David Cage is not a game designer I particularly like because he doesn’t really design his games as games, but more like interactive films. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if they were written and directed well but they’re not with one exception and that is Heavy Rain. This game is a tense roller coaster ride of emotions and keeps you hooked from beginning to end so let’s talk about why it’s good.
Heavy Rain is a murder mystery surrounding a killer known as the origami killer who targets young children and leaves small origami figures as his mark to warn people what he is capable of. The game has a slow start and it did turn me off the game for a few weeks because the start of the game is slow and boring, however I now see why they had this intro showing the main character Ethan Mars’s mundane life as it sets up what is to come and you see the bond he has with his family before it all goes to hell.
The narrative in this game is fantastic with its dark and twisted themes with the serial killer taunting Ethan throughout the story and that scene when you can choose to cut your own finger off is intense when you hear every crunch.
Gameplay is rather simple you walk around an environment exploring for clues to help you with the mystery, however sometimes it can be a bit boring as some segments see your character bumbling about like an idiot and it kills the pace. The gameplay isn’t deep it just consists of walking around and quicktime events, but this evokes the old days of the point and click adventures so I wasn’t expecting anything mind blowing as it is at the end of the day an interactive story. There are parts where you take control of a FBI agent who has a set of glasses that can analyse crime scenes and transport him into his own world, they’re basically VR googles and it’s a bit odd and takes me out of the grounded nature of the game.
Visually the game looks great the rain effects that are present throughout the entire game look great even by today’s standards as it shows up on character’s clothes etc. The character models are a bit hit or miss as some of them look a bit too clean and drab where others have great details such as blemishes and wrinkles, I know this came out on PS3 6 years ago but there are games that came out that still look good from that period.
The major problem I have with this game are the controls, let’s get one thing straight game developers left stick controls the characters movement and right stick controls the camera. How this game lets you control the character is by holding R2 while using the left to change direction, the last time I checked I wasn’t playing a racing game. It’s really annoying and I found myself going in one direction that I intended to go and then walking back the other way when the camera angle changes which made me want to bite my controller in frustration.
Heavy Rain is a great game despite the slow intro and the annoying control scheme it is a genuine murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the end of the game. Go out and get it, it’s really cheap on PS3 or if you want it in a higher resolution you can buy it on its own digitally or get it in a double pack on PS4 with Beyond: Two Souls.