Saturday, April 3, 2010

Heavy Rain: The “Interactive Drama”

heavy rainHeavy Rain is one of the most peculiar yet intriguing games that I have ever played. It really honestly doesn’t even seem like a game at all. The developer, Quantic Dream, has described it as an “interactive drama.” It really seems like a movie in which you make all the decisions as to what happens over about twelve hours worth of time. There aren’t bosses and hordes of enemies to fight off, instead you have a storyline that progresses according to the actions of the player. The gameplay of Heavy Rain is extremely slow and meticulous, but every step of the way is worth the time that you put into it. Many say that to play Heavy Rain you need some patience, which could be true, but if you have the persistence you should be completely satisfied with the game.

In Heavy Rain, the plot is the main focus of the entire game. The storyline is completely immersive and will captivate your entire attention. When you start the game, you discover that a serial killer, dubbed the Origami Killer, has been kidnapping little boys and holding them prisoner for a few days before murdering them. Their drowned corpses have been appearing in abandoned fields with orchids on their chests and origami in their hands. Your goal is to solve the mystery behind these kidnapping and deaths. You do this from four different perspectives: a father whose son has been kidnapped, an FBI agent, a journalist, and a private detective. Depending on what you decide to do with these characters depends on how exactly the game unfolds. There are a variety of different outcomes for every single scene, and there are several different endings to the game.

heavy rainThe game starts out with you controlling the everyday actions of a father with two sons. You perform a variety of different task including: getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and setting the table for lunch. Some made think of this start as slow, but it is meant for you to have a chance to emotionally bond with the character. You go on to play with your character’s son in the backyard and prepare for his birthday party. When he then disappears in the crowded mall, you can’t help but feel at least a little bit concerned. Small emotional moments like this are scattered all throughout Heavy Rain and help develop the core of the storyline.

Now many people will be very happy to hear that the whole game is not made up of performing everyday actions. There are many instances that feature intense fighting sequences. There are also times when you find your character must go to an “uncomfortable” place and perform actions that are difficult to carry out. This pulls at the emotional ties that Heavy Rain is built upon. A lot of the decisions that your character will be forced to make will have you questioning how far you would go for someone that you truly love?

The controls found in Heavy Rain are interesting. Every bit of the interaction found within the game involves you pressing specific buttons at a certain time. Examples of this would be when you have to deflect a kick when fighting, you must hit a sequence of different buttons in time, or to open a door, the player must tilt the PS3 controller’s right stick upward. The time that you have to perform these actions depends on what level of easiness you are playing.

heavy rainThe graphic of Heavy Rain are absolutely incredible. It literally almost looks like the characters are real actors in a movie. The emotions of the characters can be seen perfectly and all look completely life-like. And the characters aren’t the only thing that they paid close attention to detail for, the backgrounds and environments are just as detail-oriented and stunning as the characters themselves. I can’t really describe how incredible the graphic quality of this games is. All I can say is that you have to see it to believe it!

The only criticism that I could really have of this game would have to do with the voice acting. Pretty much all of the characters in the game are supposed to be Americans, but several members of the cast doing the voices for the game were not American. This led to some odd American accents and very French-sounding children’s voices, but does is this factor really enough to ruin the game? I would definitely say it is not!

If you’re looking for a very different and intriguing game, Heavy Rain is the game for you! It’s a complete cinematic experience. With the captivating storyline and stunning graphics, what more could you ask for? Heavy Rain is definitely a game that everyone should spend some time exploring.

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