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 ;)

No comments: