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Heavy Rain Review

Review; Jan. 10, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Jason 'Termy' Winstanley
Meteorologists predict a high chance of precipitation and a low chance of survival.

I enjoy a game that challenges my very core, and this only happens in games with choices -- moral decisions, choices on what to do, where to go, etc. It doesn't have to be all of those, but at least one. Cue Heavy Rain, as it has, at its very base, the most evil morality system any game could possibly ever have.

Heavy Rain Screenshots
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Consider this: The first area, a house, belongs to the first of the main characters, Ethan Mars. It's pretty linear. The game won't progress until you've had a shower and get dressed. (Pretty fair, as most of the downstairs walls have very large windows -- don't want to scare the neighborhood, do you?)

When you've done that, you get to do some free-roaming. Do you spend your time relaxing? Do you actually do your work? Ethan happens to be an architect, and (potentially) the first quick-time event if of Ethan drawing a fancy building plan in his office. Admittedly, these decisions don't change the future, or have any impact whatsoever, but it's still a treat to see how much choice you already have in the game, straight away.

In terms of game play, the controls vary from situation to situation. Most of the time, actions can be performed by moving the right-thumbstick in the required direction, and moving using the left-thumbstick while holding down R2. It's an unusual method of moving around, but it does become second-nature pretty quickly. During quick-time events, you don't have to handle movement, but to compensate, you do have to tap buttons very quickly. Or hold them down. Or sometimes a combination of both. At certain points, I found myself bending my arms in some very weird shapes to get a hold of every button required, which makes for great entertainment for anyone watching you.

The game's soundtrack doesn't disappoint at all, with plenty of high-quality ambient and foreground noises, drawing you in and giving life to the events transpiring. And there is an extremely large amount of dialogue, which gives the game a gritty, realistic feel. Of course, one can't mention the sound without mentioning the amazing graphics, and the varied maps and areas that you traverse. Each area of the game has been painstakingly designed to be easily navigated (for certain areas) and confusing for others. There aren't any hidden areas that I am aware of, but there are many opportunities to explore, starting with your own house, of course.

In terms of difficulty, Heavy Rain is great for all ranges of skill and interest, from beginner to expert. There are plenty of trophies to achieve, mainly from ending different scenes different ways, and because of this, it's definitely high on the replay value scale. All in all, I would recommend playing Heavy Rain at least once because you really won't know what you're missing until you do. 

Presentation - 8

The levels in the game are vast, and exploring them does take some time, if you are given the opportunity. Otherwise, it does feel like a world which has been built to the last detail.

Story - 9

The game starts you off slowly, but eventually picks up the pace and becomes more gripping, almost to the point where it feels like you've literally started an avalanche off Mount Everest.

Graphics - 9

With modern-day systems, graphics have become quite a pressing issue. And we are not disappointed by Heavy Rain with its stimulating visuals.

Sound - 9

Heavy Rain has a soundtrack that perfectly matches the events playing out on screen and strikes a chord in the heart of many.

Game play - 9

The game play style is unique and is quite demanding. There are quite a few difficult quick-time events throughout the game that will be challenging to even the most expert players if they aren't in tip-top condition.

Current Stability - 10

Heavy Rain has been out for a while, so we'd assume that any bugs would be ironed out by now.

Lasting Appeal - 7

With 22 endings, this game has quite a large amount of lasting appeal. However, once you do get to the end ... it ruins the surprise for future play-throughs, hence the lower score.

Comments

Review Score
9.4

Mature

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

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