With both Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls coming to PS4 this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce Chris to the original PS3 version of Heavy Rain, complete with awkward motion controls and unintentionally creepy children. The result is probably the most ridiculous episode of Late to the Party yet, and that's saying something. Be on full alert for Chris' outrage over Ethan drinking straight from the carton, and his utter discomfort over having to care for a child, even if it's a fictional one.
Get your payment method of choice at the ready, for here's another bountiful selection of cheap games that are worth your attention. This week we've got a few of the best games from the last year or so getting their first big discounts, and this week's hot releases at an affordable price.
Despite the advances of the past decade, from physics engines and motion control to near photo-realistic graphics, there is one area in which games still have huge scope for improvement. Why, after all this time, are so many videogames still so bad at telling stories?
Sundays are a great day for reflection. They're also a great day for washing down a packet of ginger nuts with a few pints of tea while idly wandering the internet. So we thought we'd start bringing you some selections from Eurogamer's archive for your pleasure, starting with this retrospective look back at Heavy Rain originally published as part of our Games of 2010 series.
If you've been keeping a weather eye on PlayStation Move coverage, you've probably come to the conclusion that Sony's latest foray into motion control is an extremely competent peripheral in search of genuinely good games. Luckily, the PlayStation 3 already had some genuinely good games knocking about, and now some of them have had Move support patched in.
The Taxidermist is the first of the Heavy Rain Chronicles, and comes bundled with the special edition version of Heavy Rain. We've avoided plot spoilers for the main game below, but if you're hyper sensitive to such things we suggest finishing it before proceeding.
Quantic Dream's eagerly awaited interactive drama Heavy Rain finally launches next week. We've written quite a few words about the PS3 exclusive already, including Tom's glowing 9/10 review, so we'll assume it needs no introduction other than to say that it's one of the most important, interesting and talked-about releases of 2010.
Several months ago, I buried John Romero. I dug a little hole for him in the garden, covered it with dirt, and said a few poignant words over the spiteful-but-soothing strains of Paul McCartney's Too Many People. It was an emotional moment for me, because I really loved the guy. We'd had some great times together: the time, for instance, that his home was destroyed and we went out to get a new one. Or the time he chased his girlfriend around for over an hour, before finally taking a nap in the miniature Taj Mahal nearby. Mostly, though, I just remember him pressing his face up to the water jet, his jet-black, silky, slimy mane billowing out like a raven's wing. He was a spectacular goldfish.
How far would I go to save someone I loved? Apparently, I'd start by letting them win. The first thing that happens in Heavy Rain is that you take control of architect Ethan Mars as he wakes up on a beautiful Saturday morning in his lovely modern family home, gets dressed and goes downstairs to wait for his wife and children to come back from the shops. When they do, he helps get stuff ready for lunch and then has a bit of time to kill, so he goes and plays in the garden with sons Shaun and Jason.
David Cage and Sony could be considered visionaries for what they are attempting with Heavy Rain. Rarely before has so much money been gambled on emotion and story without the safety net of a post-apocalyptic American city full of monsters to shoot in the face.
For a game closeted in so much mystery and intrigue, Quantic Dream has been surprisingly forthcoming about how Heavy Rain works and what it's about. We know that it sees four playable characters - FBI profiler Norman Jayden, private detective Scott Shelby, architect Ethan Mars and journalist Madison Paige - on the trail of The Origami Killer. We know that Ethan's son, Shaun, is kidnapped part way through the game and that, according to the Killer's MO, the player has four days to save him before he turns up drowned on a stretch of wasteland.
"We don't make Dragon's Lair! This is not Dragon's Lair - do you think I'm crazy? I'm not stupid. Do you think I develop on PlayStation 3 to do Dragon's Lair again? It would be absurd. Of course it's not." David Cage is basically hopping up and down in the middle of a hotel room in Germany. "When there is an action sequence, yes we integrate this quick-time event sequence. We've done it really in a new way, we really started from a blank page again to try to take the best out of this type of interface and find the thrill and excitement and make you feel at the heart of the action."
Normally, when presenting their games to the press, game developers try to explain them as fully and as best they can. They choose representative sections to demo and strive to get their vision for the whole project across in interviews. David Cage likes to do things differently.
We've had indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, and fighting and strategy, which just leaves the glamour girls of action, adventure, shooters and racing to strut their stuff.
There's no rain during our trip to Paris to see Heavy Rain, which is bad news for the photographer travelling in our group, who might have done well out of that. Then again, there's no Heavy Rain on our trip to Paris to see Heavy Rain either. Nor, it turns out, was there any sign of it at Leipzig's Games Convention in August, despite its top billing at Sony's conference and director David Cage's press briefings. When we sit down with Cage three months later to ask whether anything we've seen so far - characters, locations, scenarios - is actually in the game you'll be invited to buy in the second half of 2009, he pauses for a second. "No."
"But I'm sure you want to know about the games." So said David Reeves, about half an hour into Sony's Games Convention press conference. He was right, having spent the last 30 minutes showing off portables and bundles and peripherals and services. And quoting Bob Dylan, perhaps ill-advisedly: for all the talk of selling out, it's unlikely that The Times They Are A' Changin' was about the seventh generation of the console war.