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Review: Heavy Rain - PS3

by Steven Williamson on 15 February 2010, 17:52

Tags: Heavy Rain (PS3), Sony Computers Entertainment Europe (NYSE:SNE), Action/Adventure

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qav46

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A dark, emotional thriller where decisions can have dramatic consequences

Heavy Rain isn’t your standard video game. Quantic Dream’s film-noir style mystery is an interactive, story-driven thriller, with a slow-paced narrative that unravels itself like a tightly wound ball of string.

The story focuses on the hunt for a serial killer known as the origami killer. You play the game from the viewpoint of four different characters whose lives are affected by the killer, including a Private Detective on the hunt for his whereabouts and a father of two who believes his son is a victim of the killer. To elaborate much more on this would do great injustice to the storytellers and those who intend on playing Heavy Rain, but suffice to say it's a plot full of twists and turns with plenty of moments full of tension and emotion. Furthermore, your destiny is shaped entirely by you.

Heavy Rain is all about player choice. As well as deciding which way a conversation goes -- and even the tone of it -- you can also interact with the environment around you by using the analog stick, or following a series of on-screen prompts to carry out a variety of tasks. Interactive actions include everything from opening a fridge door or going to the toilet, to turning the key in your car or taking a puff on your inhaler. The motion sensing capabilities of the SixAxis controller have also been put to us and you’ll find yourself in some situations where you may have to thrust it in an upwards motion to get out of bed or flick it to the side while driving to avoid an oncoming car.

In Heavy Rain you live your characters lives and are offered the freedom to sit back and watch TV, or grab yourself a coffee in between bouts of NPC interaction and investigations into the identity of the killer. Along the journey you need to respond to situations via scripted Quick Time Events, which include fight sequences and a chase through a crowded shopping centre on the tail of a suspect.

Heavy Rain takes interaction to a whole new level where you fully control your character’s destiny, even deciding on your personality traits, choosing to be aggressive in conversation or possess a calm, confident attitude. There’s no definitive answer, no set pathway to its conclusion. You can die and you will have decisions to make that really do have an impact on the way this story plays out.

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Heavy Rain is an experiment in interactive story-telling. Let's see if it paid off...

Gameplay Impressions overleaf...