2 April 2010 | Danny_G13
Ambitious 'thriller' has to be admired for its vision
I use the word 'thriller' as normally one doesn't associate that word with a video game, rather a movie or TV show. But the lines between interactive and passive entertainment have been blurring for some considerable time now, and Heavy Rain is the latest evolution of this.
From the same director and software house who brought us the 'infamous' Fahrenheit, notorious for its 'Simon Says' style of interaction, Heavy Rain shares this same basic game mechanic of following on screen prompts to engage particular actions. If you're near a chair, pressing the instruction cue, such as the right stick up, will see the character interacting with the chair, possibly by sitting, maybe by leaning on it.
And this simple yet extremely effective way is the model for the whole game. There is no 'forward back left and right with jump punch' type of control, instead movement is facilitated by R2 acting as a pseudo 'accelerator' and the left stick guiding the player - it's clunky, and at times obstructive, but it just about does the job.
As for the actual plot, because let's face it, that's the point of the game, to be a story, Heavy Rain follows the pursuit, by 4 main characters, of a notorious serial killer called the Origami Killer who is kidnapping and drowning young children. Suffice to say our heroes become embroiled in his latest kidnap and it becomes a race against time and rain (that will become clear later).
The ultimate question we have to ask ourselves, as to whether we like this game or not, is what we expect of it.
Is it the evolution and revolution of gaming that it promised to be? Probably not - it is let down by some mechanical failures, plot holes wide enough to fit the Titanic through, and a fair number of event/dialogue contextual gaps which make little sense at the time.
But inasmuch as these irritate, Quantic Dreams have to be applauded for trying. And trying really hard. Yes, the story and plot would have benefited from being proof read by professionals, but anyone looking that deep for flaws is missing the point - the game tries to do something quite different, quite radical, and involving of the player in ways not seen before by other games.
Heavy Rain does not hit the mark in everything it does, but it comes close overall, and is a worthy attempt at doing something dramatic and different in a gaming market which is in danger of becoming sterile.