Skip to content

Heavy Rain: Final Smack

Heavy Rain is a fascinating piece of work. It is the truest and most innovative attempt at interactive cinema to date. That doesn’t mean it’s a great game. It’s deeply flawed in many ways, and it fails at many critical levels. However, there are a few scenes that show the promise of the game and those scenes are amazing. It also improves as the story continues. So it’s a hard game to judge, but there are things here that should be seen in terms of the development of narrative in games. Details within.


– The game models generally look good and it’s a pretty game overall. The characters are compelling and the scenes are enjoyable as cinematics.

– When the controls map to the content well, there’s an amazing connection to the emotions of the scene. There are moments in the game where you feel totally in sync with the characters and that’s pretty remarkable. In particular, the third origami scene is a historic moment in video games in terms of conveying emotion through a button sequence alone. This is pure brilliance.

– You really can influence the story. It’s not as dramatic as you may want it to be, but characters can really die, you can really miss clues, and decisions you make do change the story. It’s sometimes invisible to you, but when you realize the story could have gone differently because of your choice, it’s quite powerful.


– The camera and movement controls are terrible. You will fail scenes because you can’t see something or can’t get to where you want. I know that they are doing weird things with the controller that are necessary for the good controls in the game, but that does not forgive the fact that walking and looking are not clear.

– The beginning of the game is far too slow and boring. If I weren’t particularly interested in this game, I might not have gotten past it. The story needs to kick in sooner.

– When the controls don’t work, they can be counter-intuitive or silly. Many scenes in the game are overwrought because they need to make some challenging and it can quickly become ridiculous. More significantly, the display of the controls between different types of button presses and the context-sensitive alterations can be unreadable and thus frustrating.

– The narrative is just not good. Too much of the game is torture porn, particularly around the female characters, where it borders on disgusting (and for me crosses the line to gross). There are a lot of holes that aren’t explained or motivations that don’t make sense. And you don’t believe the killer. The spoiled reason (in white) is: when you have the chance to play the killer ignorant of his true identity, you have him do things that establish a character that could not be a killer. It’s horribly inconsistent. In a story game, it’s just not acceptable to have a bad story.


Heavy Rain is an important game. It is ultimately too flawed to be a good game, but it points towards future games that could be brilliant. Quantic Dream deserves credit for really tackling the hard problems here, and despite the many, many, many issues, you should at least rent the game to see its few true moments of genius.

Posted in Hardcore, Reviews.

Tagged with .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.