Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Game Review: Heavy Rain PlayStation3

Format: PS3
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
24 February 2010

Score: 9/10

Summary: Heavy Rain - asks you to make some tough decisions in a video game.

Four characters are hunting for the Origami Killer in what I am classing as an “Interactive Thrilling Drama”. The animation, music (recorded @ Abbey Road Studios) and attention to detail in every shot are excellent, engaging the player from the start - in summary, it all just feels so very real.

The game is great for two players (passing over game controller), as you can talk about the decisions you make (quickly!!).

It begins in one of the main characters family home, Ethan and his wife are preparing for one of their kids birthday parties. It is a domestic scene in an idealistic family home, during this gameplay you really get a sense of the sensitivity of the controllers. For example: Ethans wife invites Ethan to put the plates out for dinner, you need to be very sensitive in the placement of the plates otherwise your wife will shout at you!

All actions are in context, in this early part of the game I was telling @the_burb to go over to the sink and let Ethan give his stressed out wife a “sink cuddle”, and you could do that!

There are streaming character thoughts that you can access via the controller to determine the characters next step. We identified quite early in the game that if you choose the wrong way to set up a sentence, then it can have negative consequences, for example in another scene @the_burb made a lady of the night cry, I grabbed controller off him and gave her a tissue to clear up the problem.

Although not designed for two player, it does work as a great game you can play with others. We even put the game on when we had friends round for dinner (is that wrong!!) and there were then four of us, deciding what to do next. The experience really sits with the one with the game controller, thanks to the well timed Playstation controller vibrations, letting you know... “it is going to kick off in a minute”.

David Cage the director is amazing, I am in awe of him and advise you to watch the above interview to understand more about the premise behind ‘Heavy Rain’. I especially like the point he makes about how he wished to make a game that will trigger real emotions. Mr Cage it worked for me, I was terrified in some scenes and really sad in others.

What I really like about the game, is that even the character prompts (to make a decision) move in context with what is on the screen. Even the controller actions scatter around the screen in moments of high stress. Brilliant !! While all that is going on you have to really have to keep a close eye on the game at all times of and look for clues of next steps.

Some of the controller actions are a little complicated from X, R1, L2 and Triangle, but then this fits in context with the scene. At one point I was in a tricky life threatening situation, which included a tricky controller move, this put me in a state of panic which was a similar state to what the character was feeling at the time. I saved a character but left another behind to face the inevitable consequences. So at this point, I guess I changed the game play. Would need to play again
to change the destinies of those characters. I was pretty disappointed about my decision of loosing one character to save another, they didn’t deserve it, plus I had recently just killed off another character in an earlier scene. Began to feel remorseful. A game that takes you to that place, of feeling disappointed in your actions and worried about the future, is amazing and why this game gets a 9/10

The game is not only ambitious, it is brave and shows a tale of how real people may react in certain environments, you really do see the characters crumble and at the same time due to the script you are in a constant need to keep the game play moving.

The four main characters in the game include; Ethan, FB1 agent Norman Jayden, Private Investigator Scott Shelby and Journalist Madison Page.

Norman Jayden was my favourite character, as he collated the killer profile, had a heavy virtual reality addiction and there was the good cop bad cop thing going on too (like it).

Those that know me, are aware of my very vidid imagination. To share my thoughts: a way that this game could have been more shocking, would be to close the mirrored bathroom cabinet, then have a face in the mirror !! Arrrh scared just writing that.

Go play / experience Heavy Rain, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

Make sure you check out the extras too, for the making off, casting calls and for the collection of graphics.

Have fun and for full effect make sure you play it in the dark.. Enjoy ;)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Marathon Mad! - 105 Marathons in 105 Days around Britain

My friends mate is doing something quite extraordinary, he is on a quest to run 105 marathons in 105 days around Britain.

As a non runner I don’t quite understand it...the aching; sweating; twitching muscles; injuries; being delirious and not forgetting the overall pain.

My bloke @the_burb has run the London marathon, I asked him why he did it, the answer was “because I wanted to do it”. 

So there you have it, you either want to run a marathon or you don’t.

But to want to run 105!! 

Anyway as this is such a BIG quest, thought to expand his ‘social graph’ and blog about it and ask you to support Neil who from 10th Sept to 23rd Dec 2010, is running the 105 marathons in 105 days around Britain for Cancer Research UK.

He stated on his Marathon Mad Facebook support page here: which he has linked to his Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/neil-o-maonaigh-lennon

“Keep the donations coming as even a couple of quid will make a big difference”

On day two he raised £2,210 for Cancer Research UK and 22% towards his target of £10,000. Well done him.

Please do share this blog, re-blog it and RT to spread the word further, as 105 marathons in 105 days seems like a pretty awesome deed to do to raise money.

I wish he was on Twitter as I would be interested to hear the progress in real time and see the photos on route too.

To find out more about raising money online and on using Twitter for Fundraising then go visit Mashable who have listed 10 ways to start a fund for social good online and they have also discussed 10 tips for successful Twitter Fundraising.

Good luck Neil and your Facebook page says it all - you must simply be "Marathon Mad"

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Beth is our New Marketing Manager for Social Media - Brilliant !! Thanks Dilbert

The influence over numbers argument

The above table from http://www.emarketer.com/, which is backed up by an ExactTarget study, reproduced by eMarketer, assists with the "influence over numbers argument" on Twitter, as it shows that US Twitter users in April 2010 were far more interactive online, than general internet users. The results table indicates that US Twitter user’s were more likely than general internet users to post to forums, to write their own blog, comment on blogs and post ratings and reviews.

I have written what this means for brands and companies over at the Rocktime Blog.

View the Influence over numbers arguement post here