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Heavy Rain (PS4) Review

When Heavy Rain first released, videogames telling a story was certainly not a new thing, however it was usually melded together in such a way that the action took precedence over the story. Quantic Dream however took a new approach with Heavy Rain, because here the game was the story and the theory was that everything that happened was down to you.

I seem to remember that playing Heavy Rain for the first time on PS3 was a bit like watching a movie as you have an idea of what’s going to happen, however as you move on and the characters make decisions, these affect the outcome and suddenly things take an unexpected turn that perhaps you didn’t see coming. Having played before, I certainly did know what was coming on the PS4 version, however that didn’t seem to spoil the enjoyment.

Heavy Rain starts off innocently enough with the opening scene seeing you taking control of one of the main characters, named Ethan. In this scene you are introduced slowly to the controls by partaking in everyday tasks and domestic chores such as getting out of bed, having a shower and getting dressed. Later on you are introduced to the character’s family and you interact with them, therefore building up a picture of what this person’s everyday life is like. It’s all a very slow start to a game which promises so much, even slower than I remember from the PS3 version, however as you will soon find out, it’s all very necessary.

Without wanting to give away any spoilers, Heavy Rain tells the story of four characters who, through different circumstances, find themselves trying to solve the case of the Origami Killer. Throughout the game you will take separate control of, the previously mentioned Ethan, a Special Agent named Norman Jayden, a Private Investigator named Shelby and also Madison Paige, a journalist. Throughout you will be helping them to make decisions that will ultimately decide their fate.

Choices made throughout can be tough and they certainly throw up many moral dilemmas for you, most of which must be made on the spot and without too much time to think. As mentioned by the game’s Director, David Cage, each action has a consequence, although this seems to refer to the second half of the game as during the first half, any decision you make generally results in the same outcome.

You do certainly start to feel for the characters and since the story is so well told you will naturally make a decision based on your instincts rather than thinking “I wonder what would happen if I did this”. Heavy Rain is a clever game, of that there is no doubt, you will need to play through it quite a few times if you wish to see all of the endings and earn all of the rewards, but doing so will provide you with a different experience from what you saw first time around, specifically in the second half of the game.

As you play through Heavy Rain for the second and third time, you will make different decisions that will enable you to see what would have happened should you have chosen that path the first time around and it was only by doing this that I was able to provide what I feel to be a fair and balanced review.

The presentation and controls are all blended together so well that they are almost one. Throughout both the Third Person and QTE scenes you are prompted by on-screen actions which not only help you explore your surroundings for clues but also help with your decision making and act to keep you out of harms way (and sometimes place you right in front of it). With decision making being such a main part of the game I feel that the controls are perfectly suited to the situations you find yourself in, blending in well with the overall action and helping the game feel closer to real life than most others do.

There is no doubt that thanks to its wonderfully crafted story Heavy Rain will keep you gripped. As an example of this, throughout my first play through I had someone sit with me to watch, and they refused to move an inch until it was over in fear of missing out on what happened next.

Being an HD remake, the game is probably not the most stunning that you’ll see on PS4, although thanks to some very clever motion capture, the action, environments and characters look still look pretty wonderful when upscaled to PS4’s higher graphical capabilities.

Finally it’s worth mentioning the sound, although often overlooked, the drama and atmosphere the music, acting and sound effects bring really help to create an emotional mood, therefore depending on the situation you find your character in, all of the games elements will blend together to help you feel for them.

Although it can be at times, this game is not the all-action shoot fest that most are used to, instead it’s a slow mover which drags you in and gets such a grip on you that no amount of button presses will make you let go. Unfortunately for Heavy Rain though, I feel that most gamers may not have the patience to stick with it, which is a shame because if you do then you begin to realise that this game is a classic, with a story told like none before it.

Heavy Rain is part of the Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls Collection for PS4. You can read our review for Beyond Two Souls here.

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Review by: 

Joe Anderson (Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta)
Dan Pearson 

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Looks great
+ Still offers a story not to be missed


- Slow to get started
- Feels dated in places

Edited On 01 Mar, 2016

( 1 )
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 8 months ago
Will be getting this on my American account as I should get it cheap for owning beyond two souls

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