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Heavy Rain Day#4 Part 1: Pushing my Buttons

Day 4 in Heavy Rain is my marathon session to finish. I’ve divided it into two posts. In the first half, I have an assortment of frustrations and amazement. The frustrations are the same as before: the controls are often confusing, and there are some ridiculous plot points. On the other hand, there is a moment in this session I have never experienced before — a moment where the controls so beautifully connect to the content that I am sucked into a scene simply by the way I have to press the buttons. If nothing else, play the third origami challenge — it shows why Heavy Rain, despite serious deep flaws, is a fascinating and important game. Spoilers within

I start this session by replaying the butterfly. I am still so pissed off that I have to do this because of the stupidity of the display of the controls. I get through it this time with only one error, and at the end is a table with another phone and memory card. I CS plug the card into the phone — there’s another video of Shaun in the pit  and I get a set of letters wheel-of-fortune style that seem to spell out the location of the son. With that, I CS leave and the scene ends.

Next scene is the woman, Madison. I again have to heal the father up, and the controls remain kind of stupid with a lot of rotation and holding that’s harder than it should be given what I’ve found actually bandaging myself and other people in real life. The narrative around this woman is disappointing — does she have any role in this story other than a nurse? I bandage Ethan (the father) up, but I don’t have time to give him medicine. Why? I CS wait for him to heal, which the cuts in the scene imply takes some time. Then he gets up and asks why I stayed. The controls are gone before I have a chance to hit a button, so I give no answer. He asks about me, and I choose to tell him about how I had a tough life. At this point, I choose to demand some answers, but he says nothing.  I offer to help him, but he refuses and I exit the room. I get control of Ethan, get the next origami, and leave.

Back to FBI guy in an interrogation room with the suspect we picked up last time.  The suspect is claiming he was just running because he’s on parole, and his alibi checks out. Blake (with me in the interrogation watching room) is pissed this guy is not the suspect. The mother of Sean calls and wants to talk to the cops. We go out to the main office to meet her, and we cut to her saying Ethan (the father) hasn’t been normal. She asks them to find her son. We cut to 9:45 (over 2 inches of rain) and the cops go to Ethan’s psychologist. The psychologist refuses to help us and threatens to report us.  Blake responds by jumping the guy.  I try to reason with Blake, but he doesn’t listen. I throw Blake off after he roughs up the doctor a bit more, and Blake tells me he won’t forget that. At this point, the doctor tells us Ethan has been obsessed with death since Jason’s death, has visions of people drowning, and dropped an origami in his office. It’s not looking good for Ethan. We cut to a CS of Blake and FBI guy in a car heading somewhere. Blake puts out an APB for the father, saying he’s the origami killer. That’s the end of that scene.

The next scene is Thursday morning and a detective scene. There’s an older guy hitting golf balls (is it off of a balcony?) at a golf range and I CS walk in. The old guy greets me and offers me the chance to hit some balls. I grab a club and ball and start hitting; I get an impressive shot. The guy invited me here to talk about how I was looking into his son. I’m being cagey, but get another bad shot and then a great one. The old guy tries to bribe me and when I refuse, he threatens me to stay away. I leave unfazed, and he hits another ball as we fade out.

Back with the father again, getting out of his car. I enter a unmarked door into an industrial space with porcelain lizards on the ground. I smash one open to find a key, unlock and open the door at the end of the hall, and I find a dark, dirty apartment room with a prominent placed table inside — very Silent Hill 2 scene. There’s a small screen on the table that tells me that I have to cut off a part of my finger to get the information about my son. The very mention of this TOTALLY disconnects me from the narrative. I have no interest in playing through torturing myself. I find a knife in a side room. I then sit down at the table and try to cut my finger off. The controls are very shaky and finnicky. It’s not easy to do, and every time I fuck up, he flinches and can’t go through with it. I finally do it with shaky controls and it takes three more disgusting steps before I finish. It ends with Ethan rolling on the ground in tremendous pain. I have to give it to Heavy Rain for this scene. It totally works.  All the dissociation I felt disappeared and I was immediately throw back into the character. I have never had a control scheme, something as simple as the way I push buttons and the related feedback, accomplish that so cleanly before. It is horrifying for sure. Anyway, I get more info when I punch through floor for it. It’s more letters for my wheel-of-fortune style address. I exit the room to end the scene.

I’m then back with the woman, or wait, the cops I guess. They’ve tracked Ethan to the building, via some tracer on his car. Madison shows up on her bike and goes into the building. How did she know what room? Anyway, she goes inside and the cops assume she lives there. She tells Ethan that the cops are outside, and we have to find a way out. I look around and accidentally open the front door again. I try to go a wrong way and Ethan tells me to stop. I move a box on a false start, then clear a window which looks like the actual escape. I have to push something over to the window to reach it. I then get him up and out as the cops appear. Could I have failed that?  It felt close, but maybe it was timed that way. We get out into an alley, and cops jump a fence to follow us. We try to get to a subway station across stopped traffic, but the cops close in. Madison runs and Ethan is caught.

In the next scene, I’m the FBI guy talking to the father. I choose an understanding tactic first. This scene is weird — whose side am I on? I choose to try asking about the victims. I kind of want Ethan to get out, but I’m playing the FBI guy, and I don’t know what I can do to accomplish that. Ethan says he’s the only person who can save his son.  The FBI agent is unbelieving by my choice (I’m trying to roleplay him here), but Ethan sticks to his story. Blake tells the cop manning the camera to turn it off. Blake’s going to beat him up, so knowing the drill, I move the FBI guy into position. I stop Blake right away. He threatens me, I punch him, and he pulls a gun on me and tells me to leave.  I leave CS as Blake begins beating Ethan, and now have to figure out what to do next.  I want to go into the interrogation watching room and turn the camera on, but the game won’t let me interact with the camera when I enter that room.  I go talk to the captain instead, but he just gives me the breaking eggs analogy and tells me to stay out of it.  I say I know Ethan is innocent, but he doesn’t care.  I CS go back to my office, and I get two choices I can’t read before they disappear. He takes his drug inhalant before I can do anything and collapses to the floor.  I don’t like how out of my control this scene is, and just as I think that, the scene’s over — FUCK.

I’m in a scene with the FBI agent back at an hotel, and I’m playing piano badly because I’m not hitting the right keys. A waiter talks to me, and the agent says CS why Ethan is not the killer — he doesn’t fit the profile of the killer and  he waited so long to do anything with his own son.  The waiter tells me to review my files and to avoid the drugs. I think this is a drug trip. I cut to back in the office, checking files. In there, I find a car on the video from Shaun’s disappearance. The car leads to the guy who stole the car, which would qualify as a lead to follow. I leave my case file and  go to see Ethan in the interrogation room. I send the guarding cop out and tell Ethan that I’ll help him up and promise to try to get him out. I go back to interrogation watching room, turn off the camera, tell the cop (who returned when I walked out) to leave, and take a police jacket. I give Ethan police jacket,  but need to get the handcuff keys to free Ethan from the interrogation table. The cop told me they were at his desk, but where is that? I wander a little, but quickly find it. I pick up the key in a CS while tying my shoe. I go back in to free him — isn’t this very weird for an FBI agent to be doing? I uncuff Ethan and give him the jacket, telling him to keep his head down so he can get out. And against all logic of how a major fugitive would be handled in a police station, he walks right out the door. I CS watch him go and that’s the scene.

I end up back with the father in the hotel.  The woman (Madison) shows up with groceries and tells me there are no cops outside.  I choose to confide in her about the crimes, and I also tell her about my blackouts and my trials. She says I’m destroying myself and there has to be another way, and I CS tell her to leave. She does. I really didn’t want to send her away, so I try going to the door, but I can’t go after her and give up. The next origami is to kill somebody. I’m not going to do it, but Ethan CS walks out the door with the gun, so we’ll see where that’s going.

Next piece is back to the detective and prostitute on Thursday with 3.3 inches of rain. That seems like a large amount of rain. I heard once that an inch of rain is equal to a foot of snow. I hope for Heavy Rain’s sake that’s wrong, because I want to know where in America you can rely on getting 3 feet of snow in like 4 days. Anyway… We’re at antique shop, looking for someone named Manfred. I find him in the back of the shop. It’s been ten years since they’ve seen each other. Turns out Manfred makes clocks, and that I quit the police a while ago. He looks for scotch for us to toast with. The phone rings, but I can’t find it because of the stupid camera. I miss the call. Lauren gets it, and I am sure I missed a clue — FUCK YOU GAME. I ask Manfred about the letter, and he tells me the type of typewriter that made the envelope.  He goes back to get the records of people he’s done typewriter repair for. There’s weird moment where Lauren (the prostitute) is playing with a music box and there’s a strange noise. After the noise, I go back and look for Manfred and find him dead. Wtf? The cops are on a phone off the hook and I CS hang it up. Lauren comes back and sees the body. She wants to call cops, but I CS say no time if we’re going to find Shaun. I  have to clean up all of our fingerprints before we go. I wander around the space looking for things we touched and clicking on each of them to wipe them off. I get everything I remember and leave. We cut to in the car. I CS tell Lauren it’s too dangerous for her to stick around. I try to talk to her, but she grabs the wheel of the car. I have to control it with the sixaxis and I avoid crashing. She gets out of the car when we stop, and I decide to continue to take her with me. I go out of the car and choose to give her my jacket.  She comes with me and the scene ends with us back in the car.

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