Heavy Rain – Review
“Blake, you are an unbalanced, psychopathic asshole!” – Norman Jayden
If you don’t feel like reading this whole review I will sum it up for you in a few simple words. This game bored the hell out of me.
I can’t even remember how many times I feel asleep while playing this. It just was so slow paced that it lured me to sleep. Yes, I will admit that there were some intense scenes in it. Those were few and far between.
You play as Ethan Mars, a husband and a father of two boys. Everything seemed to be going great for this family. Then tragedy struck. After losing his first son after being struck by a car, his second son was kidnapped. During this time he got divorced and his world started to fall apart.
The premise of the game is to put clues together that have been left by the “Origami Killer’’. This is done by unfolding origami figures and doing the task that is assigned to them. Some of these range from killing a person, chopping off part of your finger to even crawling through a tunnel filled with broken glass shards. You reward for doing this is a small part of the address were your son is being held captive. You also get a small video showing your son struggling to stay alive while being trapped in a drainage grate slowly filling with rain water. You only have a certain amount of time before the area fills with rain water before your son drowns.
The gameplay is what makes this extremely boring. You really don’t do much in the game itself. It is more like watching a move while you just hit the action buttons that are presented on the screen, or as some people know it as being QTE (Quick Time Events). The only real time action that you do is pressing the R2 to walk. Notice I said walk. At some points when you gain control of the character they would walk straight ahead instead of turning around like you wanted them too. Ethan walks slowly for most of the game. Even with his son dying there is very little sense of urgency. He may do a short jog here and there but it is only for a few short steps before he starts to lumber along once again. There is no gun fighting, no blocking, no taking cover or anything. The game handles all that for you. All you do is hit a sequence of the face buttons, or triggers, to accomplish whatever you are doing at that time.
Some of the QTEs in this game are really unnecessary. For example, I was playing as Scott Shelby and we were at a Golf Driving Range. The game made me have him take a single step then bend over and pick up a Golf Ball. Couldn’t he have just done that in the cut scene it was showing? I will admit, I played on the “easiest” difficulty there was. There wasn’t an actual difficulty ladder. The only difference was how many QTEs you wanted to go through to accomplish your tasks. Even with the small amount that I had, I got bored quickly. Some of the sequences didn’t even work correctly. I would be pressing quickly on the O button and it wouldn’t register. Sometimes it would just stop registering, which in turn made you fail that sequence. Even some of the buttons you had to press where off the screen, or blending in with the environment, which made it hard to know what you were supposed to press. If the character was in a frantic state the action buttons would shake on the screen making it hard to tell if you were supposed to hold them down or just do a quick press of the button. If these are followed by words it can easily make you select a choice you didn’t want as the words and buttons overlapped one another.
The camera was fixed in different angels. You could press R1 to change the location of the camera but you could not move it around. This made finding the above QTEs much easier. When you only had a short amount of time to press one of the buttons, it made the whole, switching camera spots, thing cumbersome. I really don’t understand how the developers could make part of the game not being on the screen. It was quite a regular appearance as well.
Even though this game is a few years old now, the graphics on it are still amazingly well done. The characters models are very life like, the characters appearance and facial expressions where spot on. You can tell what kind of feelings the characters where having just by their facial expressions. The rain was extremely well done as well and would react the same way it does in real life, splashing in puddles, running down windows and even bouncing off of cars. There were a few spots where objects on walls seemed flat and a little jagged. Everything else was very well done.
Watching the animation of the characters felt tedious. Not only from them moving slowly, but they would walk very stiff. Even interacting with an object felt tiring. Most of the time you had to press a certain button(s) to get the characters to do anything, which drugged out the whole interaction feeling. It just didn’t feel natural.
The story, for me, was the only redeeming quality of the game. It is what kept me going. Plus this game has multiple endings depending on what decisions you made throughout the entire game. All together there are 7 different endings. Some uplifting while others where just heart breaking. Some of these require you to replay a good portion of the game. While others you can start off at a much later chapter and get the different endings. The endings themselves are not a rinse and repeat type of endings. Such as they don’t show the same background and act out the same scene with different characters. They are actually each one set in a different place with different reactions. This was nice to see in a world where a lot of the endings are the same thing game after game.
I am glad that I didn’t pick this game up when it originally came out. To me it was not worth the original price. I got mine for a much cheaper amount, $20. I would spend up to $30 for this, just on the story and multiple endings alone, but nothing more than that.
I was very excited for Beyond: Two Souls. After playing Heavy Rain, plus hearing from a few people who have played Beyond, I might just skip that all together. It seems to be the same type of game with a little more action blended into it. Besides, the new consoles are on the horizon and those will be taking up most of my time.