Sunday, April 14, 2013

Heavy Rain (PS3)

Reviewed on PS3, available on PS3

Before I owned my PS3, my friends spoke of Heavy Rain as some sort of revolutionary new title that will break and reform the industry. After playing the demo at a friend's house, I was intrigued enough to convince  myself to buy a PS3 and the game. My result (after completing this game) was the experience of a truly unique game, although clearly with its flaws.

Heavy Rain is a story-based game, where actions develop into consequences that ultimately fully create the ending (be it a happy or dark twisted ending). Players will control 1 of 4 characters to guide their interactions with their environment, and choices through dialog or action scenes. During action scenes, buttons will flash on the screen (typically to avoid danger of some sort) and give the players only a moment to correctly react.

Can I be a good father to my son?
Often times failing to correctly react only suffers a minor consequence:
  • Your character receives a black eye or a cut
  • Your character drops their bag of groceries
  • Your character drives their car through construction
But on occasion, major consequences will be had:
  • Your character shoots someone innocent
  • Your character is arrested by the police
  • Your character is killed
So let's say your specific character is killed by a psychopathic murder, what happens now? The story continues and the game goes on. There is never a "game over, you lose" screen due to your action (or inaction). In fact, if you really wanted to, its possible to play and have all 4 of the character die. The game's world is yours to bend, be it intentionally, or unintentionally.

The choice is yours, but nothing is black-and-white in this game.

Gameplay - 8/10
While understanding the game is a little rough (and dull) at the beginning, the game eventually becomes familiar and very intense. The suspense grows increasing more with every chapter, and the game becomes difficult to put down. Downsides consist mostly of trying to correctly perform an action, and accidentally (and repetitively) doing it incorrectly. These difficulties are often more humorous than trouble, and did not affect the flavor of the game for me personally.

Design - 12/10 (Extra credit)
Although graphics are not an all-time high, details definitely are here. Characters display emotion well, and the music is fitting and filled with emotion. Voice acting is done well all across the board, and the story is dark and involving. Environments are detailed, and often prompt a ton of interactions. Scenery's lighting changes with the story, from bright and optimistic, to dark and twisted.

Replay - 4/10
It is tempting to go back and change elements of the story to see what the result may be. What if I don't dodge that punch? What if I crash the car? What if I let this person die? The combinations and results feel overwhelming, but ultimately the story is truly at its best the first time around. There wasn't really any demand for DLC, and therefore the game is best kept to lend to friends or revisit the experience after time.

Final - 24/30 Definitely Worth Playing
In my opinion, there is no video game with a story as powerful as Heavy Rain's. You are drawn in, you feel apart of what is happening - because you are. Choices range from shaking the orange juice, to self mutilation and suicide. There truly aren't many other words to describe this game without ruining it, so I'll just leave it with this - play this game.

Recommended Buying Price: No more than 20$

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