By fraser 2 Comments
Heavy Rain's still relevant, yeh?
And quick time events, yeh?
Anyway, despite the considerable praise it gained in early press releases, I could never get excited about Heavy Rain when it was first shown. I was (/kinda still am) one of those anti- quick time events gamers. Hopefully not because it was a bandwagon that was fun to jump on, but because I had worthwhile reasons for it. On the very simplest of ideas, I dislike QTEs for two main reasons;
- I appreciate that QTEs allow for more cinematic and awe inspiring set pieces because they don't tie the character down to the same systems as the rest of the gameplay. BUT, I never end up looking at what's going on because I'm too busy looking at which buttons to press. A minor problem maybe, but I'd rather have standard action I can see than amazing action I can't. Obligatory obvious example;
- Secondly it's merely from a frustration based standpoint. I'll head to Resi 4 for this example. Enjoying a cutscene after some fun gameplay, put the controller down for a swig of whatever I'm drinking, or just to rest my fingers and BAM. QTE missed, cutscene over, watch it again now. I'm thinking most notably of the punishing Krauser knife fight scene.
(Also freedom to figure out how to play a game is a pretty nice sensation really.)
Previously avoiding Heavy Rain for those reasons, I approached today with some trepidation. My friend recently got a copy of it and we're gonna play through it together (literally, as I shall come to later). Here's my 2 cents;
I'm surprised at how this game manages to squash those previously held assumptions I just mentioned. (I mean, if I let the second one get to me this time it would be entirely down to my own laziness). The QTE syle gameplay actually reinforces the movements on screen in a way that feels fluid and interactive rather than distracting and simplified.
- However, if one of the aims of the QTE is for immersion, removing the complexity and distraction of gameplay and allowing for more awesome information to be received (something I disagree with but let's run with it), then I think Heavy Rain fails immensely. Immersion seems to be Heavy Rain's key aim; if it's shaving your character, changing a nappy, or drinking orange juice instead of progressing the narrative. Heavy Rain wants you to become fully immersed in the characters and plot by letting you carry out every mundane aspect of their experience. Only it doesn't. The QTE gameplay only allows you to do a very restricted set of things it wants you to, and when coupled with the clumsy ( Skate-like) 3 person control system, I just end up feeling restricted and often distracted from what's going on.
And that's a shame, because so far Heavy Rain's greatest asset is the story. I'm not sure about how much of the plot I've had a hand in creating so far, the game is certainly good at covering its tracks. But I have to say I am struck with how mature, depressing and just plain creepy the plot and setting is. The first 2-3 hours are pretty unrelenting. I'll go no further to avoid spoilers.
Biggest surprise so far.
Heavy Rain works as an enjoyable (/friendship breaking) co-op experience.My friend and I are currently playing the Move edition, but we're one “ nunchuck” short of the complete set. This being so, one of us controls the character through space with the Dual-Shock whilst the other uses the Move controller for the QTE prompts. This actually works pretty well! It means blame can't be placed on any one person when we completely fanny up the story!
I'm looking forward to getting back into this depressing-as-hell world tonight, but I have to say that's almost entirely for the story. I hope at some point tonight I will "get" the gameplay and everything will be awesome, because at the moment, anything that is potentially innovative about Heavy Rain is merely getting in the way of my enjoyment.
Other First Impressions
- Graphics are stunning apart from mouths. Mouths are creepy.
- Similarly creepy, but intentionally this time, is the soundtrack/score. Props to whoever did this.
- The Move controls have glitched a couple of times when opening boxes, forcing a restart and a switch back to Dual Shock control.
Anyone got any non-spoiler related things I should know about Heavy Rain before getting further?