As gaming has matured, countless arguments have broken out over whether the medium can ever transcend itself and become art. Many people will point to Heavy Rain as tipping the scales, but that’s pointless. It’s doing something far more important, by being the first game to live up to the Mature rating.
“How far are you willing to go?” is the question asked of all four playable characters in Heavy Rain, but for what varies. “How far are you willing to go for your son, how far are you willing to go for the truth, how far are you willing to go for justice, how far are you willing to go to make a point?” When it came out originally, it was among the most critically acclaimed games of 2010. Now I can see why people back then would have been impressed with certain elements of this game, it has some good ideas like the lack of a traditional game over and some neat tricks in regards to presentation. But after the unintentionally hilarious prologue, I thought “How far am I willing to go to amuse faceless randoms on the internet?” The answer? Further than I should be comfortable with.
Its the third game developed by Quantic Dreams and the first that would be considered a finacial success. It had a budget of $52 million, with only $21.8 million being spent on the actual development. By the time it reach 2013, it created made the publisher, Sony, over $130 million. They also seem to be composed of rather shitty people, with a nude model made of Ellen Page when she worked for them without her permission and other reports of a toxic work environment. And there’s David Cage. To call him a clown would be an insult to the artistry of being a clown.
I’m a bigger fan than most on this site of the “decision focused” adventure games. The Walking Dead Video Game had me in awe back when I was in high school, waiting for each episode impatiently and I’ve been trying to get as many as you to try the excellent Life is Strange 2 as possible. I’ve even spent a two day period where I didn’t do much except play delightfully campy Until Dawn. That said, I played Beyond Two Souls back in 2016, so I was expecting this one to be pretty shit.
The basic premise of the game, you play as four different and troubled characters, the father who’s life fell apart after his first son was killed in an accident, an insomniac reporter haunted by her dreams, the ace detective with an addiction, and a serial killer who kidnaps boys and forces fathers to do Saw like trials in order to get all the clues to rescue their kid before the rain kills them and he does this because his father let his other son drown.
So the main plot kicks off when the father blackouts and his son has been abducted by the serial killer, so now begins the hunt. The father for the son, the detective for the killer, the reporter for the story and the killer to cover up his tracks in the last few killings. Of course they all have actual names in the game, but I forgot them all so I’m just going to call them by their jobs.
There are some pretty solid elements. The lack of a traditional game over does help make things interesting and the little effect that has options circling around a character is neat, though it does get too chaotic during the tense moments, getting way too shaky for me to read when there’s a limited time.
So is it a good game? Oh without a doubt it’s a terrible game. Is it entertaining? In its half assed way, yes. The QTEs usually range from “oh this is funny because of how it aged so much in the last decade” to “oh the animators really wanted to make a slapstick comedy”, with the highlight being a chase through a food market. Voice acting is weak, especially for a game that puts a near sole focus on story, with a lot of people with French accents trying their best American accents, failing spectacularly. The father just having this dead stare that would probably meant to convey the trauma he’s been through, but he’s had that even before the trauma conga began. One moment has a character begging for his life like he’s Janet in the Good Place. Funny stuff.
However some of the terrible elements in the game are not entertaining. It’s pretty misogynistic with at least two attempted sexual assaults being depicted on the reporter. Its also pretty racist, with Mad Dog and Paco Mendez coming off as how Breitbart views black and hispanic men.
So as a whole, the game has some interesting elements. Is it worth playing? Nah. Just watch the 4th trial and you got everything you need from this. Absolutely no need to go any further