: Quantic Dream
: Sony Computer Entertainment
: Playstation 3
: Psychological Thriller, Interactive
: February 23, 2010
A once peaceful town has been plagued by a series of horrible murders by a figure that has come to be known as the Origami Killer. The victims of this killer are young boys, kidnapped, and are soon found dead with an origami killer in their cold hands, a mark of the Origami Killer. That isnít to say the victims donít stand a chance. The killer leaves these boys in a deep gutter that slowly fills with rain water, meaning there is time to save them, at least before the water fills, hence the name: Heavy Rain. This time the Origami Killer has targeted a new victim, one that brings four strangers together to solve this mystery before another tragedy occurs. The question is: How far will you go to save someone you love?
Ethan Mars, Madison Paige, Scott Shelby, and Norman Jayden are all seemingly normal people. Ethan is an architect, Madison is a freelance photojournalist, Scott is a retired police officer turned private investigator, and Norman is a rising FBI Agent. Yet these people are strangers, and each has at least one thing in common: a mutual interest in the Origami Killer. Ethanís son becomes the next victim. Madison uses her journalistic intuition to uncover information about the killer. Scott visits the previous victims of the killer to connect the confusing puzzle pieces together. Norman has come to this terrorized city to ensure that any victims are made safe and to bring the Origami Killer to justice.
However, each of these characters must rely on something crucial: choices. Their choices can carry heavy consequences depending on what one chooses to do. These lead to good outcomes or bad outcomes. Ultimately these choices come down to you, the player. This is what makes Heavy Rain so invigorating, it pulls you in and makes you part of the story just as much as it does with these characters.
Heavy Rain is one of the Playstation 3ís graphical powerhouses. The amount of detail is surprising, everything from environments, clothes, furniture, and facial expressions. Heavy Rain holds nothing back and challenges the Playstation 3ís graphical display, and it does so impressively. Because Heavy Rain presents itself similar to a thriller/mystery movie, its visual presentation matches spot on. Itís dark and stormy outside, but colorful within indoor environments at times, the characterís clothes get dirty; they suffer wounds that slowly heal over time, and other features youíd think twice about noticing.
Heavy Rain is a suspenseful yet tragic story, one thatís full of drama, and the same can be said for the sounds and music in the game. The most ominous audio presence youíll hear is the ďdrip dropĒ of rain, and the ďtapĒ it makes as it crashes from the sky to the ground. This is what makes the game so appreciative. The sense of danger, sadness, and hopelessness continues to tear away at you with each drop of water that passes. Never has rain played an iconic role in a video game, because each drop acts against you.
Heavy Rain features some great voice work and each actor was cast very well with their in-game counterparts. Their performances are very believable and they help keep the story interesting and help it progress as you continue to play.
If youíre a music enthusiast, Heavy Rain features an exceptional soundtrack, one that captures and brings to life the emotions of the game. So many emotions are put into musical form such as sadness, fear, suspense, and joyfulness. Yet as Iíve mentioned before, Heavy Rain is more tragic and this is musically embodied with somber sounding piano, brass, and stringed instruments. For each type of emotion or situation, the game has an orchestration to match what you experience on the screen.
Heavy Rain features timed button response gameplay and interaction with people and/or things in your immediate environment, which means there are some segments of limited free roaming. In some situations you can explore an area freely and examine certain things using the PS3 controller (Heavy Rain also utilizes the Playstation Move hardware, if you choose to play the game that way), but during action sequences, carefully timed button presses are a big deal. There are a variety of ways to go about gameplay. First of all walking can be done by holding down the R2 button and using the analog sticks to control the direction of your movement. Nearly all of the PS3 controllerís buttons are used, but how you use them will differ. Some sequences will require you to hold down a button while pushing another, mash a button, push a button before a timed counter expires, shake the controller, or use its sixaxis sensors. As you can see there is a lot of possible combinations, so the game does a good job of keeping you on your toes, especially during action sequences. Whatís great is that interaction with the controller is only part of it. Itís your judgment to do something or not that really matters.
I will say that there will be a few button commands that can be tricky to pull off because there will be times where many of your digits will be preoccupied with other buttons. You can fail button presses only so much before you completely fail, some events may even require only one opportunity to get it right. So failure means that things may not go your way, meaning youíll have to try again to get it right.
Remember that the gameís story is a reflection of your actions, and sometimes a lack of action, so how the story progresses is really up to you. For example, Ethan, most importantly, is given a series of challenges by the Origami Killer, and either you do them or not. Each character has their own challenges too, of course. So even if things donít go your way during your first play through, Heavy Rain has a good checkpoint and save system. So you can change the flow of events should they not go the way you wanted them to in the first place.
Heavy Rain earns its replay value through, first and foremost: alternate endings. Heavy Rain has a good length, which means that the flow of events can be changed from practically any time in the game, beginning through the end. Heavy Rain is such a great game that youíll want to uncover every possible ending there is, and there are many alternate endings to obtain. Getting them all may not always be clear or easy, but theyíre worth seeing so you can get more out of this suspenseful story.
Finishing the game will give you concept art galleries with artwork on how Heavy Rain came to fruition as well as making of videos that show video segments of the game being brought to life.
Heavy Rain is much more than a video game. Itís an experience that depends entirely on the player, and the outcome of the story is all in their control. This is a suspense story that all should experience, especially for people who enjoy the suspense and/or mystery genres. Gamers can associate with the characters of the game, and these characters certain are memorable as you explore their individual stories. Heavy Rain is well rounded in nearly every area reviewed, and the learning curve isnít steep. Please do yourself the favor of experiencing this game firsthand. Go in open-minded as you try to grow closer to solving the mystery of the elusive Origami Killer. Add Heavy Rain to your Playstation 3 collection now.