I just finished Heavy Rain. I’m intending on writing a more lengthy piece about it for BitMob over the next couple of days, but for now I’d just like to share some bullet-point thoughts with you all, hopefully without spoilers. In no particular order…
- Agent Norman Jayden is the only character in the game who doesn’t pronounce the name “Norman” correctly.
- Those facial animations are incredible. There’s a number of scenes where characters show “genuine” emotion.
- I dig the fact that the interface conveys emotions. If a character is scared or nervous about something, the interaction icon for it wobbles about to varying degrees. Same for the “thoughts” you can pull up by pressing L2.
- Say what you like about QTEs, Heavy Rain’s are some of the best around. Several of them actually left me with sweaty palms.
- The integration of Sixaxis motion controls in the QTEs is a nice touch. Thumping someone around the head by actually slamming your controller into their face is immensely satisfying.
- I didn’t think the voice acting (a common criticism) was that bad. The characters sounded like real people, which is something video game actors often forget. The simple fact that the characters puff, pant, wheeze, grunt and moan convincingly as well as just talking helps with this.
- The camerawork is very realistic. I don’t think there were any parts where the camera stays completely “still”. It always has a slight “hand-held wobble” to it.
- The game is genuinely emotionally engaging throughout. I can’t put my finger on why, but I know that once I started playing, I didn’t want to stop. As a result, I’ve finished it two days after acquiring it. With no regrets.
- Finally we’ve got a game who can make CG characters cry reasonably convincingly…
- …but still not kiss very well.
- This is the first game I’ve seen where characters can actually put on and remove clothes without having to cut away to avoid animating cloth.
- I’m now intrigued to try another playthrough, knowing what I know now. It likely won’t have the same emotional impact, but I’m interested to see if there were any… ahh… “clues” throughout.
Right. Enough, otherwise I’ll get into spoiler territory. Off to bed!