This is Madison Paige. I've not spent much time with her yet, sadly.
This is Madison Paige. I've not spent much time with her yet, sadly.

This is Madison Paige. I've not spent much time with her yet, sadly.

As I say, I want to avoid mentioning any plot specifics in this preview, but what I will say is that Quantic Dream has done a good job of filling the first 12 scenarios or so with provocative and exciting events. There are quite a few action-focused scenes during this period - stressful episodes that will test both your reflexes and your concentration - but I found myself equally enjoying the quieter scenarios, like the one I discussed in my last preview. It's often during these moments that Heavy Rain feels most like a hyper-modern descendent of the point-and-click adventure genre. True, there aren't an abundance of puzzles to be solved, but while playing as FBI Agent Norman Jayden you'll frequently be scanning your surroundings and pressing people for clues to push forward your investigation. The detective-playing aspects of Heavy Rain remind me of Westwood's excellent Blade Runner game from 1997, as the issue is often not whom you should talk to, but how you should talk to them. Considering how successful that game was at approaching the adventure genre in a fresh manner, I feel that this similarity bodes well.

Ever since this project first appeared, there's been lots of animated speculation about whether Heavy Rain is a video game in the true sense, or whether it's simply an interactive movie. Having played the game for some time now, my gut says that it's both. Yes, the game is driven by its story, and yes, quick time events form a major part of the player's input - but it would be a big mistake to write the game off for being a collection of cut-scenes. For most of the time, you're fully in control of your character's movement: on its own, the left analogue stick will move your head and allow you to inspect your surroundings; if you hold down R2 you'll start to walk, with the stick now governing your direction. Most other actions are initiated via context-dependent movements of the right stick. Some of these instructions require simple single-direction presses, while others require wide controlled arcs, or motions that are carried out with a slow, controlled speed.

There's actually quite a large selection of moves and button combos that need to be picked up and mastered before you'll be seamlessly following on-screen prompts, and together these inputs form their own sort of control system - in other words, it's not just "Hit triangle to avoid the falling rock". The only time that Heavy Rain ever feels really quick time-y is during its fight sequences, where the more organic inputs are swapped for more random hit-the-button demands. The thing is, these interludes are usually very tense, and you're asked to fulfil so many prompts that it's easy to let one slip. At this point your character will usually take a hit or get hurt in some way - and thanks to the game's graphical strengths, this is a fairly unpleasant experience. Once again, the empathy factor comes into play.

It's also worth a brief mention that the quick time events here are far, far better than the Simon Says system that appeared in Farenheit, Quantic Dream's previous game. Last time around, you'd often find yourself hammering through lengthy pattern-matching sequences that seemed to have little or no correlation to what was actually happening on-screen. Now when you're fighting for your life or desperately trying to escape from someone, it actually feels like you're doing just that. You'll also witness the result of your success or failure almost immediately - eluding an incoming fist or taking it full in the face, depending on your reflexes. As a result, action sequences are far more satisfying than what you'd expect from your typical QTE section.

Heavy Rain has certainly gathered a sizeable collection of sceptics, but if you fall into this camp then I humbly urge you to remain as open-minded as possible - at least until you can try it out for yourself. The control system is less specific than what we're used to, but that's largely because the game is trying to do so much more than the average video game. Most releases only need to handle one or two core mechanisms - usually moving and shooting - but Heavy Rain doesn't have that luxury. This is the game where characters do hundreds of different things, even within one scene: they walk around, pick up objects, and juggle them. It's a game where people threaten, plead and lie to each other. It's a game where people pretend to be airplanes with their kids, where they do the washing up, where they desperately scrabble away from someone who's trying to hurt them. Heavy Rain is all of these things, and I for one can't wait to see what else it has up its sleeve.

Heavy Rain is due out exclusively for the PS3 in 2010.

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User Comments

chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Me: 'Wow this game looks brilliant! Oh it's a PS3 exclusive, not another one!' (crawls into a corner and starts to cry)

But seriously now this looks really good, the sort of game that could set the benchmark for future games of that genre. I just wish it wasn't a PS3 exclusive. Ah well, thats just another game I'll have to convince a friend with a PS3 to get.
Posted 15:28 on 30 December 2009
jaanpunjabi's Avatar

jaanpunjabi

how heavy can rain be..:)
Posted 15:18 on 30 December 2009
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ thpcplayer

It looks so compelling and visually brilliant. I'd like to imagine the possibility of a novel sized story. It clearly focuses on the minute details and the sometimes mundane intricacies of life.

Can't bloody wait...
Posted 16:21 on 16 December 2009
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer@ clangod

@ clangod
It is without doubt a unique concept. And from what i hav seen & heard this really sounds to be the best ps3 exclusive. I bought ps3 for this.
It may not sell as well as other ps3 exclusives such as gt 5 or GoW 3 but it has the potential to be best game of 2010, or even best of this generation
It really sounds like a movEE!
Posted 15:46 on 16 December 2009
clangod's Avatar

clangod

It may not sell well across the board but given the PS3's reputation as an 'older gamers' console, it should certainly appeal to it's core demographic. As is obvious by what we've seen (and read) up to this point Heavy Rain appears truly revolutionary. Not just because it's especially unique, but because it will undoubtedly change the way we look at games.
Posted 15:38 on 16 December 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ mikejosh1978

It don't think it will sell that well. The reviews will be interesting, but it sounds like the gameplay is pretty sorted from the previews I've read. Definately getting this, just to see what the fuss is about more than anything.
Posted 14:18 on 16 December 2009
mikejosh1978's Avatar

mikejosh1978

I think this will maybe open the door for more similar games to come from other devs if this gets the sales . I have been glued to this games development since E3 & from your previews neon it sounds like a game where the more time you invest in it the more you get involved in the atmosphere which like a few rpg games & mmo's i have played really makes them a worthwhile experience . As i say i just hope that its not overlooked or treated like say lbp was in the fact it was a great game but people didn't give it a chance to grow on them or really couldn't be bothered to invest the time.
Posted 13:53 on 16 December 2009
strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

I really like the look of it but feel this could go badly for "grown up games".If this doesn't sell,we won't see as many risks in future.I think this is a benchmark title and failure could be bad for all us old uns who want a bit more polish on game presentation/story,characterisation.
I really liked Farenheit(even though it bugged and I couldn't finish it)and this looks better.
Posted 19:53 on 15 December 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

How long in to the game is it that you see her nips?
Posted 14:37 on 15 December 2009
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Not soon, but there will be one apparently. It's not easy to condense this kind of game into a demo-size chunk; the story is such a big part of things that you need a bit of context.

Still, I reckon we'll get one. A demo is the best way to "sell" people the idea, and that's really what Heavy Rain needs, (IMO)
Posted 00:49 on 15 December 2009
thegreatODEN's Avatar

thegreatODEN

will there be a demo soon???
Posted 00:42 on 15 December 2009
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Nope, no game over screens as far as I can tell. I talk about this a bit in the feature we've got going up soon, but essentially the story seems to carry on regardless of your success or failure with important moments.

What happens if all four characters die? I'm not sure, but it seems that it's quite hard to make that happen - in the early part of the story, at least.

@rbevanx: Yeah, there's a decent score, although it's not by Angelo Badalamenti. I agree though - the music in Farenheit is ace. I'm playing it through at the moment so that I have something to compare Heavy Rain against. I'm liking it, though the stealth sections are a major pain in the arse.
Posted 00:31 on 15 December 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ El-Dev

Yeah when all his kids are dead.
Posted 22:28 on 14 December 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Can you get a "Game Over" type scenario in this?
Posted 22:19 on 14 December 2009
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Think of the potential amount of stories it could spawn in the same vein...
Posted 21:06 on 14 December 2009

Game Stats

Release Date: 26/02/2010
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 301
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