Thursday, March 11, 2010

Heavy Rain for the PS3


Video games. All you need is a controller and a television and you’re all set! Well, you also need the console and the game, or else you aren’t going far. It seems like today in games, we know what to expect. When we see Halo or any other FPS game, we


know what we are going to be doing. That is just an example to prove my point that developers today are not being that adventurous with ideas. We have games like Street Fighter, Super Mario, and God of War, and we know what we are going to expect from games that leech off those games trying to be successful. Then, we have games like Dragon’s Lair, D, and Brutal Legend, where they take a different approach to games that we know by heart, and instead give us something different in those respective genres. Most of the time it works, and then there is the area that just sucks, like D (no offense to anyone who does like it). One style of games that I wish we could see more is the ones like Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, which are represented as “Interactive Movies”. Luckily, it’s 2010, and we finally have something like that, and it’s done well! This next game I’m going to review is something I haven’t been excited about before, until I actually checked out some videos of it. So, here is my review on the new PS3 exclusive, Heavy Rain.

The story of Heavy Rain is vast and complicated, with multiple events and multiple scenarios, but I will sum it up in one paragraph. Heavy Rain takes place in a city that looks like New York City, but it’s not fully clear where it takes place. An ongoing murder spree is happening, where small kids are getting murdered by someone named the Origami Killer. The story revolves around multiple characters, Ethan Mars, an architect that loses his first son and finds his second son missing, Madison Paige, a journalist, Scott Shelby, an ex cop turned private investigator, and Norman Jayden, a FBI agent who has a drug addiction. While these characters may not seem to have anything in common with one another, their connections will show up when you play the game. It’s funny when I played this game, it had a mixing feeling of Criminal Minds, CSI, Law and Order, thrown in with a little Die Hard. If you don’t know what I mean, then GO PLAY THE GAME! I do not recommend looking up the ending on Youtube or Wikipedia, since it just ruins the experience and shows you’re a lazy good-for-nothing. Unless of course you don’t have a Playstation 3, then that issue is different.

The game play featured in Heavy Rain is a bit of a mixed bag. It has adventure elements, action elements, puzzle elements, and interactive drama elements. Think of it as a huge interactive cut scene like Dragon’s Lair, but in a Law and Order, Criminal Minds, Die Hard, and CSI setting, except that you don’t have amazingly awesome action moves like in Die Hard. You basically go through a pretty lengthy game, which in my experience, could take a couple days to beat since you want to see what events will happen if you do a specific action. I say that, because whatever you do in the game will set the ending and future events in the game. You basically have control of the characters, but you will mostly be going through a lot of very fast quick-time events where you will need to press buttons, push the control stick, left, right, up, and down, tilt the controller to the left, and you get the idea. Heavy Rain does take advantage of the six-axis control scheme, which seems to be missing in a lot of PS3 games. You will also be going through some obstacles to get to a piece of the puzzle, and it can get pretty intense if you get hit, or miss a button command. I’m not saying it’s a super hard game, but it isn’t an easy game either, since sometimes you are timed to do some thing like rub off fingerprints before the cops arrive, or make one of the characters escape the police, or someone who is chasing them or getting chased by you. Like I said, it’s basically a huge interactive cut scene, but I like that.

Before I keep going on about the graphics and such, I want to talk about something that I think the industry must try. I think developers should try something new, like what Heavy Rain has done. I think they need to stop making first-person shooters and other genres so much, and focus on a different genre. Let’s take Super Mario Galaxy. Out of the ocean of FPS games in the market, Super Mario Galaxy was something different and was extremely fun. It seems like we keep getting more and more shooter games or really bad movie games. It’s only when someone actually has the brains to actually notice, “Hey, I got an idea, let’s stop making shooter games and make a Plat-forming action game.” or something like that. It annoys the heck out of me when I see commercials for games like Call of Duty or Left 4 Dead, since we know they are going to be shooters and we will have to kill a bunch of computer characters. It just gets redundant, since it also seems like we get so many futuristic shooters ever since Halo came out. Don’t get me wrong, I somewhat enjoy shooters, but we are getting as many of them as bad movie-licensed games every year. I mean it is hard to make a completely original game, but the people at Quantic Dreams who are famous for motion capturing, and games like Omikron: the Nomad, and Fahrenheit have done that. They did something different, why can’t you developers?! If developers can do this, then the industry wouldn’t be in such a rut with so many Guitar Heroes and Rock bands and shooter games devouring the market! It’s those games and genres that are putting the industry in such a freaking rut! I’m going to stop myself here since this is bringing out the worst in me. Let’s continue with the review.

The graphics are some of the best the Playstation 3 has to offer. Everything is beautifully detailed and it just looks amazing. I think these graphics are about as good as Uncharted 2 or God of War 3’s graphics. The people at Quantic Dream definitely knew what they were doing. The game is even more realistic with everyone being motion captured. The voice work is also very well done, with voices from Pascal Langdale, Jacqui Ainsley, Leon Ockenden, and Sam Douglas. The supporting voice cast is also good. The music is just wonderfully orchestrated. It fits every scene you see. Another thing I like is how different this game is. I bet at first a lot of people were like “oh this is a horror survival game.” While I can see where they were going with this, I think people were, well, WAY off.

Sadly, the rain falls hard on the bad parts. The real only thing I can complain about are the controls. They can get a little finicky, since you have to press R2 to make your character move. What was so hard about just using the left analog stick? The signs that float around your character to give you choices, or that are quick-time events are sometimes not fully clear or visible, and I often got myself hurt or messed up because the symbols were either too small or the commands weren’t as clear. A small thing about this game is that a huge chunk of people will love this game, but a good chunk of people will hate it since it’s so different. If you like games like Shenmue, then I think you would love this game.

Overall, Heavy Rain was one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have ever played. It’s so unique and different from all the Guitar heroes, Rock bands, and shooter games that come out EVERY YEAR. I would highly recommend buying this game, or at least checking it out. It is expensive since it is a new game, but I would totally go get it. A heads-up to parents though, is that it’s a M-rated game and is full of drugs, sex, and violence. In this regard, I couldn’t recommend it to people under 17 or so. I hope Quantic Dream does something like this for a sequel in the future after they are done with Omikron 2.

This game gets a 9.8 out of 10

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