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HEAVY RAIN

9.5 / 10

To those who have played Indigo Prophecy for the PS2, no stranger will you be to Quantic Dreams’ PS3 exclusive release of “Heavy Rain.” For those of you that HAVEN’T, prepare yourself for a gaming experience unmatched by any other game you have ever played.

Enter the dark and expectedly damp world of HEAVY RAIN through the eyes of four strangers, as the hunt for the Origami Killer orchestrates their own personal motives: The FBI Agent, The Insomniac, The Private Detective, and The Father of the victim in question. The first thing we notice when we meet these characters for the first time is how noticeably displeasing the voice acting is. I mean, things like this seldom affect my gaming experience but its tough not to say it’s a little annoying. Getting through the first hour is slow; to be completely honest the whole game is slow, but once through the developmental part of the game is REALLY when those little annoyances like slowness and voice acting are overshadowed by the overwhelmingly involving experience that is HEAVY RAIN.

Adding to this stimulating and often frustrating experience is a system in which deaths and continues are equally non-existent. Dying in this game simply shifts the story to another character still alive in the HEAVY RAIN story. So, you CAN die, but there are no replays. Of course if you wanted to go back for a trophy or just to say you got the better of that specific part, everything is broken down into chapters on the menu screen, making playbacks convenient and appealing. The countless endings and shifts in story via decisions and potential deaths are overall what gives HEAVY RAIN such a high replay value.

This concept of no continues plays heavily into the way your particular HEAVY RAIN story will unfold. Everything comes back to circumstances of decisions made throughout the story. So, it’s quite possible a friend of yours, among others, experienced a different game completely. In an attempt to be brutally honestly their’s no doubt this game will frustrate you. Interestingly the controls make it possible to see whats on your current characters mind, leading you to complete certain tasks or direct your story to a specific person or place. Similarly, in moments of distress or demanding quickness, these fill the screen in a way that’s hard to see, and which allows you a shorter time to choose. Thats the frustrating part of the game, making these last-minute decisions and hoping that they end up serving the story you want to play. It’s tough because their will be times where you choose something by mistake, simply because you didn’t have enough time to feasibly weigh your options.

Despite some of the frustrations you’ll certainly see the rewarding side of this game as every scene becomes increasingly saturated with mystery, suspense, and a rapid rise in difficulty. Overall the game does a good job of evenly distributing the allotted time we spend with each character. Each character shares an equal ability of interaction with things around them, some consequential and some not. Their is so much interactive potential in this game; the only limit is your willingness to do so.

Every gamer should play this game at least once, despite your loyalties to a specific genre. HEAVY RAIN combines a captivatingly mysterious, dark, and suspensful character driven story with a cutting edge gameplay mechanic that’s addictively absorbing. How this story unfolds is entirely up to you.

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