Heavy Rain LTTP PlayStation 3 Review
My primary job here at IGR is posting Late to the Party reviews. It’s a perfect fit for me. After all, I’m usually at least 6 months behind the gaming 8 ball. In the case of Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, make that about 2.5 years. That said, I can’t think of a better game for a LTTP review since Heavy Rain offers every gamer a slightly different experience.
Playstation 3 exclusive Heavy Rain starts with a morbid flashback sequence which sets the tone for the rest of the game. From there, the player controls 4 characters (protagonist Ethan Mars, private detective Scott Shelby, a journalist named Madison Paige, and drug addicted FBI agent Norman Jayden) through what I would describe as a series of interactive movie scenes. Through these characters, the player completes a number of tasks in an attempt to piece together the kidnapping of, and prevent the murder of, Ethan’s son, Shaun.
Heavy Rain is almost exclusively driven by the story. The gameplay offers very little in the way of resistance or difficulty, and many times, the player is tasked with activities that seem like nothing more than busy work to keep them occupied. That said, I don’t remember any time throughout the game where the story itself wasn’t enough to keep me involved. In fact, it was downright captivating at times. I will warn you that Heavy Rain does require a certain level of patience, and if your usual gaming experience is Call of Duty, it may take more than a little getting used to. But if you’re a fan of cinema and are intrigued by the prospect of being able to basically play a movie, Heavy Rain should be near the top of your must play list.
- The Storyline: Heavy Rain’s storyline is fragmented between the 4 different controllable characters. Each character has their own motives, perspective, and interests, which keeps the player on his or her toes. I never knew exactly what was coming next and I certainly didn’t put the whole story together before the end of the game.
- The Replay Value: I don’t play games multiple times, with the exception of the Mass Effect series or maybe River City Ransom when I was a kid, but I’m seriously considering giving this game another go around. The choices made throughout the game change how everything unfolds in the end. I made a lot of missteps during my first play though, and after it was done, my mind immediately played back through a few different scenes and I wondered how the ending would’ve changed if I had just done a handful of things differently.
- The Tone and Environment: If you want sunshine and lollipops, Heavy Rain isn’t for you. The game’s publisher, Quantic Dream, set out to create a physical world that conveys the dreariness and desperation that dominates the landscape of the game and its characters. They were unrelenting and unapologetic in doing so. The best comparison that I can make to the tone of this game is the movie Se7en.
- Madison Paige: The one ‘bright spot’ in this game is journalist, Madison Paige. I won’t give any details away, but after playing Heavy Rain, Madison is at the top of my list of hottest female video game characters of all time. And she’s not afraid to crack open a can of whoop ass when the recipe calls for one.
- The Controls: As mentioned earlier in this review, there are a lot of times during Heavy Rain where the player is tasked with movements and sequences just for the sake of doing something. The controls, overall, are pretty simplistic. Despite this fact, the controls still find a way to be clunky and disjointed. My biggest issue with the controls arose during the game’s action heavy scenes. During those scenes, it was often times very difficult to see the button sequences on the screen, which made it nearly impossible to complete them successfully.
- Freezing: Heavy Rain froze on me 5 or 6 different times over the course of the game. The first happened about 15 minutes in. The last happened about 15 minutes before the conclusion. It’s not uncommon, unfortunately, to have issues with freezing during this day and age. But for a game that requires so little in the way of interactivity, the frequency of the freezing was a little more than I’d like to see.
Heavy Rain is a very solid game. I’d recommend it to the hardcore gamer by mentioning that it’s a great change of pace with a story that’s worth the price of admission. I’d recommend it to the casual gamer by saying that the ease of gameplay allows the player to focus on enjoying the experience without the frustration of having to learn a lot of complicated movements and sequences. All in all, Heavy Rain can be enjoyed by anyone with a Playstation 3, about $30, and a love of suspenseful storytelling.
Review Score: 9/10
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