The lights are on
Heavy Rain is something that comes along every so often- a game that changes what people will think of as a 'Game'. It has more in common with 'Dragon's Lair' than 'Final Fantasy', and it runs the risk of alienating a fairly large segment of the gaming population with it's gameplay mechanics. Simply put- you're basically controlling one extremely long movie via either the Move or Dualshock controller. All in all, this is a very well executed endeavor- a couple of hiccups here and there, but for the most part the actually interface is well put-together.
The storyline follows the case of the 'Origami Killer', and a handful of characters involved in the case. I won't spoil anything by telling you that this cast of characters share an interweaving narrative in which your decisions affect the outcome of the story. As for sheer variety of experience, there's absolutely nothing which you can compare this game to. Your smallest decision can have enormous repercussions later, and trying to figure out the 'best' way of doing things often boils down to the lesser (or greater) of (at least) two evils. The feeling is similar to that of Mass Effect, where you just have to trust your heart and do what comes naturally.
Now, this game is far from perfect. The voice acting is a little hiccupy at times, and some of the writing is cheesy, at best. However, my greatest beef with this game is the fact that nearly every time someone says 'Origami', they pronounce it "ora-gammy", in a hackneyed manner that is almost calculatedly offensive to people with Japanese sensibilities. People whose voices sound entirely natural throughout the duration of the game suddenly turn into Peter Griffin when they say "the OrAGAmMy KiLLAh". I know that sounds like a really small bone to pick, but there are times when it really will make you cringe. I'm serious. It kills the mood, but not often enough to really be a problem.
The graphics are incredible. These are the best character models I've ever seen, down to blemishes, zits, facial tics, iris coloration, and a thousand other tiny details. There is absolutely nothing negative that can be said about the graphics. They're tops.
One other small little item that I have to mention is... WHY DOESN'T ANYONE IN THIS GAME CARRY AN UMBRELLA...?? Seriously. It rains all the time in this city, but NO ONE carries an umbrella. The cops have ponchos and rain jackets... but... I say it again... NOBODY CARRIES AN UMBRELLA!!! Maybe I'm being a little hard here... but... wow.
So that's it, in a nutshell. I definitely think that this is something that everyone should experience, but if you're a die-hard CoD, FPS junkie, this might not be the trip for you. Rent it or try it out somehow, but I promise that if you can get immersed in it, you'll find a deeply rewarding experience. I'm about ready to start another playthrough here in a few minutes. Enjoy!!
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