Madison next to you, perhaps lying back down next to her...only to...wait...GET BACK UP! it was in these "dead times" that the game breathed life into my experience.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that as ckz mentioned, a very Lynchian (not Saw, though unfortunately that will always be referenced first due to the whole torture aspect) mood permeated the game, suspense for me waiting around the corner...not caused by the silly story, but by the seemingly mundane task I'd have the chance to engage in next.

Heavy Rain's treatment of duration is something, at least I, have never really experienced in games (Indigo Prophecy touched on this, but it's hard to deny that Heavy Rain's visual aesthetic raises the engrossment level up just a bit).

And despite its obvious relation to cinema, I think it is precisely in this treatment of duration and choice that clearly delineates it as (video)game. Now is it the best game ever? By no means. In fact because of how terrible the story is (and how reliant upon it the game is...though in my head this game will forever be about bathrooms and windows) I simulatneously loved and hated it, and probably won't play through it a second time. But as a singular experience, it's almost like Inland Empire (a movie I absolutely loved, but was so goddamned MUCH I've yet to see it again, though I will in time)...weird shit happens, you feel it all in your bones, most of it makes no sense, but the fundamental emotions are heartfelt and on display nakedly, and then it ends, screen goes to black...you almost forget about it and continue on with life. But the almost is definitely an almost...because the slightest hint of a memory incessantly persists...remains. This is a success in my book.

sorry for long post
remember to wash your hands!

ps...the characters treated the bathroom differently. Scott and Ethan were definitely the type to wash their hands after peeing...Madison and Norman clearly washed first, then went. Screw story man...video games are the accumulation of events!

Richard Naik wrote: I

Richard Naik wrote:

I really appreciate all the feedback here. It was a good deal more constructive than I had anticipated.

No matter how I look at it, Heavy Rain suffers from poor writing, filled with loose ends and questionable motivations. I understand that many players can look past this and revel in the emotional involvement that is brought by many of the scenes, but I just can't. Maybe I just want to have my cake and eat it too (and why *wouldn't* you want to eat a cake that you had) but simply trying something new or innovative is not enough to be a great game. I do welcome the attempt, and I truly hope that someday Quantic Dream or some other developer puts all the pieces together and builds a knockout in this genre.

Heavy Rain, however, is a horrendously flawed work that attempted something great. While trying for the home run is commendable, you need to actually clear the fence to be considered successful.

Hey man, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I think the difference here is that there is some interpretation and benefit of the doubt to be given or refused. For me, and I think for many, I had and ate the cake, and feel, actually, changed after playing this game. I don't watch serial killer movies, nor do I think about the moral decisions this game made me think about. When I slipped on the trigger, no matter how easy it is to replay that section, I could not undue that action in my mind. That's pretty cool.

Ultimately, you want people to play it, and I agree. Where they come out after playing it is anyone's guess. I'm just glad that there is general agreement that the game should be experienced, no matter the level of criticism behind that suggestion.

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