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Playing Old Games – Heavy Rain Review

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm by Amanda Andonian

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I haven’t had a console since high school, so when I bought my PS3 back in November, it was my chance to go back and play the past seven years of games I’ve missed.

That’s a really long list, to say the least.

Since it’s impossible to get to everything, I only have six games on my list right now. It’s going to get longer, though, as new games come out and my friends recommend things to me. Skyrim in particular set me back for a while; and once Kingdoms of Amalur is released, I’m going to get even more backlogged.

However, a couple nights ago, I decided that I didn’t feel like running around Skyrim for a few hours, and decided to pick up Heavy Rain again. I started playing it back in December, but the quick-time events threw me off and took me out of the game, especially since the first couple of hours are basically training you how to play. I wasn’t in the mood at the time to power through it, especially given that I was still having fun with Uncharted 3, so I put it aside.

For whatever reason, I was more in the mood for it recently, and man is this game intense! Even though the quick-time events pull you one step out of the action in a way, at the same time I felt even more invested in my characters’ movements. The difficulty of performing actions correctly translates pretty well into how difficult it would actually be in real life, and there are real consequences for your character depending on what you do in the game.

The fact that your characters can die permanently added to that feeling for me. I found my heart racing as I tried to help my character navigate through life-threatening situations because I knew that if he or she died, then that was it – there are no do-overs. Unless I chicken out and reload the last autosave, which I did several times. Once an autosave kicks in, though, that’s it; you can’t go back.

I wish I had a little more control over my characters, though. In one storyline, the character you control is an FBI agent who’s partnered with this unstable detective. I want to punch the guy in the face sometimes, but that’s not an option offered to me, so I have to watch in frustration as my character does nothing.

heavy-rainThe character design also heads into the uncanny valley at times. I’ll look at the characters’ faces, and they seem so dead inside. I know this game is two years old and the technology has come a long way since then, but that doesn’t negate the fact that looking at the character faces during load times creeps me out.

At the same time, the detail in the graphics is pretty stunning. In one of the character-face load screens, I actually detected a tiny pimple on the character’s chin. Now that’s what I call attention to detail! Some of the characters’ eyes look less dead than others, which makes me all the more curious about what it is exactly about computer generated faces versus real faces that triggers that “creepiness” factor.

But I digress.

I finished the game after only two days, which surprised me; it’s really not all that long. I think I logged in around 10 hours total, which seems short to me. I don’t know if that is or not – that’s just how it felt. I’m starting my second run-through to see how much the story changes when I make different decisions. So far, it’s pretty amazing to me how the smallest choice changes the course of the action, and I’m interested to see what the end result will be.

Considering that there are at least 22 possible endings, I don’t think I’ll work on getting the “All Endings” achievement, even though I did spend over an hour trying to get the “Kamikaze” one.

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