Heavy Rain Second Opinions

Heavy Rain has been a long time coming, but along the way it has garnered many fans. They hoped Quantic Dream’s dark tale would showcase the power of the PlayStation 3 in a wholly original fashion. You can read IGN’s official review of Heavy Rain or jump directly into our additional comments on the below. And don’t worry, we’ve kept our impressions spoiler free psp games.

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Nate Ahearn: Heavy Rain was a great experience. One that I’ve never had delivered by a videogame before. It presented a cinematic style of gameplay that was both intensely hardcore, yet accessible for non-gamers. It was one of the first games where my girlfriend was actually interested in the plotline. And it was the only game that she actually thought she could play by herself on the easiest setting and be able to make it all the way through. Heavy Rain is special for a lot of reasons, but to me, that rises above the rest.

And the acting is the best I’ve seen in videogames (sorry Mass Effect) thanks to the technology that was used to convey the actors’ wide range of emotions. There are still plenty of moments where the drama falls flat, but by and large what you see on-screen is very believable and, perhaps more importantly, very primal. Every emotion feels relatable, even if the situation is far from it. And while I do hear what some are saying about the lack of imagination in the gameplay, it’s presented so well I forgot all about it.

Colin Moriarty: I haven’t finished Heavy Rain yet, but I got about three-fifths of the way through before giving up the copy I was using to one of our guides freelancers. In that time, I came to a pretty straight-forward conclusion about the game: Heavy Rain is phenomenal. And I’ve reached that conclusion without seeing any of the game’s myriad endings, which are supposed to turn the story on its head and strike gamers at their very cores.

Heavy Rain is so well-put-together and finely produced that it’s guaranteed to suck in even the most skeptical PS3 owners right off the bat. It’s an game at heart — there’s no doubt about that — but don’t let that turn you off. While the adventure genre has been effectively dead on consoles for a very, very long time, Heavy Rain puts a new spin on things. This is no point-and-click, read-read-read bore-fest. Heavy Rain exemplifies what adventure gaming should be in 2010.

It’s hard to talk too much about the game without giving any plot points away, so I’ll keep things brief and to the point. Atmosphere and ambience make all the difference in Heavy Rain. Quicktime events are artfully done and, at times, are authentically difficult (especially if you’re playing through on the hardest difficulty like I am). The story is so artfully told that no matter what happens in the game, no matter what you do, what you succeed in or fail at, the story keeps on trucking. You’ll fall for Heavy Rain’s characters, the trauma in the game, the sadness that envelops everything. Heavy Rain is a gamer’s game, through and through.

All I know is that I can’t wait to get back to Heavy Rain (and granted, having an early copy of Mega Man 10 has made that nearly impossible for me.) And for those of you who haven’t tried it yet, do what I did. Try playing the game lying down. Then, see how quickly you’re jostled to your feet by what’s happening in the game, the suddenness of a key quicktime event or the sadness invoked by a terrible plot twist. Heavy Rain does what few games can do, and that’s why it’s a must-play for anyone with a PlayStation 3. It sucks you in and won’t let you go. And chances are, you’ve never played a game like it before.

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Stephen Ng: The story was interesting (although not incredibly shocking) but Heavy Rain fails as a videogame. Videogames are about self-gratification ? while both activities are repetitive and tend to lead to a happy ending, when the repetitive action has a narrow range in variety, things get boring quickly.

That said, Heavy Rain is stifling in terms of what we know as “gameplay.” A videogame is an interactive experience, much like the pen & paper RPGs of old (Dungeons & Dragons, GURPs, Mechwarrior, etc.) and allows players not only to actively participate but also gives him the freedom to perform other actions.

Take for example, games like Infamous or Rainbow Six Vegas, where one can approach a hostage situation in a variety of ways: players can use precision shots to take down the kidnappers, or use other means (distractive measures, close-quarters battle, etc.) to complete the mission.

Heavy Rain may feature “several options” in a scene, but the choices remain locked, stale, and the same ? much like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And the books have a better “save feature” than Heavy Rain. Why, for example, can I not skip past scenes and chapters that have no bearing on the story’s outcome? If I made a decision in a chapter before, I should have the option to skip past the non-essential chapters to the next decision node.

The differences between Heavy Rain and games like Phoenix Wright are nearly non-existent on a conceptual level; both play just like text adventures of old, and most of us have been there and done that.

Hilary Goldstein The first six or seven hours of Heavy Rain are amazing. Yes, even the parts where I’m just drinking orange juice. I found the characters interesting (despite the bad accents) and the story engaging. The quick time events (QTEs) are unlike anything I’ve experienced in a game. They are so fast, so tense, so thrilling. Go back to God of War and you’re going to be snoozing during those boss battle QTEs. The last hours though were a major letdown. The story ends with a ton of plot holes. Very obvious questions are never answered. And in speaking to people who played through every branch of the storyline, I am assured that those plot holes remain no matter what actions you choose. Heavy Rain is a great experience, one that I loved for 90% of the ride. But the last chapters fail to tie things together properly and in a game with such a strong emphasis on story, that’s really unacceptable.

Heavy Rain is definitely worth playing, but expect to be left with questions and frustrations when the credits roll.
Kristine Steimer: It’s hard to talk about Heavy Rain without crossing into spoiler territory. The mercurial story is what makes this game special, so once you’ve finished you immediately want to discuss what your friends did so that you can go back and try out different things. One of my favorite aspects of Heavy Rain is how the story changes based on your actions. In the Mass Effect trilogy, your decisions matter, but they’re spread out over three games, so the consequences aren’t always obvious. In Heavy Rain, how well (or how badly) you handle certain events can re-frame the story drastically and effects are immediate. The storyline isn’t perfect though, and once you’re done you’ll still have lingering questions that will probably remain unanswered.

The presentation is great, but a minor annoyance for me was the voice acting. The voice actors do their best American accents, but it can make their performances seem wooden, and it distracts from the experience. Why didn’t they just hire American actors (not Nolan North)? Or set the game in Europe so they could use their real accents?

I’d suggest trying out Heavy Rain to take a break from all the shooters, but don’t expect it to be a relaxing ride. Sure, parts of the game are slow, but those moments are juxtaposed against high stress situations. The controls add an additional stressor into the mix, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the PS3 controls like I am. I frequently found myself thinking, “Dammit! Which button is square/triangle/circle?” I am also not cut out for quick time events in general — I have minor panic attacks whenever they pop up — so needless to say that I was a wreck, but not necessarily from the emotional story.

Overall, my time with Heavy Rain was well spent, and I plan on getting a Platinum in it, even though I don’t care for trophies — I just want to see everything this game has to offer.

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