A jab at gaming – with love

Heavy Rain Impression

– By Josh

I assume that if you’re reading this you’ve probably heard of Heavy Rain. So I’m not going to explain what Heavy Rain is, but rather my early impressions of game (~ 3 hours). Don’t worry, they are spoiler free.

What I like:

Narrative – What keeps me interested in games is a good storyline. Heavy Rain does an excellent job of both character development and storytelling. The storytelling is a scene by scene drama that is well paced and seems to style the most popular TV shows and books. Dan Brown’s novel The Lost Symbol and JJ Abrams’ TV show Lost come to mind. If you’ve played David Cage’s earlier game Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, then the style of storytelling in Heavy Rain will seem familiar to you.

Presentation – A graphically polished game, during the opening credits showing the scenes of the city I was amazed at how “real” everything looked.

Gameplay – I’m still getting used to the controls, but I like how the “struggle” with the controls mimics the difficulty of the task portrayed by the character.

What is questionable:

Controls – While I understand some of the gameplay choices, I still struggle with moving my character where I want to move them. Now as this is an adventure game as oppose to an action game, it’s not that big of a deal. Just sometimes this minor frustration can detract from the overall experience.

Presentation – Sometimes the voice acting seems out of sync with the gravity of the situations. Non-playable/main characters seem grossly un-real (mostly their animations).

Choices vs Thoughts – As most of you may know, when you toggle a button in Heavy Rain you can see the thoughts of the character onscreen. I’m still not 100% sure if acting on those thoughts is beneficial to your character (e.g. The character is thirsty, I control him/her to grabbing a drink…then…?). Also, it’s hard to differentiate thoughts from choices and sometimes characters will have conflicting thoughts/choices in their head and in my quests to get as much information from a character I click on all the options, so if I click on say “thirsty” and then click on “not thirsty” I’m not sure if I’m hearing the inner thoughts of the character or if I’m making a decision for them.

OVERALL – My impression is very positive. I’ve also been a big supporter of this game as I really enjoyed Indigo Prophecy and think more games of this style need to be available to consumers. Most of what I think is questionable it very nit-picky. If you like “story/adventure” games, then I think you will enjoy Heavy Rain. I’ll write more after I finish the game (and maybe after a second play-through), but so far I’m hooked. And with any good story you want to see what happens next.

4Couples – My girlfriend enjoys watching the game so that’s a plus. I haven’t decided if I want to share the controller with her as I am afraid she might kill my characters. Although, controller sharing would also make for an organic experience for both of us – perhaps I’ll wait until the second play-through. Also, she liked the demo, but found some of the character movement frustrating (as mentioned above). Oh, don’t comment too much on the hotness of Madison.


4 Responses to “Heavy Rain Impression”

  1. Great review, I agree with most of your points. Graphics are awesome, gameplay is fun and innovative, and the controls can be a pain but I imagine you get used to them after awhile.

    Did the voice acting bother you at all? I only played the demo, so don’t have a lot of exposure to the game yet, but I’ve heard some people say parts were pretty bad. Either way, I’m looking forward to trying this game out.

    • So far the voice acting isn’t too bad. It’s more awkward phrasing then anything else, but not due to the writing.

      • I heard the kids were the worst example of it in the game, but from what I’ve seen of the reviews that are out there, it doesn’t seem to detract from the game much. It’s getting some good scores.

  2. […] Gameplay – Some required button presses/thumbstick movements are hard to identify what action will actually occur. Given that the game is supposed to have “consequences” for certain actions, you want to be sure what action is going to occur with a certain press/movement and the game doesn’t always make that clear. Also, when a character is nervous or scared, the actions and thoughts start to shake and make it hard to clearly identify the associated press/movement. Sometimes this can lead to a missed press or movement that may be critical to the player. Also character control can be an issue. […]

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