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murray
03-09-2010, 07:48 AM
All my reviews will contain spoilers, I have resisted the temptation to actually score games.

Heavy Rain
PS3
Quantic Dreams

Heavy Rain is David Cage's most recent attempt at blurring the lines between games and movies. Primarily using QTEs combined with with some ill advised walking controls you assume the control of four characters who's stories intertwine throughout. Set somewhere in North America a child has gone missing and your job as the child's father, an FBI agent, a private eye and a journalist is to piece together his whereabouts and find the killer.

QTEs can be a cheap and annoying mechanic in some games, feeling as if you're having actual control wrestled away from you but here they provide the most tense moments of a game which is well paced and at times thought provoking. Walking around however is a different matter. In a game as cinematic as this walking into walls, turning the wrong away and generally flailing around detracts from it's film like qualities and is a constant reminder that this is still very much a video game. There are other decisions which further the frustration with the controls. Often, asking question or listening to your players thoughts is made awkward by the incredibly minimal, colourless button prompts which often shake on screen, square and circle can, at times, be difficult to differentiate.

The characters are mixed bag. Divorced father Ethan Mars is the main protagonist, tasked with trying to save his kidnapped son. Norman Jayden, the FBI agent who the cops don't want around. Madison Paige is a journalist who aides Ethan and provides a few moments of naked flesh and Scott Shelby a P.I. investigating the murders of the Origami Killer. Ethan has real narrative momentum, locating his son by performing tasks the killer sets him provides moments of great tension and have you feeling invested in him. Norman Jayden provides some of the games more interesting moments, deciphering clues or investigating a crime scenes are a welcome break from the other scenes and break up the pace nicely, feeling significantly different to the rest of it. The other two are much less interesting and at times feel perfunctory...much like my description of them.

Graphically it's beautiful and depressing in equal measure, it rains almost constantly after the first hour and with the film noir scoring can be a pretty sobering experience. There's a fair amount of screen tearing going on which detracts from the cinematic experience but it's more than made up for by some great facial motion capture and animations.

The story, oh the story. It's moves along at a nice pace switching roles regularly but with the exception of Ethan does little to make you feel invested in the characters and never really develops them as it goes on. It's still a fairly solid plot though...up to a point. As soon as the killer is revealed its exposes huge plot holes that are never explained. The killer is one of the people you assume control of, at these points you have access to the killers inner thoughts via the L2 button, yet at no point as you hunt for the killer (yourself!?) do you seem aware that it's you and this is never explained?? Similarly Ethan has schizophrenic moments where he blacks out, when he comes to he is always holding an origami figure, this happens twice in the game and then is just totally forgotten about and never explained.

Heavy Rain is a mostly enjoyable, interesting and at points very tense attempt at cinematic gaming but it's ultimately let down by a plot twist which left me feeling a little patronised. If this was a movie plot it would be laughed out of the cinema.

Alucard
03-09-2010, 11:09 AM
Would of liked to have read your first review, but I havent played this game yet so cant. Its on my list to onefuckingday get to. These sorts of games I live for, excluding the stupid quicktime events they felt they had to put in.

Paper exe
03-09-2010, 11:24 AM
where is the score? what's going on in here. a review without score is... an article! yeah that what it is. I blame seraph he started all that rubbish ideology up. why do you people listen to him and not me!? LISTEN TO ME!

murray
03-09-2010, 12:46 PM
Scores are Sad.

darren
03-09-2010, 12:48 PM
they are for people to lazy to read someones opinion about the game and need a score to explode over the internet about when they don't like what they see you mean.

but seriously nice review. Am personally a fan of reviews minus a score.

Paper exe
03-09-2010, 01:01 PM
ok you got me.

SpaceManSpiff
03-09-2010, 01:04 PM
Scores are Sad.

You must be a video game philosopher.:rolleyes:

murray
03-09-2010, 01:09 PM
No I'd just prefer reviewers articulated their points in such a way that doesn't need a number to sum it all up.

SpaceManSpiff
03-09-2010, 01:13 PM
But then how can we compare games to each other!?

Alucard
03-09-2010, 01:21 PM
I recommend you give all your reviews an 8.8 by default

murray
03-09-2010, 03:33 PM
But then how can we compare games to each other!?
I'm assuming you're being sarcastic. I was going to some up all my reviews with an emoticon or just one word.

Northeastmonk
03-15-2010, 11:50 AM
I was thinking of waiting for the price to drop. That nudity glitch was sorta amusing, considering how detailed they're getting with concept models these days.

GrantXP
12-10-2010, 09:56 AM
I like scores, it give you a general feel of the game. A game can have many negatives that people should be aware of but actually be a fun game. A final rating should never be an average of the individual features of a game but an opinion of how good the game is. You can find positives from even the worst games so it is nice to have something that ties it all in. Still good review Murray, going to start reading people opinions on here more. Heavy Rain is a game I want to play.