|System: PS3||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: Feb. 23, 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|
Aside from the quick-time events scattered throughout the gameplay, there's another way for players to break the routine: looking for clues as you play as one of the characters. You will use special glasses that allow you to search crime scenes for possible clues. You also will have an opportunity to look at the evidence you find in a kind of virtual world. This gameplay aspect is so enjoyable, I found myself looking forward to these little sessions more and more because it is another example of how you are in control of how the title's story moves forward.
Heavy Rain is a stellar experience. Unfortunately, the opening of the game can distract and ultimately turn gamers away from the title. The pacing is slow and gameplay is mundane at times. The main reason for this is to act as a tutorial for the controls. It does take a while to get to the meat of the story, where things turn into an edge of your seat thriller. Some have said the slowness detracts from the overall experience of the game, and while I can acknowledge this is true to a certain degree, I have to admit I actually found myself getting upset with people around me that have played because they had their character get up to get a cup of coffee in a location I didn't. I think these are humanizing QTEs that have you grow more attached to these characters and their story.
Unfortunately, you may find yourself sucked right out of the immersion with a few misspoken words of dialogue or a character not responding in the way you'd expect. Mishap voice-overs, on occasion, take away from the meaning at the time. However, these happen in a way you can forgive, and they don't completely ruin the overall narrative of the story, nor do they come into question when the scene needs to move you in any emotional direction. The score, on the other hand, doesn't fall into the same category as the voice acting. Instead, the music belongs in the same league as blockbuster films with a dramatic overtone.
Graphically, Heavy Rain has already been considered the new wave of technological marvel in the industry, but there are a few unpleasantries that have to be pointed out. The most notable things are the way the animations, at times, look stiff. The hand motions aren't quite right or the fingers don't move the way they should. Some background items don't pop out the way they should, either. These flaws are easier to point out though mainly due to the outstanding facials in the game. Too often I found myself question the realism of the scenes onscreen due to the facial expressions. Does Heavy rain explode a new graphical standard? I don't think so. However, I think Heavy Rain accomplishes realism in the gritty sense of a noir film and easily finds its place amongst an artistic interpretation of real life with its dark and edgy storyline.
Heavy Rain blurs the line between film and gameplay gloriously. Some will not like the game, due to the conditioning this generation of games has built into players. However, if you are in need of experiencing something that is not like the norm but draws you into an immersive story unlike anything before, Heavy Rain is definitely worth your attempt. Just be prepared go back repeatedly for the various experiences from each play-through. Believe me; you will care enough about these characters to want to see just how things play out differently each time. Heavy Rain potentially marks the beginning of something new in the industry and I hope the rain continues to fall.
CCC Project Coordinator