Review: Heavy Rain
How far are you willing to go to save your son? No this is not Ransom and you are not Mel Gibson. Instead, you are Ethan Mars. A serial killer going by the name 'The Origami Killer' kidnapped your son and will kill him if you do not figure out the clues left behind from the killer in time. I know this is a vague description of the story but even the beginning tutorial level is so good it's not to be spoiled for people who haven't played yet. Heavy Rain is a great adventure style game likened to the old Sierra or Lucas Arts adventure games back in the day. Instead of playing as one main character, you are put in the shoes of multiple characters that each has their own story and, depending on what decisions you make, cross paths as well. That is the beauty of Heavy Rain. Each choice you make can drastically change how the story plays out.
Speaking of choices, the way QTE's (Quick Time Events) are handled are amazing. Not only do they place the icon of what button or motion of the analog stick in an easy to see spot on the screen, it also does so in a way that coincides with the actions going on. There are times where your character is panicking so the buttons or directional movement is wildly moving on the screen. It actually makes you feel what the character on screen is feeling. Not once did I feel that a missed button press or motion was the games fault but rather my fault...and I loved it.
The way they have you walk in this game is a little clunky and can be frustrating to navigate the environment but nothing too extraneous that will take you out of the game.
The graphics are really well done and shines the most when you notice the environment and how the weather reacts to it. Rain drops hitting the brim of the hat or dripping off your coat. Even the life in the background is well done. I caught myself often looking in the background as people walked by and cars drove past windows. Played a big part in making you feel like you are in the game.
The character models are well designed although there are some glaring issues with some of the movement of characters as the are engaging in dialogue. I often noticed weird facial ticks and head movement that didn't seem natural to the situation. Also, some of the collision detection was a little off in certain scenes between characters. This however is easily overlooked and doesn't take you out of the game.
This all sounds like a cheesy crime thriller but it is the most engaging experience I have ever had playing a game, ever. Now I know there are some of you that will turn away from this 'Quick Time Event' style of play which is a shame. I encourage you to at least rent this game and give it a shot. This game delivers on what it sets out to do and will be an experience you don't want to miss out on.