Not So Heavy Rain: Lots O’ Rain

By Kieron Gillen on March 4th, 2010 at 8:14 am.

I did a similar thing to this in my Amiga version of Alone In the Dark. Which is a story I've probably already told, so I won't bore you.

After all the hype, you’re probably a little sad you can’t play Heavy Rain on the PC. But now, thanks to Alex Austin of Cryptic Sea, you can. No, really. He’s done another game. “It’s a text-based adventure tightly-based on a Youtube video I watched of Heavy Rain,” he says helpfully. You can get it from here. And in a rare moment of fairness, here’s Phill Cameron saying why he dug the hell out of Heavy Rain which is an exciting game for the PS… wait! We’ve been duped! It’s a Trap! EJECT! EJECT!

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102 Comments »

  1. Jeeva says:

    What is Grace Slick doing there…

    Also: this game is one of the few things that makes me feel something close to wanting a PS3. Darned exclusive deal things.

    Edit: Would like to point out- still don’t really want a PS3.

  2. Risingson says:

    You are against the gaming revolution! Bunch of conservative gamers!

    Cage is the only designer who understood that drinking water is good for the spirit. And since Fascination no one dare to do an explotation game with such elegance *cough*

  3. Vinraith says:

    OK, I guess I’ll be the one to ask. What’s Heavy Rain?

    I’m somewhat startled to realize my sources of game news have become so PC-centric that an apparently major console release flew right over my head without my noticing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen it mentioned, but I’ve no idea what it is nor why it’s a big deal.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      David Cage (Fahrenheit)’s new one. Similarly narrative-lead stuff. Read Phill’s review, basically, and he explains it.

      KG

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kieron

      Thanks.

      Having read over the review I’m a bit confused. Is this expected to be a commercial success, or just a critical darling? It has all the marks of the latter, but doesn’t look that promising as the former.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Vinraith: God knows, really. It did get Number 1 i the UK. But then again, so did Fahrenheit, I believe.

      KG

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kieron

      Now there’s an indicator of the vast differences between the US and UK game markets if ever I heard one. I don’t think Indigo Prophecy made any kind of splash over here.

      Anyway, based on the review and a couple of trailers I just watched, I get the distinct sense that Mr. Austin may well have accurately captured the experience.

    • Pemptus says:

      Youtube is your friend if you need an idea on how something, anything, works or looks. Apart from watching official trailers, of course, as those tend to be misleading at times.

    • Dante says:

      From what I gather it’s actually sold surprisingly well on both sides of the pond, although I don’t think anyone expected it to.

      I found this video astonishing:

      http://www.gametrailers.com/video/exclusive-mall-heavy-rain/61347

    • Psychopomp says:

      It’s basically just the natural evolution of Indigo Prophecy, without the batshit insanity of the second half.

    • Clovis says:

      Did Indigo Prophecy deserve to make any kind of splash over here though? I somewhat enjoyed it, but I’m an adventure game fan so I can easily overlook awful lines, the occasional bad puzzle, timed puzzles, pointless QTEs, etc. But why would the average consumer? Considered as a whole, the game just wasn’t very good.

    • Dante says:

      I adore Fahrenheit, it might have done many things wrong, but the first third is absolutely spectacular, and touches things most games don’t even think about going near.

      It’s deficiencies are arguably a result of it trying to be more like other games, not less.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Clovis

      Not from what I could tell, no. I watched some trailers, I dimly recall trying a demo (was there a demo?), and ultimately decided to pass on it because it didn’t look like my kind of game. This doesn’t either.

      I just think the whole thing’s sort of academically interesting. This is certainly a very rarefied kind of game, it’s curious to me that it has any mass appeal at all.

    • Thirith says:

      @Vinraith: You’ve definitely got a point, but in any medium the more out-there, avantgarde stuff acts as a trailblazer for more mainstream stuff, which adopts and adapts the innovative elements. In that respect, the entire spectrum, from the most mainstream title to the most pretentious, artsy, who-cares-about-fun indie title, is necessary to enrich the medium.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Thirith

      Indeed, I’m not trying to argue that it doesn’t have value. I’m just surprised that a game like this can find commercial success, and even more surprised that said commercial success is on a console.

  4. Mister Yuck says:

    So, um, have Quantic Dreams learned to write yet? Because last time they tried to tell a story in a game, they failed because they couldn’t write. I’m not talking about the ending here, I didn’t make to the weird stuff.

    • Mister Yuck says:

      Hmmm, I criticize someone’s writing and then I leave out a pronoun. Poetic justice?

    • Hippo says:

      Short answer: no.

    • neems says:

      And the answer is… no.

      The opening (it goes far beyond an introduction) is dull and overlong, and is marred by what I would imagine are translation problems. It seems apparent that the dialogue has been written by somebody whose first language is not English. It all makes sense, it just sounds a little odd at times

      “Your dinner is ready. Come.” Or my personal favourite, “It is time for your snack… would you like a snack? Here is your snack.”

      For a while in the middle it actually becomes rather engrossing, and you keep plowing (ploughing?) on to find out what happens, and it even seems like the stilted dialogue disappears (possibly I simply got used to it). Unfortunately after a certain point the story just becomes utterly absurd. Scenes / characters make no sense or act in bizarre ways, and I just found it increasingly frustrating / laughable.

      It’s an interesting game, and well worth a rent or borrow, but I’m glad I didn’t buy it. With a better story, and some proper editing and translation, it could have been so much better. It was a good reveal though, finding out who the Origami Killer was (although it rendered at least one entire sub plot meaningless).

    • Rinox says:

      @ Neems:

      “Your dinner is ready. Come.”

      That does sound like a very clunky translation from French, so you’re probably right about that.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve learned to trust Teletext Central lately (which I frankly hadn’t expected) when it comes to game reviews, as they tend not to pull any punches, and I frequently agree with them more than any other gaming source.

      “Flat and unimaginative writing accompanied by bad voice-acting,” they said.

      “Ah,” I replied, rubbing my chin, “all that stuff about it being a game for intelligent, mature audience was fluff, then.”

      “Well, unless you consider nudey French women that kind of mature. So we’re giving this one a 40.”

      – Edited as I wanted to add something. –

      On the other end of the spectrum, we have Penny Arcade’s Gabe going on about how this is one of the most important games in the history of gaming, and how you won’t get anything out of it unless you’re a dad, and how it makes you want to hug children.

      Of course, I’ve been seeing mainstream journalists going on about being a dad ever since BioShock 2, and it’s only gotten worse since then. 2K, did you find away to hack people or something? You should really turn it off, now, whatever kind of machine you’re using.

      It was fitting for BioShock 2, but now it’s getting slightly scary, like the earthquakes all over the world kind of scary.

  5. Benny says:

    This textual adventure needs to be played while listening to

  6. Benny says:

    Fail

    …Chocolate Rain by Tay Zonday

  7. halfthought says:

    Hasn’t the game industry moved forward since nineteen eighty one SO MUCH GAIS?

    fuck my life ~_~

  8. Daniel Klein says:

    I do have a PS3, but ever since the roommate moved his TV from the living room to his room, it’s been gathering dust (so that is about 8 months of very expensive dust-gathering). I have no intention of buying a TV, but for this and a few small things on PSN I’ve been considering to go to the trouble of figuring out how to hook up the console to my PC monitor and boxes. The friend who made me buy a PS3 in the first place (back then for Burnout, which came to the PC not very long after I’d bought a PS3 for it) is loving Heavy Rain.

    I know I’ll be tarred and feathered for admitting to owning a console here, but I feel that after playing quite a bit of PS3 (100h of Burnout Paradise, according to Criterion’s website, and about as many hours of CivRev, plus probably a good dozen hours of LittleBigPlanet) my PC loyalty is a little more objective. Yes, I’ve known all along that keyboard and mouse are better controls for about EVERYTHING, yes I’ve assumed that sitting close the monitor in a comfy chair instead of half-sunk into a sofa, miles from the TV is much better, but now, gents, I’ve returned from the other side, and now I *know*.

    • oceanclub says:

      [quote]“David Cage himself admits the writing isn’t great in this game (nor is it the important part). Whats important about this game is that makes a big finaicial splash and lets publishers feel they can take a few more big risks with game-narrative storytelling and hit it big in the mainstream”[/quote]

      Writing isn’t important in a narrative storytelling game?

      *blink* *blink*

      P.

    • Wulf says:

      Writing is necessary to compel the player and provide immersion, and therefore decent writing is a necessary element for any game that wishes to have the player taking part in a story, like Heavy Rain seems to. And moreover, there’s no excuse for a lack of decent writing, is there? Star Guard managed to achieve literary greatness in a few bloody lines, somehow, I don’t know how, it’s confusing, but it did! So having writing that actually matters in a game isn’t hard, it’s not some world-shattering effort.

      Can we tar and feather Cage, now? Tar him, feather him, then petition France to take his game making rights away and force those rights into the hands of Adeline!

  9. Legandir says:

    There is a demo for heavy rain on the PC

  10. Yehat says:

    Why am I not surprised? From the little I’ve seen and heard, Heavy Rain seems pretty much like Photopia with shiny graphics and more murders. (Is it?)

    • Risingson says:

      That’s a big LOL over here for the Photopia reference, not for being absurd. But no. The difference, as suggested above, is that Photopia was well written, and that’s something Quantic Dream still has to learn, because the dramatic moments in their games simply don’t work at all.

    • Ozzie says:

      Wow, congratulations, you realized that both games are all about the story, that both focus their gameplay mechanics just to tell one, and that you switch between various characters while playing.
      They’re so similar for that, aren’t they? :-/

    • Yehat says:

      I’m just asking is Heavy Rain as railroaded as its predecessor Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy?

      Actually I didn’t ever think about the shifting viewpoints and stuff with the Photopia comparison, just the practice of limiting all player input (or even telling directly what he should type/press to continue with the pre-planned scene) in order to avoid having to figure out any innovative ways to combine strong narrative with even an illusion of free thought.

    • fuggles says:

      When do you honestly get free thought powering a narrative in a video game? There are always going to be a limited selection of things and the higher the amount of player options the lesser the payoff – Dragon Age or the Fallouts for example have lots of ways they can play out but the details are all revealed as text, which I can’t see being a satisfactory ending to Hard Rain.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well there are plenty of IFs that go further in many ways such as A Mind Forever Voyaging or [film noir themed game whose name I can't remember but that lets you get away with more or less anything] both of which are more about exploration than puzzles.

      I really think Photopia is heavily over rated with its lack of characters, dull locations, brief length and the fact the ending was taken from the Neverending Story. I think there were much better story lead games like [game whose name I've forgotten but was linked to on RPS by Kieron where you play as a school boy overcoming his apathy] or Spider and the Web which is one of very few games to make me punch the air and yell “Video games can be art! Bitches!”. Then there’s Galatea.

      The main problem with IFs are their perpetually broken parsers. IF (sic) only IF writers could be teamed with decent point and click developers. Sort of like Trilby’s Notes but better.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      “I’m just asking is Heavy Rain as railroaded as its predecessor Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy?”

      More or less. I mean, you’re basically playing out a predetermined narrative, or rather, an array of closely related narratives among which you pick and choose via your actions. At any given moment your available actions are strictly limited. Sometimes in ways that make it so it might as well be a cut scene (eg getting into and and starting a car) – those bits aren’t so hot. At other times it’s much more effective, and you’re making meaningful choices between limited options, or succeeding/failing at a given task in a way that takes you down a different narrative path.

      Thankfully, there’s none of the Sims-esque need satisfaction stuff that plagued Fahrenheit.

  11. Yargh says:

    Phill gets things exactly right in his review. The game itself is all about making choices, proposing far more options than the traditional adventure game.

    The only problem is that making many of these choices has the appearance of failing at a task that is set for you, and gamers really really hate to fail.

    The game itself is closest to those old ‘choose your adventure’ books some of us will have played many years ago, which is no bad thing in my mind as it is far less linear than almost any other (non procedurally generated/random number) game I have ever touched.

    • Lambchops says:

      The way to solve that problem is not to signpost the fact that “this is a choice guys, and look one of the outcomes is pretty bad, oh no you fail!” See Deus Ex and Paul. First time I played that game Paul told me to get th hell out of there. So I did, doing what Paul said was, in my mind, the right thing to do. that’s how to handle that sort of situation – it’s impossible to find out that the choice was a “failure” till you either replay the game or talk to someone else about it.

      Also I’d love for a developer to have the balls to release a game with such choices without mentioning it on the back of the box or in the hype for the game. Just leave it all a big suprise and rely on the actual game as a selling point. That would be awesome, I’d love to play a game talk to someone about it and realise their experience was radically different but equally valid as mine.

      —-

      Also I have always wanted to play Heavy Rain. Silly PS3 exclusivity.

    • Dante says:

      Reading Phil’s review gives me the impression that most people will play it through once as a game (going for the win), and then multiple times as if they’re scripting a film (choosing which character they want to succeed most etc). I could certainly see myself doing that.

    • Wulf says:

      The thing that bothers me about Heavy Rain is that people are praising it for being an adventure game with choices, it isn’t a game with free choice, so let’s not even go there, but it’s a game that puts choices in the hands of the players and provides consequences.

      What bothers me about Heavy Rain is that the choices are so poorly written that I can’t be arsed to get involved with them, and that they bullet-point the choices as a game feature when RPGs have been doing this since the dawn of the genre. Even in something like Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft you have the power to make decisions about your environment, and sometimes there are consequences for bad choices.

      The Fallout games handled choice beautifully too, with many ways being provided to handle something, it was quite intriguing to watch. Then there were those Bethesda games, which also offered choice, they weren’t great but at least they did have some kind of feeling of free will, there. In Neverwinter Nights modules where you had a DM, you could do almost anything and the DM would have to react to that and provide consequences for the players, this was amazing stuff, and multiplayer mods were the best thing about Neverwinter NIghts.

      As time went on, we saw games better able to show the consequences of choices, Knights of the Old Republic II and Mask of the Betrayer were fantastic examples of games that got the balance right, wherein choices are provided to the player that lead to very obvious outcomes on the story, and can lead to variously different endings. This was the height of this sort of thing, but later games such as Mass Effect 1/2 did a pretty good job of it too, it was a shame it required a sequel for some of the things that Mask of the Betrayer did in one game, but I am not begrudging it for that, and I loved the Mass Effect games, I’m looking forward to Mass Effect 3.

      So what did Heavy Rain do, really? It’s an adventure game with shallow writing, and instead of RPG systems for conflict, it has quick-time events. Lots of quick-time events. Everywhere with the bloody quick-time events. If I wanted a game of choice and consequences without the RPG elements, I’d just play a text adventure, and despite not having graphics, I feel that there are a lot of text adventures that do what Heavy Rain is trying to do better than Heavy Rain.

      So what does Heavy Rain achieve?

      Accessibility.

      It’s a text adventure with QTE and graphics, but the writing isn’t as good as the vast majority of text adventures (or interactive fiction, if you like) out there. This is why it’s going to seem great to anyone who hasn’t followed the IF scene, but to me, eh… this could’ve been something special if it was an adventure game written by Ragnar which had choices, but hm, no, it’s Cage. Then again, there is that Secret World thing onthe horizon, which I’m very curious about…

  12. Dante says:

    I am so, so desperate to play Heavy Rain, but I simply cannot afford a PS3, nor do I know anyone with one.

    I think it’s a sad statement on the game industry that something that could potentially be an artistic watershed for the medium is inaccessible to so many of us.

  13. the wiseass says:

    I found it absolutely hilarious that you had to play a quick time event to take of your panties, take a shower, dry your hair and that in the end you could fail the quicktime event of putting your panties on again. It would leave the protagonist standing there desperately struggling with his panties.

    Now THAT’s what I call gaming innovation.
    Apparently consoles have evolved backwards.

    • Wulf says:

      Heh, exactly.

      Heavy Rain – Interactive Fiction:

      > take panties

      You pick up the panties.

      > wear panties

      You carefully slip on the panties.

      Heavy Rain – Graphic Adventure:

      > *presses a chain of pad controls.*

      You pick up the panties.

      > *presses a slightly different chain of pad controls.*

      You carefully slip on the panties.

      Someone needs to make a IF of Heavy Rain, because it would actually be better. Might have decent writing, too.

    • morbug says:

      @the wiseass

      What? Each of those things require one motion or keypress. Putting panties on: Pull down on right stick. Putting top on: Pull up on right stick. No way you can fail at this. I think you’re exaggerating slightly.

  14. the wiseass says:

    I found it absolutely hilarious that you had to play a quick time event to take of your panties, take a shower, dry your hair and that in the end you could fail the quicktime event of putting your panties on again. It would leave the protagonist standing there desperately trying to get his panties on.

    Now THAT’s what I call gaming innovation.
    Apparently consoles have evolved backwards.

    • Risingson says:

      Conservative!

    • Lewis says:

      A lot of people don’t seem to dig the mundane stuff. Not played HR yet, due to NOT HAVING A PS3 SOMEONE BUY ME ONE PLEASE, but in Fahrenheit I thought they worked incredibly well.

    • Risingson says:

      In Fahrenheit WHAT? Fahrenheit, after the wonderful introductuion, was a complete disaster. The quicktime events didn’t allow you to see what happened, and what happened was just a mess, not campy enough, not serious enough, just unbalanced. And the part where you were did “rutine” things were, simply, boring. They didn’t add anything, they weren’t fun, they didn’t feel natural, nothing. It was like a FMV game horribly designed.

    • Lewis says:

      I thought they worked really well as a sort of character connection mechanism. I wasn’t hugely taken by the necessity to eat, drink, shower etc, but some of the scenes where you were just sitting around drinking wine, or playing the guitar to impress your missus, were actually really lovely.

    • Lewis says:

      You’re right, though: by the end, the whole thing had descended into something pretty terrible. The journey there was interesting, though.

      On balance, I preferred Nomad Soul.

    • Wulf says:

      I liked Fahrenheit because it was absolutely insane, it goes from one thing to the next like someone tripping on a particularly bad hallucinogen, and it never really recovers. There was something appealing to that downward spiral, it was quite funny, it even involved necrotic sex (which made me laugh), and I was able to forgive it for some of its sins because of that.

      I can’t say I liked a lot of the way it handled things, either. Those QTE Simon Says sections I was pretty good at but I actually had to watch them in the unlocks because I definitely couldn’t follow the action by watching the screen. And I constantly had this nagging sensation in my head that this would’ve been far better as a B-movie, a B-movie with bad special effects.

      So it pressed the B-movie button in my brain. I loved Fahrenheit for being an absolutely horrible B-movie, where it was so bad that it was good. And it seems that this is what many people loved about Fahrenheit, over all the other elements. Or at least, it seems that’s what the critics liked. Whereas Heavy Rain tries not to be a B-movie, but the problem is that Quantic Dream only know how to write a B-movie, so it tries hard to be decent, but it’s laughable, and I end up feeling guilty for laughing, because it’s really not at all funny. Whereas Fahrenheit seemed to encourage my laughter. “Okay, let’s have floaty Kung-fu atop this building with a guy in a cape and cowel! WHEEEE! Hahahahaha.” And that’s why I liked Fahrenheit, not sure about anyone else.

      But for what they were trying to do with Heavy Rain… they’d need better writing and less QTEs.

  15. Ginger Yellow says:

    I played about three hours of it yesterday (in between hitting level 11 in 1v1 CoH for the first time – woohoo!) and I’m really, really digging it. It’s a bit slow to start (deliberately so, to be fair), and it is clunky in parts, but it’s really emotionally engaging in a way that few games are. I think it was Tom Chick who was complaining about how there aren’t any games about parenting (Sims aside). Well, Heavy Rain is a game about being a parent, in the fullest sense. To the extent that I can imagine it being difficult/painful to play for parents of young children. Funnily enough, Tom seems to hate Heavy Rain. Which is fair enough. The gameplay isn’t for everyone.

    “The game itself is closest to those old ‘choose your adventure’ books some of us will have played many years ago”

    Absolutely. With quick time events and awesome graphics. And while that may sound horrible, I think it actually works well for the most part. They do a decent job of mapping the required inputs to represent the action in some way, and at times it genuinely does add to the immersion. I don’t want to spoil anything but in the moments of tense action so far, the QTEs have defintely been a positive. My only complaint is that the face button prompts during dialogue are too indistinct (and they’re often deliberately blurred or shaky), so it’s easy to make a choice you didn’t mean to make.

    “The way to solve that problem is not to signpost the fact that “this is a choice guys, and look one of the outcomes is pretty bad, oh no you fail!””

    For the most part, they don’t. I mean, there are some obvious “get out of the way of the car” moments, but there are also a lot of situations where both options look pretty bad going into the situation, but neither will “fail” you. Or where both seem reasonable, but one provokes an unwelcome reaction. Crucially, you have no idea at the time (unless it isn’t your first playthrough, obviously).

    • Lambchops says:

      That sounds great to me and increases my mild irritation that this is a PS3 exclusive to levels of normal irritation. I might even be irked – I just can’t tell yet.

  16. Butler` says:

    It’s a pretty special game all things told. It had 5 of us (two complete non-gamers) hooked for 4-5 straight. It’s easily just as fun to watch as to play.

  17. DRM is fail says:

    –Sudden Interruption—

    I would just like to say Ubifails DRM has been cracked and it is now official that the idiot companies employing DRM will only annoy the crap out of legitimate buyers and not even remotely disturb pirates.

    http://www.infoaddict.com/ubisofts-new-drm-cracked-in-under-25-hours

    What a surprising, unexpected outcome.

    –cut here—

  18. Dominic White says:

    David Cage is the only man with the drive and resources to go back to the much-maligned Interactive Movie genre and attempt to revive it, and this time do it *right*.

    Dude has guts, no question about it.

    • Risingson says:

      And influences and money, no question about it.

      I will buy the ps3 in a few days just for this game.

    • Bhazor says:

      The fact such a strange game received so much attention by the press, so many resources from the publisher and then went on to sell so well is a wonderful thing. It’s just a shame the game itself isn’t.

    • Mungrul says:

      @Risingson:
      Buy a PS3 for Heavy Rain; keep it for Demon’s Souls. By far and away the best game on the console.

    • Risingson says:

      Well, to be honest, I will keep it for the bluray multimedia capabilities of the PS3: the menus are elegant, easy, understandable, and with the playtv we could throw the complicated, unmanageable, un-standard, unreliable and bulky LG dvd-recorder out of the window :)

    • neems says:

      No no. I insist you buy Demon’s Souls, it is truly the dog’s whotsits.

      It is a good bluray player as well though.

  19. ilurker says:

    This is literally the best thing the internet has ever produced.

  20. scundoo says:

    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/exclusive-mall-heavy-rain/61347

    Wow, so you get to play a straight to DVD film on your PS3!

    • RobF says:

      Only without Brian Dennehey :(

    • Bhazor says:

      “so you get to play a straight to DVD film”

      That is the big problem of Heavy Rain. It’s just so badly written and acted and steals so much from other films (particulary Saw) that if it was a film it would be rightly panned. The fact I’m terrified by the facial animation doesn’t help.

    • fuggles says:

      Wow…that’s some truly terrible parenting. “Wait there son. Wait there. Meh”.

      I begin to see what people mean about it being a straight to DVD film, but I can’t help watching it and thinking that I want to see how the scenarios all play out. To be fair to it, games at best have always been sub-par in terms of acting (what with humans having something of a leg-up in that uncanny valley) and this seems at the higher end.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Bizarre that in a game all about narrative the voice acting and dialogue are so bad.

      The animation is pretty shonky too. I’ll probably still end up buying it, if only for the novelty of something a bit different.

    • Wulf says:

      @fuggles

      Thank you.

      That’s engaging for a parent? Really? :/

      I’m worried by the people who are enthralled by this game. It’s shocking. Please kids, don’t pick up parenting habits from games like this. Or from James G and his Little Sister slaughtering ways. Neither stands as a particularly good role model, don’cha know.

      (Disclaimer: Yes, I’m just teasing.)

  21. fuggles says:

    Problem with signposting is that my understanding is that this is a game where you can kill major characters and the game works around that. However, you know that you could have saved them so being a gamer you will try and reload to do it (or I would anyway). A lot will depend on the save mechanic to work around that as I like the idea a lot.

    On Giantbomb they mentioned that the designer chap insists people should only play the game once as otherwise the magic will be spoiled.

    Hope this comes to PC.

    • Lewis says:

      “On Giantbomb they mentioned that the designer chap insists people should only play the game once as otherwise the magic will be spoiled.”

      Everyone I know who’s played it a second time says the exact opposite: that it’s fascinating to see how you can do things differently to achieve different effects. How curious.

  22. Ginger Yellow says:

    I have to say, much though I love the game, I’m utterly baffled that it’s doing so well in the UK. I’ve not seen much advertising, it’s not a movie licence, and it’s not a football game. Apart from Wii shovelware, those are the main things that drive UK sales, it seems. And it’s a PS3 exclusive. So it’s pretty spectacular that it hit number one.

    • fuggles says:

      There’s loads of advertising on TV at 9pm ish. Normally a detective in a shop fighting off a guy with a shotgun. The excellent presentation and obvious interface really shows how you have to quickly make polarized decisions.

    • Fatchap says:

      It was also on the front cover of the Times’ Culture magazine a couple of weekends ago. That was the first I had heard of it; I was duly saddened that I was not on PC.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Fuggles: I’ve seen that ad a couple of times, but it’s been nothing (in my experience – maybe I don’t watch enough commercial telly) compared to the blanket campaigns of Mass Effect 2 or GTA IV or Uncharted 2 or countless Wii games.

      Fatchap – I hadn’t seen that. If it’s been getting that sort of coverage in the mainstream press, that would explain a lot. I saw it got a story in the New York Times, but I hadn’t seen anything comparable in the British press.

  23. catweazle says:

    This is quite a big improvement over Heavy Rain, mainly because it allows you to wash your hands using the toilet.

  24. DMcCool says:

    All this reactionary nonsense gets me down. Yeah, as gamers we are used to everything being straightfoward and about winning, so when we get a game that isn’t we make fun of it? David Cage himself admits the writing isn’t great in this game (nor is it the important part). Whats important about this game is that makes a big finaicial splash and lets publishers feel they can take a few more big risks with game-narrative storytelling and hit it big in the mainstream.

    I’ve only seen youtube videos and played the demo of Heavy Rain, but the fight scene in that was honestly the most excited I’d been by a single player action sequence since I was a child. The reason why? Not only where my reactions being tested in a semi-realistic manner but I if I DID fuck up the game would GO ON. Y’know, like in a real fight (and nothing like in any fight in any other game). Its the same innovation that Bioware are slowly (slowly) making more prominent in their games and that Dwarf Fortress is all about. Its the future, man. Maybe not of all games but they’ll be the ones I’m playing.

    • Wulf says:

      What bothers me is how over-the-top the people who support this game have been, to the point where it’s prophetic, and when things get prophetic they become grating.

      As for a fight that allows the player to continue on as normal: Gothic did that, every Gothic game did that, Risen did that, too. In those games, if a human or an orc handed on your arse to you, you could get up, learn from the fight and continue on, they might steal some stuff from you, but hey, that’s okay because once you’re stronger you can get your revenge and steal it right back (which is incredible)!

      And –

      Wait, I’ve just figured out why this game bothers me. It’s Shenmue, but worse! Shenmue was actually pretty decent because it had many of the things that Heavy Rain had going for it, but it actually did all of them better. Yes, you could lose a fight/QTE and continue on as normal, and yes, it was hilarious and fun in the way that Fahrenheit were. “Hm, I must avenge my father’s death. But here’s a toy machine! I’ll do it tomorrow. I think I’ll have another toy. Maybe I’ll have another. I think I’ll have one more. Maybe I’ll have another. [Hours pass.] Holy shit, is it morning already? I should get back to avenging my father!”

      I think Heavy Rain just wants to be Shenmue very badly, but it takes itself too seriously, and its prophets take themselves too seriously, and that’s something I don’t like. I’ve wrote before about how things are ruined when the game, the writers, the prophets, and so on all take something far too seriously, it just ruins the experience for me.

      But that’s just me.

      For me, Shenmue >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Heavy Rain. And Shenmue does so many of the things that Heavy Rain does, but so much better.

      How quickly everyone forgets. Poor Shenmue.

    • Bhazor says:

      No we’re making fun of a game with lengthy mundane sequences, bad voice work, gratuitous nudity, bad art direction, bad camera work, scenes cut from the last Saw film for being too rubbish and the most bewilderingly bad navigation controls this side of a Silent Hunter game. All through development was hyping this as the new era in videogames when really it is just Choose Your Own Adventure CSI. But with some fun fight scenes even if those scenes are badly directed (seriously, every fight seems to have at least one “Pinned to table, stretches to reach bottle/knife/sword” moment) and lets not forget one of the most hyped moments that appeared in almost every was all just a dream. All a fucking dream!

      This is a game that has been likened to the work of Scorsese by the gaming press.

      As I said above, that such a strange game got so much attention and sold so well is fantastic but lets not get carried away here and call it something that it isn’t.

      Edit: Shenmue 2 is really similar to Heavy Rain (right down to the QTE cutscenes you can fail at but carry on playing) so I’m surprised its not been mentioned in the build up.

  25. oceanclub says:

    “David Cage himself admits the writing isn’t great in this game (nor is it the important part). Whats important about this game is that makes a big finaicial splash and lets publishers feel they can take a few more big risks with game-narrative storytelling and hit it big in the mainstream.”

    Writing isn’t important in a narrative storytelling game?

    *blink* *blink*

    P.

    • DMcCool says:

      Its important for the success of the game, really, but what he’s trying to do is push foward an alternative method of telling stories. Kind of like that analogy in Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: what Cage is advocating with Heavy Rain is a new type of vessel for storytelling, which is really the important bit. From a cultural standpoint, the fact that he filled it with a badly translated cheesey tv who-dunnit thriller plot isn’t as important.
      The whole third-first person problem of agency DOES sound troubling though. These are the kinds of problems that only become really apparent as the stakes are upped in storytelling. Whatever Heavy Rain’s mistakes are I think its worth learning from then and building on its successes, which IMO are huge.

    • Risingson says:

      Well, take out “writing” and put “storytelling”. Or just say “story design” where you say “writing” if you understand that better.

      Out Of This World, for example, is one of the better narrative examples in videogame history. It’s extremely well written, and it has not a word.

  26. Leeks! says:

    Best review of Heavy Rain that I’ve read:

    http://www.brainygamer.com/the_brainy_gamer/2010/02/heavy-rain.html

    He really gets at why it fails as-a-game. The other major reason, I think, is for a game so heavily invested in storytelling for its appeal, it’s storytelling is really a bit of Creative Writing 101/CSI Miami shite.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      The game insists that I focus, even for mundane activities like carrying groceries, on carefully following directions delivered to me visually on-screen. The simple act of carrying groceries is subsumed by the mechanical procedure of executing a series of prompts for no apparent reason. This, for me, is the primary disconnect in Heavy Rain. My mechanical game-directed actions don’t amplify or add meaning to the in-game behaviors they execute. They don’t pull me in; they keep me out.

      Yeah, I don’t disagree with this at all. On the mundane stuff, the QTEs really feel awkward and pointless. Like I say, though, I think they really do work in the action sequences. I was on the edge of my seat for the REALLY MINOR SPOILER highway sequence REALLY MINOR SPOILER ENDS, far more so than if it had been a cut scene.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Oh, I should add that I do think the mundane stuff (some of it anyway) needed to be there in some form to achieve the emotional engagement I talked about upthread. You spend a lot of time early on just playing with your kids, or helping your wife with the groceries and so on. It helps a lot to establish relationships between characters and gives the later events a lot more impact. That said, you really shouldn’t have to do four different things just to start your bloody car.

    • Risingson says:

      Yes, the same techique many storywriters have used to punish us during the years: show a happy bunch of people, and later kill them.

    • Leeks! says:

      That’s a big part of the problem, though. Unless there’s some character-specific detail that’s revealed in the way Ethan sets the table, it’s just dull, ineffective storytelling. In a novel, movie or any other medium, this scene would have been cut. And while I don’t think we should be applying our critical standards from other mediums to games, because Heavy Rain borrows so heavily from non-game mediums, I think it’s a fair comment.

      It’s part of what Michael talks about on Brainygamer, too. Because the “thoughts” are little more than a glorified hint system, all the mundanity serves to do is distance us from the characters, bore us, and pad out the length.

      SPOILAZ!

      But yeah, that highway section was the tits.

      END SPOILAZ!

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      “Yes, the same techique many storywriters have used to punish us during the years: show a happy bunch of people, and later kill them.”

      Sure. But it feels different when you’re actually doing it rather than watching/reading it, or at least it does at times.

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MORE SPOILERS, THIS TIME MORE IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      For instance, when you’re playing with your son in the park, it starts off with you talking to him, trying half-heartedly to make a connection. At some point you run out of dialogue options, and if you do nothing, your character just sits there, looking glum/anxious and glancing over at the son clearly in despair at the loss of the relationship you used to have. You’re effectively forced by your desire for gameplay to get up and find something to do that will interest him . So you go around the playground, playing with him on various bits of equipment using the QTEs, and as you do so the kid becomes happier and happier. I’m not explaining this very well, but the point I’m trying to convey is that something quite powerful is achieved by making you act out what in other mediums would simply be described. The game exploits your gamer’s desire to do stuff to get you to experience your character’s frustration first hand and do something about it. There’s a similar situation, which Chick derided, where you control another character’s fidgeting. I thought that was a stroke of genius. Obviously, not the most exciting part of the game to play, but a brilliant way to evoke emotions that games don’t normally dare to touch, at least not deliberately.

      !SPOILERS END!

  27. oceanclub says:

    So for those of us who haven’t played Heavy Rain and don’t know much about it – how much of a piss-take is Lots O’ Rain? Is the game _really_ a sequence of quick-time events and occasional choices?

    P.

    • Pew says:

      It depends on how you look at it. Basically yes, it’s just pressing some buttons in QTE style in action sequences. Inbetween you walk around in a kind of Grim Fandango style: walk to an object, interact with it, blablabla.

      The story was not entirely god awful, but it wasn’t great either. Lots of red herrings about who the killer is, which are never properly explained.

      Yet, I couldn’t stop playing it. Yes, part of that was not being able to save manually. Yes, I felt most of the tension because of the fear of losing your savegame in a widely reported crash/freeze. Still, it is a testament to the industry that a game like this can be made. Not a giant leap forward, but a baby step into a different direction nonetheless. Whether that is a good thing, time will tell!

    • Wulf says:

      “Is the game _really_ a sequence of quick-time events and occasional choices?”

      Yes, yes it is. And they really are quicktime events too, not interactions. But see for yourself, I’ll leave it at that.

  28. MWoody says:

    Jesus, there are people on here that dislike Heavy Rain? I just… I don’t… Fuck me, it’s like they played a different game. The one I played was the most exciting, fascinating thing I’ve seen on the scene in the past decade. And I hate QTEs with an incredibly, fiery passion, but here I loved every minute of it.

    I hesitate to even broach the topic but… Is this PC fanboyism quietly rearing its head? I _AM_ a PC fanboy, but I’ll still admit when its brain-dead bastard nephews manage something incredible.

    • Risingson says:

      Of course! You can go on and skip all the reasons explained for the dislike of this and fahrenheit. Just stick to “they are pc fanboys”, which is much easier. I mean, there CAN’T be another reason for other people not liking Heavy Rain!

    • Ozzie says:

      There truly can’t be… ;)

      Nah, I haven’t played it myself so far, don’t have the money for a PS3, but it surely is polarizing. I find the complaint that Heavy Rain isn’t game-y enough hilarious though…

    • Vinraith says:

      @MWoody

      Speaking as someone that fully intends to buy a PS3 the next time there’s a price drop, Heavy Rain isn’t something I’m even remotely interested in. It’s simply not my kind of game, surely that’s not so hard to understand? I’m not big on adventure games (anymore, anyway), I’m not big on “cinematic” game experiences (that’s not what I play games for), and the trailers, clips, and reviews I’ve seen and read have all left me very cold.

      Maybe there’s some PC jealousy going on with some people, I wouldn’t know, but surely a lot of us simply aren’t the target audience here.

  29. OJ287 says:

    If this is a game, does that make my DVD remote a game pad?

  30. Aubrey says:

    Heavy Brain pretty much sums up my feelings about Heay Rain. Well worth a look if you’ve not seen it yet.

    http://deadpanda.com/heavybrain

  31. neems says:

    I have no issues with the actual gameplay aspect of Heavy Rain (well, the controls could be a bit better, but they’re definitely better than, say, Grim Fandango). It’s the execution that I have issues with.

    All that time and money, what they should have done was hire professional writers, editors and actors for each and every localisation. David Cage also desperately needs somebody (a Sony exec perhaps) who can look at his work with an objective eye and say “This needs to be better. Get rid of that bit. Get somebody to look at this section. You make the game, let somebody else handle the writing.”

    It’s interesting, no doubt, and I’m glad I played it. I am also, however, glad that I rented it instead of buying it.

  32. Mister Yuck says:

    Well, uh, that confirms it. They haven’t learned to write. I’ll pass on this game, thanks.

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