Heavy Rain is one of the titles I’ve wanted to play for a long time, but unfortunately, I never found the right moment nor the time to enter this thriller. One of the reasons lies in its exclusive infusion with the PS platform, which more than halves the base of potential players at the moment.
However, nostalgia kicked in, although it was released back way back in 2010 on the previous generation consoles (PS3), they released a slightly revamped version for the PS4 in 2016. By no means is it a classic title where I could spend hours talking about gameplay. A good decade ago, Quantum Dreams released their first modern interactive story, where we co-authored the main protagonists’ fate, mainly through QTE sequences, research, and conversations. Since then, they also released Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. Although you may think of them as an inexperienced studio, Quantum Dreams are actually veterans of the genre and, at the same time, one of the founders. They managed to make the genre attractive to the average player. After all, it’s the beginning of Fahrenheit classic, also known as the Indigo Prophecy.
When I saw that this time Heavy Rain was offered to all PS Plus subscribers, by no means did I want to miss the opportunity again. I activated a 14-day trial on my account, as I don’t play online games on the PS4 otherwise, and ventured into the world I’ve wanted to experience for years. After all, it’s a genre I love.
As in other titles in this genre, the main feature is making decisions that influence the storyline. There are four central protagonists, each with its own story and own unique past.
Main Character: Ethan
You start playing as Ethan, a happily married architect living in a big house on the outskirts of the city. However, peace does not last long. While wandering around the stores, one of your sons slips away and ends up under the wheels of the car. His commitment and carelessness trigger the course of all subsequent events. Ethan breaks down, of course – just who wouldn’t be in such a tragic fate. You continue playing two years later when, like a pale shadow of yourself, you find yourself in front of a school. The pain is too great, and the time to heal the wounds is merely running too slowly.
The tragic accident leaves damage in your brain, and you randomly experience blackouts where you find yourself in a deserted street in the middle of the night, unaware of the past hours. There is always a paper figurine in your hands after these blackouts, which additionally mystifies the story.
But does this already makes you a murder suspect? Many boys, about ten years old, have disappeared in the city in recent years. They were found drowned, without any trace of a fight. It’s an excellent time for a skilled investigator to get involved, an FBI agent Norman Jayden, renowned for his exceptional profiling of suspects.
As the local police being unable to control the situation, you find yourself at the crime scene on a dark night, in an endless heavy rain that does not stop. Norman is slightly different from the other characters. He’s the only one with access to advanced technology, similar to those recently seen in the Batman series. He puts on sexy glasses and gloves and is ready for work. Although his idyllic look, a handsome agent who advocates justice, sharp memory, and philosophical thinking also has a less attractive side. We are talking about his addiction to the drug Triptocaine.
Main Protagonists: Scott Shelby and Madison Paige
Of course, Ethan and Norman aren’t the only ones pulling strings. Here we also have the cliché detective Scott Shelby, a former police officer who finds himself in a private investigator’s role on a hunt for a killer. Like most former so-called “Hollywood cops,” he has alcoholism problems. Despite its moral vanity, it does not affect the old days’ benevolence that still lives in it.
And there’s Madison Paige, a journalist on the hunt for the Origami Killer story. If the thought of work still drives her initially, there is a quick turn when she encounters Ethan, the missing child’s father, in the motel. She is the hardest to keep alive.
Each of the four protagonists tackles the work in its own way. So there are no repetitive sequences where everyone would do the same things over and over again. Everyone takes their own approach, which ultimately leads to an epilogue where your decisions are finally revealed. There are quite a few conclusions, and the actions and choices in the dialogues will lead you to what is meant for you.
In some respects, game age is for sure, felt. Only this one is most visible in controlling the characters, which can be a bit awkward. To walk, you’ll need to hold R2, turning with the left stick, and QTE on the right stick, which is something you don’t see anymore. Especially climbing the shafts or similar can be quite annoying.
When you add an abundance of clichés into the basket, where alongside the charming and kind-hearted Scott Shelby, Ethan and Madison, the central idealized heroes turn out to be an unfortunate combination of flatness and monotony. Even their sex scene is so bad that in the end, due to the excess of irony, it turns out to be average. The developers simply did not devote enough time and conversation lines to building their mutual chemistry.
However, the QTE sequences are made better and offer a challenge while trying to survive your central characters, with your fingers smeared on the controller.
Despite some unusual solutions, it is placed above most genre games by a great musical background and a great atmosphere, which is dark all the time and attracts with its gloominess.
- Great atmosphere
- An exciting story with many turnarounds
- Choices you make matter
- Clumsy control of the character
- Main protagonists could be more refined
- Dialog choices are opaque