Weighs Heavy On The Heart And Mind
In 2004, Quantic Dream delivered a vision know as Indigo Prophecy. A spiritual successor to the point and click adventure games of the 80's Indigo Prophecy fell short of it's goals with a narrative that broke down in the third act. Now, Quantic Dream are back with a tangentially related game know as Heavy Rain. Following the interweaving story of four disparate yet connected characters on the hunt for the Origami Killer, Heavy Rain manages to be everything Indigo Prophecy wanted to be and then some
However, Heavy Rain is not a perfect game and most of it's stumbles come from said control scheme. Made up of context sensitive button presses and slight movements with the right analog stick, Heavy Rain ask the average game player to completely rethink how they play a video game. Intense fight scenes and tough moral choices are given a lot of weight because of the split second timing involved but, when the game fails to recognize an input, which happened more frequently than it should, the tension turns to frustration. Moving around in the world is more of chore than it needed to be as well, with the characters controlling like a car and often moving in the opposite direction desired or getting stuck on invisible barrier between people and thing in the environment.
Where Heavy Rain truly shines is in it's story and character moments. Voice acting aside (most of the main actors do a great job, while some of the bit players could have been better), it's the emotional resonance that hits with each twist and turn of the story that makes Heavy Rain a much needed experience. Many scenes involve one main character trying to catch another main character and leaving the players actions to determine who comes out on top and can effect the entire story with characters dying and entire sections of the game left out.
David Cage and his team at Quantic Dream have been down this road before and will most certainly do so again in the future. While 2004's Indigo Prophecy left a lot on the table, Heavy Rain swings even farther than it's predecessor and hits it out of the park with it's breathtaking visuals, exciting and thrilling story, and an unconventional control scheme.