One of the more intriguing game titles for me this year is Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream. The game released earlier this year to strong reviews, but it’s so different from anything I’ve played before that I hesitated buying it. I finally took a leap of faith and got it last week. It was worth every penny.
Heavy Rain is not a traditional game. It’s more of an interactive movie. You don’t have standard control of the main characters as much as you choose their actions. The story follows the case of the Origami Killer who has kidnapped his latest child victim, Shaun Mars. You have approximately four days to find Shaun before the child is drowned.
The story is told through four main characters:
Ethan Mars: father of the kidnapped boy Shaun. Ethan’s once perfect world has fallen apart and he will do anything to save his son.
Scott Shelby: private detective who has been hired by parents of past victims of the Origami Killer. He is conducting his own investigation to bring the killer to justice.
Norman Jayden: FBI serial killer profiler brought in to help the local police to track the killer. Armed with some high tech gadgetry, Norman must overcome his police partner who resents Norman’s presence and his own drug addition.
Madison Paige: Madison is a journalist with designs on writing a book on the killings. In the process she gets close to Ethan and joins the race against time to save Shaun.
A lot of the action takes place in quick time events like you see in God of War, but unlike that game, there is no restart. The story keeps going. Each of the main four characters can die which alters the way the rest of the game plays out.
The story starts slowly as you get to know Ethan and his family and learn the dynamics of the game. Stick with the story though. About an hour in you will be riveted and if you can stay up all night (I can’t) you might just play it straight through to the conclusion.
This game will really test you. Frequently you will be faced with hard choices. You will then find yourself doubting your decision as you move forward. I tried to play the game from the perspective of what would I do if faced with that choice. It’s tough.
What really blew me away is the all of the possible endings. After I finished my playthrough, I went online and read about the endings that other people had and it was stunning how different their experiences were. I have read that there are as many as 22 possible outcomes which provides the game replay value.
Kudos to Quantic Dream for providing the most unique gaming experience that I’ve had in a long time.