“How far will you go to save someone you love?”. Before you go giving up on this game due to this line which implies that it is a happy gaming experience like pokemon which covers the aspect of friendship, loyalty and courage… then don’t! Okay, now that I think about it, these aspects are covered in this game…. but hey, there is an origami on the cover with blood on it… so do not expect it to be something as happy…. infact, it is quite a melancholic experience overall that is unique, especially with the control mechanism which is innovative and the first of its kind in any game so far. What to read more? I know you do so! So please read on for my review of Heavy Rain on the PlayStation 3.
To start off with, I would like to discuss the storyline for you. A summary taken from the back of one of the boxes of the game is as follows:
“Your smallest decisions can change everything. The Origami Killer has taken a new victim. In a terrorized city, the hunt for a child will lead four unconnected people to ask the same question: How far would you go to stop a killer? Play all four roles in this psychological thriller where every action you take has consequences. How this story unfolds is entirely up to you.”
My own summary of the storyline is that you start off with Ethan Mars, a father of two young boys, has a wife, and lives with them in a fancy place and overall, life is very happy. One day during a trip to the mall, his oldest son Jason ends up disappearing whilst you are buying a balloon from this creepy looking clown. He runs through the mall and finds his son across the road, which leads Jason to run over to Ethan, eventually leading to both Ethan and Jason being hit by a car. Move forward a few years, Jason passed away in that event and then Ethan’s life is shaken again, his son has been kidnapped by the infamous Origami Killer and he must endure five trials to find out the location of his son. On the other hand, Madison Paige, a journalist suffering from chronic insomnia (Comes with a nice battle scene of her delusion) ends up meeting Ethan at a hotel they both use. Away from them, Scott Shelby, a private investigator is investigating the case for the families and Norman Jayden, an FBI Agent is using epic FBI technology to do forensic investigations of this as well as fighting off a strange drug addiction.
The good thing about this game is, that any option and/or event can change the course of the storyline. Your characters can get killed off early in the game and then will be taken out of the picture forever. As well, any evidence not collected can haunt you in trying to find the culprit, it can even lead to the game cutting short because you cant determine the killer in time or are killed off. As well, if a certain event happens such as if you save X’s life or decide to do Y instead of Z, different events can occur, leaving you several large chunks of the main gameplay missing until you play it over again. I can suggest one thing…. whilst it may be tempting to continuously choose the “Good” pathway, I found it overall not as exciting as playing it over again on a more negative pathway, since it did change the experience overall for the better. Of course, that being said, the warm fuzzy main ending is still really good and scores you a silver trophy for it.
Graphics are a main player for this game, and whilst they may not look like the most visually stunning, they do have a great level of realism to the character and environment designs. The four main character designs of the main characters are designed really well and it is good to see how your actions in the storyline also affect how the characters look during the game. For Ethan, if you get severely injured yet pull your way through the entire level anyway, you may find that Ethan may be covered in bandages for the rest of the game. Overall, if you were to watch this as a movie, you would have second thoughts on if this is a game or an actual movie some scenes are so realistic not taking into consideration the occasional technological implication (Such as other characters looking a bit stiff in their walking). The background character designs are also well done, with each character individually detailed and keeping the same realism that the main characters do.
The music in this game is pretty good however I felt the same music was used far too many times in the game and whilst it did add to the whole suspense, I didnt think that the tunes needed to be repeated as many times as it did. But overall the tracks are pretty good with mostly softer songs and a few fast paced battle songs for the high intensity sessions of all the four characters. On the other hand, the voice acting within this game fluctuated. The voices of the main characters were often good however there were a handful of times which they were painful to listen to, especially Ethan screaming SHAUN!! and JASON!! over and over again with the very tempting X button. On the other hand, the other characters were either swing or misses. Lauren Winter, who Scott Shelby originally meets as a prostitute and goes out works with him does have a pretty decent voice however other characters such as Ethan’s Psychologist was really overdone and not something you could listen to over and over again. Also, as you can see from the image, there is a scene in which the game tells you to play your own damn music and has you play the piano in order for a trophy….
Down to the issue of gameplay now. The gameplay in short is addictive and depending on the difficulty, can get quite challenging. This game plays out like a choose-your-own-adventure novel crossed with a movie, so nothing is linear and to add to that extra layer of control, the game is mostly played out by quickly selecting matching buttons that appear in the screen, and missing X amount of them can lead to a negative occurance (Or occasionally a positive occurance) happening. This is especially prevalent in fighting scenes with Scott, Norman and Madison and the trials with Ethan. However at the same time, to keep you from putting down that controller, you have to do everything from taking a shower, getting changed, making love, shaving, picking up documents , cutting a body part off et cetera et cetera. This might sound boring you watching the game play itself for you, with you occasionally intervening however I found it exciting and you are able to control the characters at times to move them around the scene or read their thoughts (Mind reading is possible of the character you are controlling).
Now, in this game, the police are absolutely useless in this game and to be honest, they could be considered an unwilling antagonist with how much they hinder gameplay overall. So you may thing… how am I supposed to sort out all the evidence that I have been collecting? Well, thanks to epic FBI technology, Norman Jayden can use special ARI glasses which is sort of a portable workspace which allows him to summon up a futuristic personalized office in one of five themes and allows him to look over case files of all victims and review all evidence, even gaining the ability to identify items of interest on the ground and automatically analyzing information about it. This only pops up a few times in the game, however in nearly every scene with Jayden Norman, there is at least one component of the ARI used.
For this game, you dont get to choose what characters you use, instead they are spread out into many chapters which allocates which character is mainly involved and you play with them, with an occasional mid-chapter crossover. So sorry for anyone who wants to see Madison fighting through the whole game for the other three.
This game has a lot of replay value and there is around 15 or so possible endings for you to achieve. There is a GOLD TROPHY for completion of all endings which you can get by playing through the game twice then replaying certain levels, however that is no fun and I encourage everyone to play through at least a couple of times to enjoy the game for what it was. You can replay any chapter however if you want the story to continue from that point, you must continue playing from that point, as you can percieve each chapter in the chapter select as a save file that only saves when you start the chapter. So if you play chapter 15 and then start 16, if you stop there and go to Chapter 17 from the chapter select menu then nothing occured prior to that will occur, instead it will start from your prior time finishing chapter 16. For people who just want trophies, I was able to platinum this game in two days although the time I played it was significantly long. Most of the trophies come in sets of two so you can just replay a chapter and hope you get the trophy for it.
My personal opinion of this game is that it is definitely a game everyone should at the very least try, however anyone a bit squeamish should reconsider since there are a few gory moments within it. The many possibilities are well worth looking for and the ending is very rarely the same on two gameplays. I am not sure if I should hand out of Game of the Decade title out to Heavy Rain, but it is definitely up there in my “Favorite Games of All Time List”.
Distinct personalities and whilst they never interact as a group together, they all have their own ways of reaching the end.
The whole game is extremely storyline based, if it were any less than a 100% I would question if Interactive Drama was the most suitable game style.
High level of photo realism within the levels althrough maybe a little bit brighter in colours would have been nice so I didnt have to max out my brightness setting.
Could have used more music tracks and voice acting could have been better at times.
Fun gameplay, however more use of the ARI would have been nice, and maybe a bit less pointless activity, since nothing is that fun about putting on a shirt.
The gameplay can last you about 12 hours on the first playthrough and there are many other endings to unlock. Trophy wise however, very easy and quick platinum if you know how to play it right.
Personal Opinion: 10/10
Fun and rewarding gameplay experience, what more can I say!
Overall Score: 90/100
This game got a 90% in total, giving it an A Grade overall.