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Heavy Rain Initial Impressions

Heavy Rain is definitely in the vein of Indigo Prophecy. It has the same basic tropes: a serial killer with a strange connection to the weather; multiple viewpoints, with a great deal of uncertainty surrounding how everyone is connected to events; and action that amounts to jabbing buttons to emulate the actions going on onscreen.

I'm not saying this as a bad thing - I quite liked Indigo Prophecy (as my previous comments attest), and most of my comments stand here as well, so far.

Here's what's jumped out to me so far as "what's new" after a few hours of play:

  • The first 15 minutes feels like "Playstation Home: Drama!" The graphics and environments are detailed, but also somewhat sterile. It gets less sterile once it gets rainier.
  • The "Simon Says" aspect is much better this time out. The PS3 controller is used well, including, to my great shock, the accelerometer.
  • Similarly, the timed aspects feel more about a way to generate naturally occurring narrative and conflict. I haven't felt punished yet by missing a timed element, and missing a button press doesn't necessarily fail a sequence. There's at least one sequence where I intentionally missed some presses because I wanted to "fail." In another, the missing of some hits mostly just added flavor.
  • Even though the voice acting is mediocre, and the writing is kind of ham-fisted, a sequence where "I" cheered up a little kid by playing with him was surprisingly emotionally effective.

So, yeah. Heavy Rain is a tech demo in a lot of ways, and it's definitely a beautifully flawed mess. But let's face it - that's my favorite kind of art, because it's ambitious, and it's interesting to talk about.

More thoughts after I finish it, I'm sure.

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