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Heavy Rain – OXCGN’s Steal It for 360?

Attention Xbox 360 Owners!

Is this one title that would have made all 360 owners wet?

by Shadow Wave.
©2010 Ben Cadwallader
Heavy Rain is Quantic Dream’s latest idea of turning an A Grade movie styled experience into an interactive, chair gripping adventure.  While this is not a direct sequel to their 2005 cult classic Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain further develops, refines and reinvents the game play formula building on Fahrenheit for the better. Due the strong story in Heavy Rain this review will be as spoiler free as possible.  To put the story summary into one sentence would be: To find and stop the Origami Serial Killer. There you go, that’s more spoiler free than the back of the box.

• Heavy Rain – Suspenseful – Intense – Intriguing.

• NB: Heavy Rain “Glitch vid” at end of ‘review’

The game’s story centres around 4 main characters that all generally get alternated as playable characters with each chapter in the game.  The brilliance of doing this is it keeps you viewing the story from many different perspectives just as you often would in the movies.  And in the later portions of the game, it really does increase the tension when you know your characters are about to walk into something that you already know about.

The Cast:

• Ethan Mars • Madison Page • Norman Jayden • Scott Shelby

Unlike Fahrenheit’s amazing introductory sequence, Heavy Rain starts off slow; actually awfully slow.  The first hour or two of the game is there to just spend time learning the unique control scheme and developing relationships between characters (although these relationships are fairly obvious).

Yep, you will spend time completing quick time events to make coffee, shave, drink beer, and many other mundane tasks.  There’s only so much excitement these mundane tasks can bring even when pressing buttons!  And it does get quite frustrating for a beginning of a game, especially while you are still deciding if you like the game.

It’s safe to say though, that once the lengthy intro is over, the plot lines start to become much clearer and interesting.  So my message is to have faith. The game picks up and becomes something truly memorable.  Like a movie with a slow beginning that often ends up being among the most memorable movies of all, Heavy Rain builds to become special.

It’s also worth mentioning that this story does not become anywhere near as insanely ridiculous as Fahrenheit’s story.

One giant quick time event?

Essentially the only time you won’t be performing a quick time event is when you’re walking across a room to your next quick time event.  Heavy Rain tries to utilise the PS3 controller to emulate human movements as best it can, with a joystick, buttons or the sixaxis motion control.

• “The Shower Scene & Madison combating villains.

But Heavy Rain does something no other quick time event game has done before: failure is not an option, because no matter what you do, you cannot fail.  Some of the more small tasks such as cooking etc. may require you to repeat a very small sequence but you will never see a game over screen.  If you’re in a fight scene and miss a few buttons you might trip over and fall, but you’ll get back up and keep on going or maybe the assailant gets away when you’re on the floor. It’s all about consequences.

• Many thanks to Sony Entertainment PS3 Aust for the high rez images

One small peeve is that occasionally when your character is under stress the button prompts will appear to shake and therefore be much harder to see, making some of the subtle indicators of how you are supposed to press the button (tap or hold or mash) much harder to distinguish leading to some errors that could have been avoided easily enough.

But either way, the choice/moral system is where the beauty of Heavy Rain lies.  It’s a surreal moment when you know you completely fail a sequence, you start mashing the X button while you wait for the game over screen to arise but nothing happens, and the game just keeps playing and the next chapter appears on the screen.  Everything you do is recorded, and affects the game.

Did I mention how awesome the action sequences were? The fact you cannot fail makes these sequences so completely fun to play. They are choreographed really well and play out just as you would see in the movies, although occasionally a little more over the top!

Outside of quick time moments, dialogue is handled a bit differently. Dialogue plays out very similar to the Mass Effect 2 dialogue wheel, different responses are assigned to the four face buttons, with each selection relating to a different emotion or action. And it works fairly well – nice and simple.

And outside of talking and quick time events, you get to walk!  Walking is handled quite awkwardly and it will take awhile to get used to. Hold R2 to walk in whatever direction the character is facing, and tap a direction on the joystick to get them to turn.  It’s not the most graceful movement system in the world; you will get stuck on objects, walk into walls etc.. Still, considering you only move at walking speed in small areas it’s not the worst thing in the world.

The presentation of Heavy Rain is not exactly as good as it was hyped up to be over the last year or two.  Most character models look great, and animate well.  However, there are a few animations that just don’t work very well: a notable one is a kissing scene that sees characters usually kissing the air in front of the other person’s face.  These are all fairly forgivable of course, and don’t really detract from the main story at all.

The actual ‘rain’ looks great as it runs down characters’ faces but doesn’t translate as well onto clothing.  There are not really any noticeable changes to characters’ clothing during the transition from outdoors (raining) to indoor areas.  I wouldn’t normally nitpick on this stuff, but considering the game is called Heavy Rain I thought it was worth mentioning.

Some environments look great, others look very average. Through your travels you will come across quite a lot of low resolution textures, hard to read-pixely writing and a few other graphical errors such as pop in and screen tearing.

Music is nice and subtle only coming to play usually at important moments in the game and really does enhance the atmosphere of what is occurring within the game.  Oddly though on occasions the music will crackle for some reason.

Voice acting on the other hand, is good but there are some issues.  It’s not that there was bad voice acting in the game; it was more that occasionally whatever the main characters said just didn’t sound right.  It is hard to put it any other way.  Once again it’s quite a forgivable flaw.

The game’s length comes in at about 8 hours for my first play through, although it’s worth mentioning that this game boasts 22 different endings, let alone all the differences that can occur during each chapter of the game.  This is a game made for replaying multiple times.

The game has a familiar feeling to the age-old point and click adventure genre of gaming, and I found it to be a very enthralling and engaging experience.  What makes Heavy Rain magical is the simple fact that whatever choices you make, the game will just continue on. What this does is make you truly feel like your choices matter.

So, if you haven’t been to the movies recently but feel like a good entertaining ride with a lot more user input pick this game up right now.  Heavy Rain sets the bar for the moral/choice system and I hope this game proves to be an inspirational to other developers to think outside the box and try something fresh and new.

• Oh, there are “glitches” – this one’s doing the rounds now.

If you are a 360 console owner, I’m sorry but this is one game that you should be very jealous about.

Would we steal this title for the 360?

Steal It? YES!

xxxxxx


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About Ben Cad (65 Articles)
Ben Cad - Freelance Photographer and Writer. www.bencadphotography.com

13 Comments on Heavy Rain – OXCGN’s Steal It for 360?

  1. jony_rotten // 6 March, 2010 at 12:41 am // Reply

    Nicholas S.

    I traded in my xbox after i completed ME2!
    i had gud times with the white box,
    but i couldnt hold out 4 ps3 ny longer!
    I didnt realise the amount of exclusives that id missed out on.
    And now iv GOW 3 in 2 weeks!

    Trust me as an ex-xbox guy himself,
    The ps3 is Epic

    • I’ve pretty much confirmed my roots with the Xboxx 360. Don’t get me wrong, the PS3 has its advantages, but I’ve really come to love the good old Elite box of mine and given the two, I’ll side with the Xbox. I’m not some ignorant fanboy that will dismiss the PS3 as rubbish, its just that I honestly feel the Xbox suits me and my gaming needs best.

  2. @nicholas

    Your finding ps3 @ 299US$ expensive??
    You just dont want to own a ps3 in the first place,and you want to reason out the price,or guess you want to be loyal to 360,thats fine,just say it out that you want to be a 360 gamer only,nothing wrong it,but dont you say you cant buy the ps3 citing the price,makes you look like a fool

    • I’m not sure if you realise or not – but this is an Australian Community site – so that $300 US is at least $400 AUD when our dollar is strong – and then close to $600 every other day. So, before telling me I’m just avoiding getting a console, understand hardware isn’t cheap down-under and some people don’t find forking out even $300 on a console is exactly affordable all the time.

    • Yes, we’re not all living in the US of A you know . . Our cost of living is double what you have there, and the PS3 currently rests at approx $AU599 RRP (recommended Retail Price).

      Now when you compare that to an average weekly rent of hmm, lets say $400 – $600 dollars (my rent is $390 p/wk just to give you an example, not including utilities etc etc etc), guess what comes first – correct rent, then food, then living expenses, oh, then games . . With the Xbox 360 selling at $AU249, guess which one most ppl buy . . .yep, you guess it.

      The PS3 launched here at $AU999.95 . . now tell me that is not dear, and I’ll eat my hat.

      The world does not start and stop at the shores of Nth America, although many American’s seem to think so.

    • you mean 499?
      599 is for the 250GB heavy rain bundle.

      • Mick Brown // 15 March, 2010 at 9:50 am // Reply

        Right. But then that wouldn’t have made his point.

        • Hey mate, how’s it going? Nice to have you back here, obviously you’ve been a busy boy then?

          I’m looking forward to this game when I eventually get a PS3, as even though it might be some time before I do, it will still be a purchase for me.

          While discussing the game with some jurnos on Thursday evening at a function, we all agreed that many gamers were expecting something a little different from what they got.

          Many had not bothered to even read up on why the game was being designed the way it was, or even how it was designed in the first place.

          Some simply thought they would get some action-packed- full on game, when it was never meant to be that sort of ‘game’.

          Some jurnos were of the same opinion, and wanted action etc and found it boring as, one gave it a meer 2/10 I think, and when questioned about certain aspects or sections of the game, he didn’t remember them as he had not paid attention all that much, as it simply did not ‘do it for him’

          Which sort of speaks for some reviews really. Many simply following others and not really fleshing out the game “experience”.

  3. to me this is by far the best game released this generation.
    i love it to death the storyline is just so gripping for once i actually feel for the characters.
    most games you dont give a 2 hoots about the players, but in heavy rain you feel what the character feels.
    only thing that disappointed me was as usual sonys big PR mouth.
    the way they talked about the game they made it sound like your decisions completley change the game, and change the ending, the middle everything.
    that could not be further from the truth, im on my 4th playthrough now and every play its been almost exactly the same no matter what i do.
    sony was tooting it to be like a train it leaves a station on say track a heading east they made it sound like you could change that so instead of heading east its now heading north.
    they made it sound like depending on what you do or choose it completley changes the whole game.
    it does not, instead of changing tracks you miss a stop or 2 thats about it.
    no matter what you do everything is the same, you may miss a level or 2 if your character dies but thats about as much that changes.
    i was expecting whole platform changes not skip a stop.

  4. I would like to see something using similar approach, but taking the horror avenue instead. What they’ve done here is great – now we need to see more and more variety.

  5. I would LOVE to have this on 360! I played it at my friends house and was hooked.

    I’d buy a PS3 for it but, Microsoft would get mad at me :(

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