I am, and always will be, a fan of a game that lets the player choose. After all, my favorite game of all time is the original Mass Effect. But Quantic Dream injects some fresh and innovative details into the foray in Heavy Rain. I've heard about similarities between Heavy Rain's and Indigo Prophecy's gameplay (I haven't played Indigo Prophecy yet but I am looking for it now), so please don't judge if I happen to state something is "new" or "fresh" yet it was in Indigo Prophecy. 

I bought this game for the PS3 and beat it within four days. It wasn't a lack of gameplay that made it so short, it was the inability to pry my hands of the Dualshock 3 controller. The story was fantastic; it would be an understatement if I said the game only threw me for a loop a couple of times. Like you have probably guessed due to my comments earlier about games with the ability to choose, yes Heavy Rain is one of these.

You get this relaxing feeling once the game begins. This feeling is due, in part, to the music (fantastic, by the way) and the camera angles of Ethan Mars sleeping. The game then wakes Ethan, and gives you prompts to move around and get a feel of the controls. Examples of this are sliding R3 to the right to open a glass door out to a balcony, or pressing a certain button at a certain time to successfully juggle three tennis balls in the boys bedroom. It all seems very peaceful, and you almost feel jealous for Ethan as you see him play with his kids outside (which of course, you control), as your wife prepares for Jason's (Jason and Shaun are your kids) 10th birthday party. 

Then you go to the mall. Your wife asks you to hang on to Jason while she takes Shaun to look for some shoes. And boy, had I been Ethan, I really would have tanned Jason's hide for running off from me in such a large crowd. Ethan however buys Jason a red balloon from a clown. While paying the clown, Jason decides to run off again. The only thing you know to look for is the red balloon. You scare the hell out of your wife when you tell her that Jason is lost, and look all over the store for him. You end up running outside the store when you see Jason across the street. You yell at him, and Jason runs across the street in front of a car. Ethan sees what is about to happen and tries to save Jason by jumping out to tackle him out of the cars path. The screen goes black. And when the screen comes back, the red balloon is rising up into the bleak, overcast sky.

This sets the stage for the story to come. 

Heavy Rain puts you in the shoes of four strangers. One of which, is Ethan. When Heavy Rain takes place two years after the mall incident, it is revealed that Jason died, Ethan was in a coma for numerous months, and that Ethan and his wife are now separated with joint-custody over Shaun. Another character named Norman Jayden, is an FBI agent assigned to the case of the Origami Killer (a serial killer who is named so due to the fact he leaves an origami figure in each of the victim's hand). There isn't much background on Jayden, but he does have a pair of wicked shades that can point out undiscovered evidence. Next we have Madison Paige. At first, she appears to be just a Good Samaritan, but it turns out it was set up and is a journalist covering the Origami Killer. And last but not least, Scott Shelby. Scott is a private-eye hired by the families of the victims of the Origami Killer to investigate the killings.

Due to the coma Ethan was in after Jason's death, Ethan has 'blackouts' where he winds up in a random place, with no recollection of the past hours. One of these episodes unfortunately happens while he is at the park with Shaun. He comes finally comes out of the episode, he goes back to the park, with Shaun nowhere to be found. Over the next few days, Shaun is reported missing, and is supposed to have been abducted by the Origami Killer. This incident pulls these four strangers together in a race against time to find Shaun before he becomes the next victim.

This game is a must-have for the Playstation 3, with or without Move (I personally don't have Move so I used my controller). Quick-time events are common throughout the game, and are at first difficult to do correctly. Once you get further into the game, your reaction time and precision seem to get better, and by the end of the game it's like a second nature. However, screwing up at the wrong time can be a pain in the ass, as it resulted with one of my character's deaths (and a NPC's death, as well). 

I've heard nothing but critical acclaim for Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit, whichever name you want to call it), and now I understand why. If Quantic Dream had only put a third of the work from Heavy Rain into Indigo Prophecy, it would still be fantastic. With Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream has weaved a masterpiece of such stature, that it will be hard for any other games Quantic Dream develops to live up to it. I am stunned by how amazing this game was, no matter if you are talking about soundtrack, gameplay, graphics, or narrative.

You've got a lot to live up to, Quantic Dream. I'm looking forward to Beyond: Two Souls