The lights are on
Warning: this article contains major spoilers for Heavy Rain.
Some of the moment-to-moment interactions and voice acting in Heavy Rain are iffy – if not painful – but I still find the overall story and mystery intriguing. For me, a defining moment in Heavy Rain is finally learning the Origami Killer’s identity.
Heavy Rain tells the story of Ethan Mars, a middle-aged, divorced parent who lost one of his two kids years prior to the game’s main story. Ethan has crippling anxiety attacks that cause him to black out, and during one of these attacks, his son Shaun is kidnapped by the Origami Killer – a serial killer who drowns his victims (young boys) and displays them with orchids and origami figures.
Perspective shifts between Ethan (the father), Madison (a journalist), Shelby (a private investigator), and Jayden (an FBI agent), all of whom are investigating the Origami Killer. Shaun’s life rests on them finding and stopping this murder.
Heavy Rain teases you with flashbacks of the Origami Killer as a young boy before it finally tells you his identity. In the final flashback, we see John (his brother) stuck in a pipe quickly filling with water at a construction site they were playing at. The young Origami Killer runs to get help from their neglectful father, who ignores his pleas. Upon his return, John mutters “Don't forget about me, Scottie,” and the screen fades out with Scott holding his brother’s hand as he drowns.
At that point, my mind was racing. Scott. His name is Scott. Who had I met in this game named Scott? I didn’t have to wait long to be reminded. The screen faded back in to Scott Shelby staring at a photograph of John and him. A tear runs down his cheek. When I gained back control of the game, I lit a match to throw into the trash bin. One by one, I picked up each piece of evidence that I had collected as Shelby under the premise of investigating the Origami Killer. For every item I threw into the fire, I saw a flashback of Shelby collecting it, as well as scenes initially hidden from me.
I didn’t see this coming, but it makes complete sense. Shelby wasn’t collecting for his investigation; instead he was gathering evidence that could lead to him, and destroying it. The plot twist is great because it is entirely believable in the world Heavy Rain creates. Much like Heavy Rain as a whole, the reaction to the twist was met with divisiveness and there are a significant number of people who feel differently, but I liked it. Heavy Rain is an attempt at merging gameplay with cinematic aspects. It is often bashed for its varying degrees of success and failure, but this moment is one area in which I think it deserves praise.
This is not the only standout moment in Heavy Rain worth writing about, and you can find another scene recalled here.
Email the author Isaac Federspiel, or follow on Game Informer.