Heavy Rain Reader Review
I was really looking forward to this game. I was a big fan of Fahrenheit and really bought into David Cage's vision of interactive drama with divergent outcomes dependent on choices. My sense of anticipation was heightened somewhat by the inclusion of the origami puzzle to complete whilst the game installed. That was a really nice touch. My wife has no interest in games whatsoever, but from what I had seen and read about this game, I thought this might be one to try playing together. Perhaps with her calling the shots and me operating the pad(something she struggles greatly with). Unfortunately we differed wildly in our expectations of what satisfactory progress was, and my plan basically fell apart because I wanted to play this much more than she did.
This was written and directed by David Cage. I felt he made a really good job of both elements, crafting an interesting story that kept me guessing right up to the 'reveal', along with entertaining direction that only sometimes looked a bit cliched. I felt it was really nice to play something with adult themes that didn't simply resort to foul language in an attempt to appear 'grown up'. There were several interesting dilemmas that gave me genuine pause for thought and left me a little troubled and indecisive about how I should react to a particular situation. This is the step forward I believe he was trying to make and it felt very effective to me. Many have criticised the lack of interactivity within the game. It never felt that way to me. I was engrossed with the story and frequently panic stricken and on edge during the frantic set pieces.
The well implemented trophy system encouraged replay of the different scenes to achieve the differing outcomes. I was staggered by how many potential outcomes were possible. One area that was less than satisfactory was the use of the dual-shock motion controls for some of the actions. I found these to be a little clumsy and insensitive in their implementation and it was frustrating having potentially important sequences decided by whether the playstation interpreted your action correctly. The difficulty was probably quite well judged on the whole, although if you feel that you couldn't cope with the death of any of the characters, and it is possible to get quite attached to them by the end, then you might be better off notching the difficulty down a bit. Even if you are a seasoned gamer and "perfectly familiar with the control pad."
A special mention must go to the score which was absolutely outstanding, managing to be atmospheric, haunting, exciting and appropriate to the action when required.
The A.R.I was a nice feature - if a little incongruous to the general setting. It was perhaps underdeveloped as a forensic tool and there were definitely missed opportunities for logical detection. I really enjoyed the implementation of the stunning work environments that it allowed though.
I really enjoyed the 'making of' bonus features as well.
I think David Cage and his team can feel very proud of their efforts in creating such an atmospheric, effective and immersive interactive murder mystery .