Sunday, June 10, 2012

Heavy Rain Review

Heavy Rain

“How far would you go to save someone you love?” That’s the tagline for Heavy Rain, a psychological thriller developed by Quantic Dream. The game poses a question that many of us take for granted. I am a victim of this and I am willing to bet many of you are as well. Heavy Rain is the kind of game that challenges you to stop and ask yourself; how far am I willing to go to help a loved one?

What Heavy Rain manages to do well is tell a strong narrative through its gameplay. It does this by using a gesture-based control scheme so that you can really empathize with the characters you control. In the game, you set out to save a young boy who has been kidnapped. The beauty of the game is that all of the decisions you make throughout the game really matter. Making bad decisions could be life threatening; so if a character should perish in Heavy Rain, they are not playable for the remainder of the game. It completely throws out the tried and true “Game Over” screen out of the window and forces you to really think before you act. The one area where the game falls short is in its difficulty, if you are playing reckless and without regard for your decisions, the game is pretty lenient and allows room to rebound from the mistakes. This can be remedied by playing on a higher difficulty setting however.

Heavy Rain Gameplay Trailer

Heavy Rain has been received well by critics and varies in success with players. This is true for several reasons: the adult themes, the change in theme from the plethora of FPS (First-Person Shooters) that flood the market, and its sophisticated controls that add a deep sense of panic to the gameplay. One thing to note however is the completion rate of the game. The developers have revealed it to be 70% as opposed to the 20% completion rate of other games on the market. Quantic Dream set out to challenge players to play a different type of game, with moral themes and a thought provoking narrative. This undoubtedly lead led to its “M” rating. The main audience for this title is adults who are willing to accept the challenge and ready to embark on a journey not much unlike the ones we live daily.

I think this game should be experienced by anyone who appreciates an engaging narrative. It can be appreciated, not only gamers, but also fans of cinema and other forms of narrative entertainment.  Heavy Rain is an important game because we are all sons and daughters, sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers. Above all else we are people and whether we admit to it or not, we effect one another on several levels- be it a small interaction at the local supermarket or a life changing event- we have an impact on each other's lives.

Heavy Rain does what many other games fail to do. It leaves you contemplating your everyday life choices; how you interact with people, the way others view you and the connections formed with the people you meet. It forces you to question yourself and many aspects of your being, it can also strengthen your beliefs of the way people should be treated. Either way Heavy Rain is an experience meant to challenge you mentally and dares you to answer the question: How far would you go to save someone you love?

Did you play Heavy Rain? If so what do you think of the game?