Review – Heavy Rain

By: Louis Edwards

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As the rain falls, what will you decide?

Developed by Quantic Dream and written and directed by David Cage, Heavy Rain is a Hollywood-style cinematic adventure that will take you on a roller coaster ride from start to finish (and there are many different finishes).

What will you decide?

Words like “groundbreaking” and “innovative” are used quite often when referring to video games, but seldom are they clearly justified. “Heavy Rain” is not only both of those, but you can toss in “creative”, “beautifully crafted”, and “Game of the Year contender” as well. The game uses a style copied from the old adventure books where each decision determines the next outcome, with many possibilities. The replay value grows exponentially as you consider that scenes can be totally different, based upon your decisions, and can make the game different with each playthrough.

Ethan Mars

The story follows four different characters who are investigating and/or searching for the “Origami Killer” and trying to save his latest victim before their time runs out. The Origami killer kidnaps young boys and drowns them over an extended period of time by using rainwater from fall storms. You’ll switch between each character as the story moves along, and the timeline is never broken.

You’ll get to meet Ethan Mars, the father who seemingly had it all, and then had it all taken away. There’s Madison Paige, the sexy insomniac journalist who finds Ethan at a run down motel and tries to help him (or is she just in it for the story?). There’s Norman Jayden, the FBI Profiler that is also a drug addict. Then there’s Scott Shelby, the retired cop-turned private eye that has been hired by the families of the victims of the Origami Killer.

The prologue starts prior to Ethan’s oldest son’s tenth birthday party. We are introduced to Ethan, a talented architect with a beautiful home, beautiful wife, and two happy sons. He is in the prime of his life and a loving father and husband.

Everything starts to go bad while on a trip to the mall. One son wanders off and a frantic search ensues. The trip ends in tragedy and sends Ethan on a spiral downfall that costs him his wife, his home, one son, and life as he knew it.

Ethan’s First Search

Fast forward two years and we now see the broken and battered Ethan Mars. A man suffering from blackouts and sharing custody of his remaining son with his ex-wife.

We will leave the story there as not to give anything else away.

Madison Paige

Each character has their own unique personality and aren’t all cookie cutter cut-outs of one character. The voice acting isn’t the best ever, but that doesn’t take away from the overall feel of the game. The script can seem a bit weak at times, but the writer is able to keep your interest with the story as a whole.

Norman Jayden and his A.R.I. VR Glasses

Jayden’s character introduces us to his investigative tool known as A.R.I. These are special sunglasses that can see things the normal human eye can’t, and also can change any room into Jayden’s personal office space Be sure to search each crime scene as you will be rewarded for finding every clue.

Scott Shelby

There were a few minor audio glitches, and an occasional screen blur, but the audio/video quality overall was outstanding. The loading screens gave such detail to the animations of each character’s face, that if someone walked in the room while this was being displayed, they might easily mistake it for a live actor. Each loading screen prior to a level shows you the character that you will be playing, and you can sense what that character is feeling just by looking at the expressions on their face. Whether it’s a grimace from pain, or just the throws of isolation and depression, you can see the emotions clearly on the character’s face.

FBI Agent Norman Jayden and Mad Jack

The supporting cast were developed and inserted into the story nicely and add to the cinematic experience of the game.

The soundtrack for the game is nicely done and follows along well with the action, and inaction, of the game. The music sets the tempo for the scenes and can change based on your decisions as well. Exactly how many different scenarios for each scene are contained on the disc may never be known, but it must be a large number.

It’s not everyday that a video game comes along that creates an entirely new genre, but “Heavy Rain” does just that. It’s not a shooter or an RPG. It’s an Interactive Cinematic Experience (ICE) that redefines what most expect from a video game. It will make you feel. It will make you think. Most importantly, it will make you glad you own a PS3.

9.5



Pros

+ Entirely new genre of gaming (I.C.E. – Interactive Cinematic Experience)

+ Incredibly detailed city

+ Music that fits the tempo

+ Good character development both in story and in graphics


Cons

- Weak voice acting

- Few minor audio/video glitches

  • John Weagle

    Great review, I actually didn’t mind the voice acting it grows on you. Defiantly one of the most important video games ever made.

  • evan

    Voice acting does grow on you. Glad to see Sony is back on top!

  • The Collector

    Heavy Rain’s developers have put out a game on the Xbox a while back that could be considered an I.C.E. Indigo Prophecy.

  • Alan Urtz

    I just finished it today. Great game but the glaring plothole really makes it fall apart in the end. That and the terrible voice acting. Ethan, Madison and Scott are solid but the rest is pretty awful (especially the kids).

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