in many ways not a traditional game, but the graphics and
unique gameplay will astound you. Not the future of gaming,
so to speak, but certainly a clever take on the genre...you'll
be thinking and talking about this game for a long time.
Back in 1999, Quantic Dream released a quirky title
The Nomad Soul which I reviewed for PCGameworld way back when.
The title showed a lot of promise, and made it clear Quantic Dream
had no interest in making standard games. They wanted to take
things to a different level, and they certainly succeeded with
Omikron. I really liked the game, and it's follow-up
Indigo Prophecy which also boasted interesting takes
on the gaming genre. What I didn't like about those titles was
how strange they were. Everything was good with the twist on gameplay,
but the games themselves bordered on the psychadelic. After having
watched trailer after trailer of Heavy Rain I hoped this
one would be rooted a bit more in reality. Luckily, this is the
To get the most important part of the game out
of the way, yes, the graphics will stun you. People move realistically,
and there is no zombie effect, no dead eyes that take away the
realism. These character models are damn near perfect, the sort
we have been promised for so long I forgot exactly when the promises
started. The above screenshot gives you just a hint of the graphics,
illustrating how well they got even mirror effects. Think back
to the original XBox demos...people thought it was amazing that
there were semi-realistic water effects in that. This goes far
and above, offering a level of graphical intensity unmatched by
any game I have played so far. Any game.
Games aren't all about graphics, though I would say you could
just sit and watch this one for hours and be entertained. Intead,
Quantic Dream wants to immerse players in a universe, in a world
that seems so close to reality you'll find yourself caring about
the characters as they go through their trials on screen. The
first way to immerse you is to make the controls as seamless as
possible. There's nothing natural about using an analog stick
to walk, but Heavy Rain makes it feel a right as can
be. Most of the action on the screen occurs from button combinations,
shaking the controller and a variety of other inputs. The game
takes full use of the Sixaxis controller.
The story is touching. One of the four characters you will play,
Ethan, watched his son die after losing him in a mall. He'd previously
been a successful architect with what appeared to be the perfect
family. After that, he is destroyed, a shell of himself, and struggling
to maintain a relationship with his remaining son. Well, after
Ethan suffers from a blackout, he loses his second son, only to
discover he has been captured by the Origami Killer, someone running
through the streets of the city murdering young boys and leaving
an origami figure in their hand. You must track down the killer
as Ethan, but also as private investigator Scott Shelby and FBI
agent Norman Jayden. Each character has a different angle and
the story goes in and out of their lives as they race to find
You're forced to make extremely difficult decisions in Heavy
Rain and this si one of the best features of the game. Every action has a reaction, and characters will react to
you later in the game in response to earlier events. In a very
interesting twist, your character can die and the story will move
forward. There are several different endings to the game (all
with the same killer of course) and many surprises along the way.
Quantic Dream put a lot of effort into making this a storytelling
vehicle. In some ways, the gameplay itself suffers, but that's
part of the equation.
Some gamers might be put off by the lack of 'real'
gameplay here. The game works for me, but I like murder mysteries
and movies like that and this seemed like a very immersive interactive
movie. I cared for the characters and wanted good things to happen
for them. I also felt a bit in control. The game does let you
do things your own way. The below video will give you an idea
of what you have to do in the game, but understand, it is a bit
of a spoiler. It won't give too much plot away, but it is one
of the most shocking parts of the game and you might want to witness
it for yourself in game first. It is a little violent, so consider
that before watching.
Pretty amazing, huh. Take note of the way you can
get into your character's head, really understand what they are
thinking, and then guide them through something so awfully difficult.
I felt like I was right there when I played through this scene.
The sense of realism amazed me. That happens a lot during the
game, between the graphics, the choices you have to make and the
results of your actions. Nothing of course, could prepare me for
the the big revelation at the end. Truly inspired.
The argument will rage on about whether or not this
is a game in the traditional sense. I don't think it really matters.
What does is how perfectly Quantic Dream pulled this off. It's
obvious a cinematic game had been their goal for years, perhaps
since Omikron and they have finally achieved it. Kudos
for that. This is digital enterainment, the sort of game your
non-gamer friends or significant others will not mind watching
while you play. As a matter of fact, they will love to watch,
and want to know what is going to happen next. Imagine being able
to play a game on date night. Utopia is within our grasp.
There's a free demo at the Playstation Store and I highly recommend
playing it first. Like I said, some gamers are put off by the
gameplay here. It's a matter of taste, and sixty bucks is sixty
bucks. The game achieves its goal with near perfection and I really
have a hard time believing someone would hate it. I am sure someone
will. That's the thing about taste; we all interpret it differently.
Highs: The absolute best graphics and facial animation
seen anywhere. Weather effects and ambient sounds are stunning
as well. A unique twist on gameplay and plot that make the player
feel a part of the world they are watching. Truly immersive.
Lows: Might put some people off with the non-standard
gameplay. Some endings don't make much sense, as if there is a
desired outcome no matter what you do. All of the boys in the
game seem to have the same voice. Some of the acting a little