Anyway, lets start this with a game that as soon as I bought it kept me playing for 18hrs solid, Heavy Rain (as if you couldn’t tell by the title).
When I first heard about Heavy Rain all those years ago I eagerly anticipated it’s release. During the later years it seemed the more I heard about it, the more excited I was about the game (I’m usually quite sceptical about new releases so this is a rarity). Alarm bells started to ring though when I started seeing all the adverts for the game and news of the “4 Days Challenge”. In my experience most products marketed that heavily usually fair rather poorly. I’m glad though that in this instance this wasn’t true. Heavy Rain is by far most recent gaming example of gripping story telling and with an atmosphere thick enough to cut with a knife. There is no other current generation game that comes close to the Heavy Rain experience.
The story revolves around a serial killer known as “The Origami Killer” who kidnaps children and drowns them. Your viewpoint switches between 4 playable characters. Ethan Mars, Farther of the most recently kidnapped victim. Madison Paige, A Journalist reporting on the Origami Killings. Norman Jayden, An FBI Agent working on the case of the Origami Killer and Scott Shelby, A former cop now private investigator hired by families of the Origami Killers victims, as they all search for the Origami Killer and his current hostage Shaun Mars.
The story is gripping and the game-play is unique. Although, the game is not what I’d call perfect, there are a few blemishes to it’s character. My main niggles are as follows.
1) Glitches and freezing – As some of you may be aware of, there are still a few bugs in the game that need ironed out. I experienced a few minor one-off glitches (my favourite one being when Scott’s head decided to twist 180 degrees for a brief moment) but one that really annoyed me was when my game would freeze when I get onto the dance floor in the Blue Lagoon in which I had to reset the console. It would work normally once I loading my game again though. I’ve also heard stories about saves corrupting, although I never had a problem with such. Although with the release of the patches this isn’t really a problem any more.
2) The Controls (Movement of Character) – Although the control layout sounds good on paper (assigning the movement to R2 allowing the left analogy stick to change the players point of focus), paper can be a flimsy thing. Since you walk in the direction your focusing in, the analog stick is pointing in the direction you want to be going anyway, all this button configuration is doing is making me hold down an extra button to move. I personally would have though it would be better using the left analogue stick to move the character and using R2 to run (since most of the game nobody can go faster than a pleasant stroll). I’ve read other reviews praising the controls so maybe it’s just me that doesn’t get it.
3) Slow Beginning – The neck breaking intro meant to drag you kick and screaming into the game runs rather too slowly, mostly serving as a 20min tutorial on the controls. To which less than 5mins of that time is necessary to the story. Meaning that it does drag on a bit for a wile but about 30mins in it’ll suddenly grab you by the balls and drag you through until the end (hence the 18hrs of continuous game-play). As the old saying goes “Good things come to those who wait”. Heavy Rain being no exception.
4) Story Inconsistencies – Although from a distance the story is well rounded and intense, if you were to look at it close up you will notice that a few bits and pieces don’t add up. One that immediately springs to mind is near the end Madison upon finding out the identity of the Origami Killer has the opportunity to ring Ethan or Norman about the location on Shaun. The thing is though, Madison had never met Norman during the game, so how did she have his phone number? I couldn’t help thinking when noticing this that a few scenes could possibly have been cut from the final game, and that I wasn’t getting the whole Heavy Rain experience.
If you’re willing to forgive the reasons mentioned above, you’ll discover a unique gaming experience unlike any other, where with every action comes a reaction capable of changing the very course of the game. Beautifully presented both visually and audibly with probably the best rain effects I’ve ever seen in a game. A must buy for any PS3 owner.
One minor thing I have to mention. With the game you get a sheet of printed paper so you can fold your own Origami Figure like that shown on the box. The instructions on how to fold it are shown on screen whilst the game installs giving you something to do during installation. It’s a minor thing but it means you’re not sitting around twiddling your thumbs whilst the game installs.
If anyone has games they would like me to review leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do (as long as they are not for the Wii, since I don’t have access to one and don’t particularly want to).