Back when Heavy Rain first came out, I didn’t have a PlayStation 3. But despite that, I still tried to keep track of the game and what people were saying about it. I ended up coming to the conclusion that Heavy Rain was something different; a game that everyone should play at least once, even if it ended up being horrible in terms of its story (foreshadowing!).
Now, two years later and with a PS3 to call my own, I finally picked up (and finished) Heavy Rain. If you’ve played it before, you can probably guess what I have to say about it, but feel free to stick around anyway.
Also: Jason! Shaun! That’s still funny, right?
The Good Times
I didn’t expect it to happen as quickly as it did, but I really got into the story of Heavy Rain. I’m also a bit of a sucker for games that have multiple characters whose stories are somewhat related or run parallel to each other; so maybe that’s why it didn’t take long for me to sit back and enjoy the story. Out of all of the characters though, I found Jayden to be the most interesting if only because of his Detective Mode. Sure, the ARI seemed a bit out of place at first, but it was one of those things I didn’t dwell on. When he started freaking out and seeing things due to his overuse of the ARI, I knew that this was a character I wanted to see more of. Still, as interesting as Jayden was, I found that Madison was my favorite. Why? Because she wasn’t obliged to do anything. She wasn’t a victim of the killer or a cop out to catch him, she was a journalist looking for a story who just so happened to stumble across Ethan. She herself even says at one point that she’s always been in that ‘Guardian Angel’ role since she was a kid.
Overall, I did come to enjoy all of the playable characters, not that they played differently or anything, but because they all had different goals. Shelby and Jayden may have both been looking for clues, but they had different methods of getting what they wanted. One can also fight better than the other.
Hint: Not the guy that brings a wrench to a gun fight.
Another aspect of the game I didn’t foresee myself liking, but I did anyway, was the Quick Time Event style of gameplay. To me, it didn’t come off as a “Quick! Hit this button before time runs out and you fail and die and have to start over again!” type of setup. All you had to do was hit the button or move the right stick in the correct motion before time ran out. And even if you did screw it up, the scene kept going. If you were supposed to block a punch, but you messed up, you don’t instantly fail. Instead you take the punch and react.
I also think the different ways in which you had to interact with the buttons and sticks on the controller made playing the game feel different enough from a generic QTE as well. Sure, you have your one button presses and your press the button repeatedly moments, but how often do you find yourself having to press and hold 2+ buttons while moving the right analog stick or the whole controller? It’s been a while since I’ve had to hold down two face buttons with one thumb and hope my hand doesn’t start to hurt.
The Bad Times (Spoilers Ahoy!)
And now we descend into madness.
Okay, yeah, the voice acting isn’t that great and takes some getting used to; but if you never got used to it, I couldn’t blame you. For about the first hour or so of the game, I didn’t think that Ethan’s voice matched his face. And when he’s calling out for his son Jason (and later Shaun), I couldn’t help but think, “Dude, really? That’s the tone you’re going with?” In fact, the audio used when Ethan first loses Shaun and later when he finally finds him are the exact same. Go ahead a check. Or don’t, it’s cool.
Speaking of Jason, was I supposed to feel bad for him? Because him getting hit by a car was his own damn fault. What kid has his parent(s) buy him a balloon and then decides to go wandering off to the point that he leaves the mall? Oh, and he seemed to be ignoring his dad too, because there’s no way he didn’t hear Ethan yelling for him. Screw Jason!
Screw Jason AND that Clown!
There’s also my issue with the walking in the game. As in, it’s way more complicated than it should be. If you want a player to walk around and explore the area a lot, use the left analog stick to do it; don’t add in an extra step. It’s like telling someone to open a door, but they have to put the doorknob in it first (Just kick the door down, it’s much easier). I mean, it was bad enough that the characters walk like they don’t have anywhere to be, but now I have to fight with the controls.
But those two things are nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to what comes several hours into the game. If you’ve got any intention of playing Heavy Rain in the near future, you’re welcome to stop reading. If you already know what happens in the game or don’t give a crap about spoilers then, hey, awesome. Have a seat, friend. Pour yourself a drink.
It’s on the house.
The reveal of the Origami Killer is dumb. Like, ’I can’t believe you tried to pass that off’ dumb. I was fine with one of the playable characters being the killer; hell, I expected it (Ethan!). I was willing to sit and watch the game explain to me how Scott Shelby could be the killer, but then the game showed me Scott killing Manfred and didn’t allude to Scott have multiple personalities or something. There’s no way in crap that Scott could’ve killed Manfred because I was Scott Shelby when that happened. I was staring him right in the face when he thought, “Hmm, that old guy’s been gone for a while. Better go check up on him.” And at what point does the game hint at Shelby being the killer? It doesn’t. You can basically read the dude’s mind and not once does he think “I hope no one finds out about that thing I did” or “I wonder how that kid’s doing” or “Maybe I shouldn’t fall in love with one of my victim’s mothers!” If Scott had an alter ego he didn’t know about then that would’ve explained why he never thought of himself being the Origami Killer, but, as we all know, that wasn’t the case.
By the way, why does Scott use rainwater to drown his victims when his Asthma only seems to get bad when it rains? What kind of sense does that make?!
The Unexplainables (More Spoilers?)
Oh, you have no idea.
Oh yeah, Heavy Rain gets a new section in The Catch-Up! This is a list of things I didn’t think of until after I started trying to wrap my mind around Scott Shelby being the killer, things like:
What did Ethan do during his blackouts?
Whatever happened to Madison’s Insomnia?
Where did Jayden’s ARI tech come from and what’s with the Triptocaine he seems to be addicted to?
How could Madison call Jayden to tell him who the Origami Killer is and where Shaun is when they’ve never met? How does she know Ethan’s number?
Whatever happened to Ethan’s Ex-Wife? Did Shaun say, “Screw you, you didn’t save me. I’m living with Dad!”?
Why did Shelby stop being a cop? You know, aside from him being a killer and all that.
Why would Shelby save the Convenience Store Owner, the Mother who slit her wrists, and Lauren even though they’re all parents of his victims?
Why is Blake such a prick?
What’s the deal with Kramer and his son?
Where’s Scott’s dad? Was his Mother really suffering from memory loss?
There are probably many other things that I haven’t even thought of, but I think I’ve said enough about Heavy Rain at this point. It’s been several days since I finished it and I can’t really bring myself to play through it a second time; as much of a Trophy Junkie as I may be. Feel free to add your own complaints though; I’d love to hear what else was left unsaid.
Actually, don’t tell me, I’m almost over my disappointment with Heavy Rain. Let’s not get upset over it again. Deal?
Kyree didn't have an N64 or Dreamcast as a kid (so sad) and he doesn't remember finishing any of his PlayStation games, but skip to the PS2/GC/Xbox era and everything changed. He hasn't been outside to play tag in forever, but he can recall playing way too much Smash Bros. and even more Kingdom Hearts; seriously, he can recite lines from it. I think he may have a problem.
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Back when Heavy Rain first came out, I didn’t have a PlayStation 3. But despite that, I still tried to keep track of the game and what people were saying about it. I ended up coming to the conclusion that Heavy Rain was something different; a game that everyone should play at least once, even if i