Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist Review
Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist box art
System: PS3 (PSN) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Quantic Dream 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SONY 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Apr. 1, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
The Rain Continues
by Matthew Walker

I have to admit, in February, when Heavy Rain came out, I was completely blown away. The visuals, narrative, character development, and even (at times questionable) the voice acting all hooked me deep into the story and wouldn't let go. If you also enjoyed Heavy Rain, you will want to know about Heavy Rain's DLC - The Taxidermist. Will it enthrall you the same way, or is it just an add-on to charge you five bucks without delivering? Keep reading; though it is important to point out this is fairly spoiler-heavy, so if you want to go into the content blind then don't read until the last paragraph.

Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot

The Taxidermist begins with Madison Page, the journalist from Heavy Rain, following a lead two years before the events of Heavy Rain begins. The lead, as explained in the opening by Madison's friend Sam, is 40 year-old Leeland White, the Taxidermist, and it is up to Madison to use her investigative skills to see if Leeland is the Origami Killer. Fortunately, Quantic Dream packed in enough interactive bits into this DLC to make sure players who loved this aspect in Heavy Rain will be able to enjoy it more in a contained experience. Before I continue on though, it is important to point out this is the same scene we saw in it's entirety nearly two years ago when they were showing off Heavy Rain and how awesome it would be. Therefore, if you are playing through this and feel a sense of déjà vu, it is because you have seen it before.

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So, back to the journalistic investigating. Madison gets off her motorcycle and starts looking around a house that appears to have been ripped right out of a Stephen King horror novel. Immediately, players will notice the amped up amount of interaction options you will have. It's not long before Madison realizes she is going to have to break into the house if she's going to find anything out, since good old Leeland was kind enough to not be home. Once inside you start finding clues leading you to believe Leeland White is not just a mild mannered taxidermist, which is a creepy profession all on its own, and that's enough to lead you upstairs.

Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot

Checking the rooms one by one begins to unfold a dark nature worthy enough to rival a certain Motel owner who's last name rhymes with states. However, it is not until you check two of the last rooms that things are really brought to a new level in Heavy Rain. The scenes really capture a sense of horrific brutality worthy of an adult-oriented storyline. It is because of these scenes it makes me upset that the imagery in the main title is not conveyed in the same manner. Don't get me wrong. I don't think they made bad choices in the way certain things were handled in the main game, some things should never be seen, but there is something about the way two scenes in this DLC are captured that drive home the point that this is a game about a serial killer and that it is only for adults.

After witnessing the horrors of one Leeland White, it's time to get the hell out of there. Unfortunately, once you get to the stairs leading down to safety, Leeland's truck pulls into the driveway thus beginning the most thrilling part of the DLC. You are trapped upstairs with no discernable way to get out, oh and the floorboards creak, so if you step on them too heavily, you'll let the killer know you are there. Much like the main entry, now that you have reached the "third act," your options open up and really allow you to explore everything. Will you race downstairs and confront Leeland, will you hide, or will you become one of his victims? There are several things to do here and, again, like Heavy Rain, there are multiple actions resulting in multiple endings. I'm not going to tell you those ending, however; suffice it to say after the credits you will be able to see how many and what they are called but not how to get them.

Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot

Screenshots / Images
Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot - click to enlarge Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot - click to enlarge Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot - click to enlarge Heavy Rain Chronicles: Ch. 1 - The Taxidermist screenshot - click to enlarge

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