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Heavy Rain Day#2: The Mystery Afoot

Long session on day 2 of Heavy Rain and the narrative is on full force. Unfortunately, the weird controls and inconsistent agency from the first session are making it hard for me to connect to the story. I just keep feeling like the game is lying to me about how much control I have, and that I’m just going to end up doing what it wants regardless of my actions. Nonetheless, there are a few nice moments in this session, and the mystery plot is pretty elaborate. If they actually give me the chance to investigate the crime myself and not walk through scenes, this game could be quite cool. Spoilers within.

We pick up the game on Tuesday, 8:05 pm , and .68 inches. I’m driving up to crime scene CS, and when I stop, my hand is shaking while I’m holding something, I get out of car and get control.  I walk up to the police tape, and I learn I’m an FBI guy.  I have to take out a badge, and of course is a multi-step process of getting it out of my pocket and opening it. Sigh. Oh, we’re in the future. I figure that out when I put on some weird sci-fi recording glasses. It’s a nice effect, but it makes me wonder why nothing else in the game looks like the future. I walk across the crime scene and go to the body. I talk to Detective Blake and get to ask a few questions. The text is a little small here, so it’s hard to know what I’m asking or what buttons to hit. Blake tells me there’s no leads yet or witnesses, and then he cuts me off and tells me we’ll talk more back at the office. Back to detectiving, I look at the body. I have to hit R1 to activate my special future glove. That lets me examine the victim in more detail. The victim was holding origami only after death. He probably drowned. There’s an orchid on his chest. Jeremy Bowles is the victim’s name, and there’s blood on the leg from an after moving cut.

I wander around the map for more clues. When in detective mode, there are symbols to look at but they don’t lead to any strong clues. The detective comes back to say he’s leaving, and I choose to leave as well. I wander around a little bit before going,  and what…did game freeze on me? Fuck — restart. There’s a close-up of character’s face as the scene starts which tells me who I am — that’s a good touch. I redo the scene from going to the body. I look around a little bit more and then leave. I have a second where I can’t duck under the tape for some reason — the command to duck under just doesn’t appear for a bit. When it does, I duck under the tape, get in car, and head out.

I come back to the first character, and it’s 1pm Tuesday with a little more rain.  I’m taking a Rorschach test, but I don’t answer the way I want because I can’t see the symbols I’m supposed to press (they’re too small). There’s a psychologist telling me he’s worried about me, but that I shouldn’t worry myself. My thoughts swirl too fast and small for me to conduct this conversation well, but I choose to reveal to him that I’ve been having blackouts. I learn I was in a coma for six months, and that the blackouts could be brain trauma. Time’s up in the session and I leave.

We cut with the same character at 4:10 on the same day, with almost an inch of rain. (Boy, Quantic, do we really need this weather thing again? Wasn’t the temperature in Indigo Prophecy enough?) I’m with my son Sean in the park. I ask if something is the matter with him, but he doesn’t answer. I find a boomerang in his bag and I have a chance to throw it. I fail a couple of times, then I get it — the controls in this game are weird.  Doing it impresses Sean, and then I try doing it with him and succeed the first time.  I do a seesaw game with him then a swing game. He seems happier, and so I choose to have us leave. He mentions that he wishes things could be like before when Jason was alive, and I CS agree. He wants to take a ride on the carousel before go, so I buy a ticket and he gets on. As he rides around,  I start to black out, looking at something afar. We cut to street where I miss QT event as a car comes at me. I call for Sean and run back to the park. I find Sean’s bag, but there’s no kid. I go home, and no Sean there either. I run to the street, and see an origami thing in my hand.

We cut to 7:55 same day, and 1.3 inches of rain. I’m in the FBI guy in an office. I’m waiting for someone, so I can play a game with my glasses/glove. As I wait, I realize I can actually use right analog controls to change the way I sit. I don’t know what to say about that.  The captain appears and I talk to him and tie his tie while we talk. He’s concerned about politics and wants the Origami Killer found. I then go to my office. When I arrive,  I seem surprised by the disrepair. I move furniture around, sit, and put my glasses on. There’s an  interesting take on VR as I virtually change my office by picking a new setting from a set of natural spaces. I chose a light forest background and get to work analyzing clues from the crime scene. I find some car tracks at the scene. The origami has no clues. (I’m manipulating these files using the sixaxis, and the control is stupid.) There are 8 victims, all young boys drowned in rain water, and there is always a railroad line near the bodies.  All of the victims disappear in fall, and the victims always found less than 6 hours after death, meaning they were alive in perp’s hands for days. The killer is white, 30-45, smart, and employed with free time. There’s also a virtual map my character pulls down like a shade to see the physical location of some clues. Evidence research done, I close the files and drop out of the virtual world. My hand starts shaking, and I go to the bathroom clumsily, using right analog controls to stop by hands from shaking. I get to the sink, and that’s where I stop.

There’s a camera transition to a different part of the police station to the father being interviewed about the son’s disappearance. In the questioning, I get the time of Sean’s disappearance right, but I can’t remember the color of his clothes. I miss a dialogue choice for why I lost him and the father gives a vague answer. I choose to admit to my divorce, but then say he has no reason to run away.  I CS ask about the Origami Killer being involved in Sean’s disappearance, and I’m told it’s not the case, but if it is, I have four days to find him alive. As I walk out, I CS talk to my ex-wife.  She confronts me about Jason in anger and regrets it. She starts to cry and turns away from me. It annoys me greatly that I can’t do anything here — it’s all CS, no dialogue choices. The scene ends with our awkward silence.

Next scene is back to the detective. It’s Tuesday at 9:50 pm. I enter a convenience store and talk to guy there about his killed son, but he doesn’t want to. I try pushing him on the fate of another captured kid but it doesn’t help. I go back to get some more asthma medication before I go, but as I do, a guy comes in to rob the store. I try to talk him out of it, and I get pretty far but I blow the conversation at the end for no reason I can see. It doesn’t feel wrong that I lost — it was a tricky thing to do — but I don’t know what I did wrong. It doesn’t really matter though because I then quickly take him down in a fight. Isn’t this exactly the same scene as the last time? It feels pretty contrived.  Of course, the guy behind the counter helps me now by giving me a box. He found it in a locker after the son was killed that he was sent to by the killer, and inside I find a toy or something of a green lizard.  As I leave, the guy behind the counter tells me that he now knows there is good in this place since I helped him.

Hey, there’s a female lead finally. Interestingly, they are all white people — Indigo Prophecy was much more multi-ethnic. It’s Wednesday, 2:44 am. I’m in an apartment and I wake up on a sofa. This character is a  good model. I get a hot drink (I can’t sleep), and then see a weird camera angle as I read a magazine — am I being watched? Wow, I can pee IC in this game. Not sure what audience that is for, but it’s not me. And I get some topless female nudity as I take a shower. I see someone run from the fridge as I exit the bathroom, but where is he? I look around, but I can’t find person in space. Then suddenly, I’m jumped and fighting masked guys in the apartment. It’s a long fight and I do pretty well fending them off. I run to the bathroom and when I get inside, I am CS caught by a third masked guy in the bathroom. He cuts my throat, and I wake up — it was a dream.

We cut to 7:31 am Wednesday, and it’s back to the father. I’m in my house and I find a letter. There’s not much by way of clues there — something about children and parents in church. There’s also a locker number with the letter. The next step is to go to the locker. I try to leave by front door, but there are reporters are out there. I go out the back door instead and exit from an alley to my car. We cut to a Grand Central like place filled with people. I’m starting to black out because I can’t take crowds.  There’s lots of qt stuff to keep control of my fear and this resolves to a very nice moment where there crowd freezes around me and I’m knocking them down as I walk. With the crowd frozen, I see Jason in the space and try to find him. I don’t catch him, but I come back to reality curled in a ball by the lockers. I find my locker and open it. Inside, there’s a box like the store owner’s box.  We cut to a motel room, and I open the box. Inside are a gun, phone, origami, and some kind of memory drive. I find an address in the origami (parking lot 4988 Roosevelt Ave lexington), and putting the drive into the phone shows a video of Sean in a cage in a floor. There’s a message:  “five origami figures, each figure is a trial, each trial provides letters, the letters reveal an address”  I put box down and head out to go to the garage. I hope putting box down was not a mistake, but I didn’t seem able to pick it up before I left.

We cut to Wednesday, 9:31 am, with 1.5 inches of rain. I’m the FBI guy giving an explanation to the police of my investigation. I say that the perp doesn’t  hate his victim, and I talk about my geo-investigation which still has a pretty large possible range of locations for my killer’s home. He kills the victims with rain water by having the victim’s cells fill up with water. Blake is being an aggressive dick the whole time, and have choice of being calm or mean to deal with his sarcastic attacks.  I go mean because he is pissing me off, and the captain breaks it up. We decide to investigate some apartments, and we cut to outside an apartment that Blake breaks into when no one answers the door. It’s a creepy apartment covered with crosses — this guy is a religious nut. Looking around, we find lots of drugs and crosses in the space.  The nut comes back while we’re inside, and I start to talk to the guy.  Blake gets him riled up by accusing him of the murders and getting in his face.  I have an intervene button, but hitting it seems to do nothing. The nut suddenly pulls a gun. I slowly and carefully talk him down. When he drops the gun, Blake goes in to arrest him, and the guy pulls a crucifix and tries to exorcise Blake. I don’t shoot him, but I think a QTE would have let me. Blake takes him away, saying he wouldn’t have given the guy a chance. That’s the end of the scene, and I think enough for tonight.

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