A city drenched in atmosphere
The story of Heavy Rain lurks within the dark corners of the noir thriller genre, creating a tense drama that grips you all the way to its climax. Make no mistake, this is strictly for adults, combining mature themes and evocative scenes to stir your emotions. Like a brilliant movie, Heavy Rain's tale of human despair and triumph takes you on a journey - and how it ends is up to you.
The Origami Killer is still at large, plaguing lives with grisly murders, and as you're introduced to the four main characters of the game, they become the latest to be affected by the killer's destructive path. Can you uncover the true identity of the criminal before more lives are put in danger?
Heavy Rain's well paced and chilling story is about your choices and their consequences. How far are you willing to go to save someone you love?
Dance in the beautiful rain
From its clever origami lesson at the start that teaches you the art of decorative paper folding, Heavy Rain's presentation impresses. It boasts a variety of characters that look, move and sound like real people. A commanding atmosphere is skilfully shaped by subtle use of body language (such as characters hugging themselves in the cold and rain), convincing environments and some sterling camera direction, which also uses a split-screen effect to simultaneously show multiple perspectives of a scene.
Complementing this mesmerising theatre is a soundtrack that captures the tone of each scene with a haunting string and piano combination. Whether it's watching someone play in the park or trying to fend off a vicious attacker, the orchestrated music is well composed for each of the many incidents you engage in.
Heavy Rain features multiple endings, each one based on the many paths you may take during the game - so there's plenty to keep you coming back to see what may have happened if you made different decisions. There are also bonuses to unlock, such as behind the scenes videos, and many Trophies to earn, confirming your achievements in the various trials you undertake.
Drowning in character depth
Heavy Rain puts you in control of four main characters, each with their own agenda and motivations. Their stories overlap, crossing paths as each chapter unfolds... and all are touched by the grim shadow of the Origami Killer.
Ethan Mars is a broken man. As the first character you're introduced to, Mars cuts a sombre figure, suffering from reality bending post-traumatic blackouts. He doesn't start off that way - after a well crafted introduction to his pleasant life, you get a first hand close-up of the fatal tragedy which destroys him and his family. From there the game puts his fate in your hands. Can you bring him out of the rain?
On the trail of the Origami Killer are two men, Scott Shelby and Norman Jayden. Both contrast in their methods. Shelby's quick-fire speech plays off his ever present asthma and slightly reckless old school detective practices, while Jayden's systematic and high-tech FBI profiler approach comes with an occasionally nervous patter thanks to a dangerously addictive personality.
Finally, there's Madison Paige, a photographer trying to deal with the loneliness and isolation of insomnia. Dragged into the destroyed lives created by the Origami Killer, Paige finds herself in situations which put her in grave danger, leaving it up to you if she survives.
Any of these characters can die if you make the wrong decisions in Heavy Rain - and if they do it doesn't necessarily mean the game is over. However, you will then have to play through the rest of the story with the cost of your actions...
How far are you willing to go?
Heavy Rain is a refreshingly different experience. While exploring the characters' lives, you can listen to their thoughts and then speak or act by performing the on-screen action using the Wireless Controller's buttons and its motion sensitive controls.
Each required action is context sensitive, meaning it corresponds to an on-screen prompt, which can range from throwing a boomerang to changing a baby's nappy. It's a very intuitive and well thought out control system, made all the more exciting during moments of high drama or physical conflict, which requires keen observation, sharp reflexes and good judgement to perform the correct actions as they flash on the screen. It's fast, engaging and fun.
Because you can never tell what will happen next, you can't afford to take your hands off the Wireless Controller during any part of Heavy Rain's gripping story. There's a very real sense of menace to the characters' situations, leaving you exhilarated and rewarded when you succeed and breathlessly stunned when you fail. Heavy Rain feels like nothing else out there - and you play a vital role in that unique experience.