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Heavy Rain is an adventure game developed by Quantic Dream, the team best known for the PS2/Xbox title Indigo Prophecy. Gameplaywise Heavy Rain is similar to Indigo Prophecy and revolves around exploring locations in order to progress the story forward.
The biggest advancement in Heavy Rain is that the events can completely differ from player to player depending on the choices made throughout the game. Unlike other games that have major decisions that will take the player down different paths Heavy Rain features tons of options that will alter the game in major and minor ways.
While the game itself is a series of decisions on what to do next there are also a series of quick time events that failing could change the course of the game, including the death of your playable characters.
The only way to really lose the game is to have all of your playable characters killed off, though it is still possible to complete the game with only one left alive.
Heavy Rains gameplay is tough to describe to anyone who’s not familiar with other adventure games that preceded it. It’s easy for gamers to write the game off as an interactive movie, but the game is more of an evolution of old school adventure games like Kings Quest, Broken Sword, etc. A lot of the systems from those games have been streamlined and the closest comparison is perhaps the newest Silent Hill (Shattered Memories).
The game is really just about exploring areas, looking for information and advancing the story. There are “quicktime” events for all the action scenes, but the buttons are very contextual making them play out more in a more interesting way than a traditional QTE. Having the actions relate to specific buttons give a better feel of what the characters are trying to do with each action.
I think the biggest hurdle for a lot of players to overcome is getting used to the controls. While the QTE like stuff comes quickly, the movement controls can be awkward at first. This is because R2 is the walk forward button, while the left analog stick controls the direction your character moves.
This is because Quantic Dream was looking for a balance between the issues with the two typical control schemes in 3rd person games. The first being tank controls which never disorient the player when the camera changes, but are hated by most players because they make movement clunky. The other is the “up is up” control scheme where the character moves in the direction pressed.
When the camera angle changes the character keeps moving in that direction but any slight deviation on the analog stick resets the direction and the character can start moving in a completely opposite direction than intended. The control scheme works ok, but it does take a long time to get used to, and it doesn’t completely solve the issues with the other control schemes.
I’ll be very vague about the story because it’s really the driving force of the game. The gameplay offers some of the most dramatic and intense sequences in video game history. To see the whole story and how each choice can affect it is the driving force behind the game.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Monojit Mandal