|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 multiple endings are great, but they actually create the first problem I have with the DLC. Madison can die in some of the endings! These events are supposed to take place before Heavy Rain and are also supposed to be canon. I know it is a creative direction by allowing those things to happen and it creates this sense of "what the hell will happen if," but at the end of it, there's no real bearing on the main story. The fact this is the scene we were shown roughly two years ago doesn't really help. It is almost like this is a deleted scene removed at the last minute from the main game. Since this was a trend clearly set up in Heavy Rain with Madison visiting "The Doctor" and having the encounter she had there. While in concept this is great to have a character you can constantly revisit in order to flesh out other possible serial killer ideas you had at one point - sort of like Nancy Drew only much cooler and, well, much hotter too - it also easily falls into the Superman complex. Nothing can hurt Superman, and if you have too many Madison Page-investigates-this-and-lives storylines, you can lose the edge of impending and looming death.
Also quite odd is that Madison's voice is not the same. In the beginning you will not even notice it, but once her internal monologues begin, it painfully stands out. It feels unnatural at times and very forced so you may not pick up on the fact it is not the voice of Madison from the main game. I mean, honestly, why they couldn't have the same voice actress is beyond me. In addition to Madison's jarring voice, you will find it rough to assimilate the voice of Leeland White. The main reason is because the same actor voices Scott Shelby. I won't reveal why it is a jarring experience, but you'll understand once it is all said and done with the main game.
However, those two complaints are probably minimal compared to the major complaint I have with this DLC - the five dollar price tag; a disappointing trend as of late. Let me clarify first before I really get into it. Lately, big titles have released DLC for the price tag of around five bucks for content that will take no longer (including pausing the game for fifteen minutes) thirty minutes to play through. While The Taxidermist does have more reason to play through repeatedly than say Dante's Inferno "The Dark Forest" it still feels a little off considering the price. Sure, if you stroll through the DLC on your first playthrough it may take you about twenty minutes to complete and then going back through it from beginning to end to get the other endings could in theory take you about two hours, but if you only load back certain chapters to get the endings, then you are looking at about thirty to forty minutes.
The Taxidermist has a lot of potential for what could become a chapter-based series for Heavy Rain. It delivers on the same graphical level as the main entry, continues the narrative experience, adds more of an adult feel to the story, and can easily enthrall a person back into the experience Heavy Rain first gave the player. The price tag is a problem, though others may see it differently. Part of the magic of Heavy Rain and even The Taxidermist is the experiences are always different for each player the first time through. I can say I anxiously await Chapter Two, I just hope it is a little longer and maybe next time with Norman Jayden and Madison Page.
CCC Project Coordinator