Heavy Rain – Review (PS3)

NOTE: This review is SPOILER FREE so don’t worry about it affecting your experience with Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain is the spiritual successor to Fahrenheit, a fantastic PS2 title that unfortunately collapsed in on itself during it’s final third.

It seems it’s creator David Cage has learnt from that experience and has used the lessons to help form the experience that is Heavy Rain.

And I say experience because Heavy Rain is unlike anything I’ve played before.

Telling the story of the Origami Killer, who kidnaps young boys and drowns them in rain water, Heavy Rain sees you controlling four main characters and through their actions – whether everyday stuff like carrying in the shopping or a frantic fight for their life – you get a real feel for the characters.

Another reason you feel an attachment to them is the well documented continuous story element – whereby if one of the characters die the story continues, just without you getting further evidence/clues that the character would’ve uncovered.

You can’t actually ‘lose’ in Heavy Rain. Most games are like mathematics exams – you have to work out how to get from A to B. There are several ‘right’ answers but a lot more ‘wrong’ answers. If you get the question wrong you start from stratch and try to work it through.

In Heavy Rain the story continues from A to B regardless but your input shapes the way the action unfolds. Presumably the killer is the same each time (I’ve only had one playthrough so far) but the eventual outcome will vary depending on how your story was formed. Worst case scenario if you kill off all the main characters you will end up with a shorter story and, possibly, no resolution.

Knowing during every moment that a slip up may result in the character’s death as opposed to just having to retry the section really ramps up the pressure. Imagine Kratos from God Of War dying permanently if you messed up a QTE or died during gameplay 😮 Obviously it’s a different type of game so you can’t compare them directly but it means you care a lot more about making sure no-one gets bumped off.

You interact with your surroundings using the right stick to open doors, sit down, choose what to look at etc. Moving is old skool – R2 is forward whichever direction you’re facing with the left stick changng direction. Pressing L2 brings up a selection of the characters thoughts which can be triggered by the face buttons.

During some cutscenes you’ll be required to take part in QTE events – pressing, holding or tapping various buttons and using the right stick. But Heavy Rain isn’t just a bunch of QTE’s, you will have the freedom to investigate environments and only once did the game (via the character thinking to himself) prompt me to go back and do something before I could leave the scene.

Graphically this game is up there with the best of them and because the camera angles are dictated by the game you’re guaranteed the game will look amazing all the time.

It’s not flawless – I had a few glitches whereby an unrelated character stumbled into view as a cut scene started (presumably as it’s all running on the same engine in real time) and the main character walked right through them.

Friends that have played the game are saying things like ‘this is amazing’ or ‘I’m astounded’ which is pretty high praise from regular gamers. After finishing Heavy Rain I could not stop talking about it with everyone I met – which is quite an achievement without discussing the story 🙂

And I am extremely wary of ruining any part of this experience for anyone that reads this, which is why I haven’t mentioned anything specific storywise.

Heavy Rain is a game that deserves to be played by the masses – I suspect, sadly, that it won’t be but if Sony marketed this right (I’d release a full trailer as you would for a film personally) it could break through.

Some people will hate this game and think it’s boring but for me it’s great to play through a strong story and the mundane moments help build the characters.

It says a lot that as soon as I finished this game I wanted to play through it again straight away. I want to give the characters a slightly different personality, experiment to see what happens and find out how it changes the story.

Heavy Rain is by no means perfect but it brings a whole raft of new ideas and innovation to the table.

At the very least rent this and give it a shot – once I started I couldn’t stop playing it and I hope many more people enjoy it as much as I did.

Rating: 9/10

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GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 40-31

Streets Of Rage

Another round of games as we get to the business end of the list.

You guys know the drill by now:

I decided, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them. This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

A few provisos before we hit the next ten games…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 🙂

 

40. ASSASSIN’S CREED (Playstation 3)

AssassinsCreed

At one stage I stopped playing this as I was bored of the whole ‘climb up a tall building to unlock more of the map’ gameplay. I came back to it months later and boy am I glad I did. When I finally got to the actual proper assassinations the game took off. This was like a medieval version of Hitman, only with less choice of how to kill your victim. Nevertheless as you gain more weapons/skills Assassin’s Creed comes on leaps and bounds. Not to mention the parkour style gameplay. The complex story was really enjoyable and I look forward to the sequel later this year.

 

39. ROADBLASTERS (Arcade)

An old arcade favourite of mine – getting behind that futuristic steering wheel in the arcade cabinet… Oh man, it wasn’t hard to believe it was actually the future. 🙂 You were driving a really cool car but fuel is low and you have to pick up fuel orbs to keep going. But the absolute reason this game ruled? An aeroplane floated above you and dropped weapon based power ups that attached themselves to the top of you car 😎

 

38. STREETS OF RAGE (Sega Mega Drive)

StreetsOfRage

“What was once a happy, peaceful, productive city, full of life and activity, has fallen into the hands of a secret criminal syndicate…” 🙂 Streets Of Rage was the Sega Mega Drive’s ‘Final Fight.’ A brilliant side scrolling beat ’em up you could take on the role of Adam Hunter, Axel Stone or Blaze Fielding (Blaze ftw) – three former cops who set up their own strike force as the police network crumbles. The co-op play was brilliant as you crunched and punched your way through wave after wave of thugs. And if it all got too much a tap of the ‘A’ button would activate one of the coolest special moves in gaming history. A sleek police sports car would arrive as back up, with an officer firing a shot from a rocket launcher to kill all the enemies onscreen 😎

 

37. SENSIBLE SOCCER (Sega Mega Drive)

SensibleSoccer

Well I certainly love a football game don’t I? Sensible Soccer was all about having fun. 4-4 draws, 10-1 wins – it was all fair game as the concept of a ‘banana shot’ was taken to the extreme. For me though it was also the flexibility of the editing mode. You could edit any of the teams or players – literally hundreds of teams. It was possible to recreate the lower leagues of English football yay! I managed to near enough perfect the lob shot from just inside your own half – lethal from either side of the pitch, if you timed it right the ball would bounce over the stranded keeper and into the net. Good times.

 

36. PREMIER MANAGER  (Sega Mega Drive)

PremManager

After Football Manager on the ZX this was my next dalliance with management. This had a great two player option and me and my brother both tried to take third division teams to glory (me Wigan, him Preston). This was a good game with a solid management base that allowed you not only control of the playing side of things but also the corporate side. You could sell advertising hoarding space within the ground, hell you could even build a new ground. A really nice console management sim that I played a lot of.

 

35. MANHUNT (Playstation 2)

Manhunt

Can you say controversy? Manhunt is one of those games that people who have never played it seem to have the strongest opinion on it. You play as James Earl Cash, a death row inmate who awakes to find himself not dead but being offered a shot at freedom by a voice in his ear. Effectively this ‘director’ wants Cash to take part in a cross between The Running Man and a snuff film. There are several ways to kill opponents with various implements that are shown in context of how the finished film will look. It’s a nasty game but the way the story plays out – it has you committing these acts to try to survive… It’s brutal but ultimately very very clever.

 

34. THE WARRIORS (Playstation 2)

TheWarriors

I was pretty excited when I heard there was a Warriors game coming. That excitement went through the roof when I found our Rockstar (makers of GTA) were doing it. While it didn’t break any barriers in the game world and the spray can bits were a chore this was a very enjoyable game. Fleshing out a bit of backstory and some of the other gangs. 3/4’s of the story takes place before the events of the film and then you play through the film’s plot in the last quarter of the game. Ah, the Baseball Furies!!!!

 

33. HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY 

HitmanBM

Well I mentioned him earlier and now everyone’s favourite bald hitman makes his own appearance on the charts. The thing that got me about this game was the wealth of options you could use to kill the victim. I know of two other people who played this game and often when discussing missions the three of us all had done it a different way: “oh I shot him from the opposite balcony”, “really I snuck in and poisoned his drink” or “I dropped it from the roof and strangled him.” It really was versatile.

 

32. THEME PARK (Sega Mega Drive)

ThemePark

Ever wanted to run a Theme Park? Of course you have, choosing the rides – building a rollercoaster. It’s all here in this classic along with the more sinister side of business. Workers striking over pay? You seemingly extending the hand of a wage rise then retracting it at the last minute so they get a minimal increase 🙂 Adding tons of salt to the meals on the food stand then hiking up the price of the drinks next door 😆 A very fun lesson in taking advantage of your staff/customers 😉 but also it’s hard to match that feeling of pride when you completed your park, opened it to the public and they all loved it!

 

31. FAHRENHEIT (Playstation 2)

FahrenheitScreen

This was one I played recently (see my review for full details) – another Oggy recommendation so cheers for that mate. 🙂 This is more than just a game, it’s an interactive film that you control. Having control over more than one character was excellent and led to some great situations. For example you control Lucas Kane after a murder and getting away, then you controlling the cops investigating the murder. The story lost it’s way toward the end but I still thoroughly enjoyed this title. Every gamer should try it.

The Top 30 is up next!

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Fahrenheit (PS2) – Review

fahrenheit

It’s not often I review a PS2 game these days but had heard amazing things about Fahrenheit from a while back and then two of my friends recommended it (cheers Oggy and Hollow Snake) (note that link contains very adult and colourful language) 🙂 .

Fahrenheit tells the story of Lucas Kane as he comes to in a diner restroom having just murdered someone.

The real genius of this game is that it’s almost like an interactive film – except your actions have a consequence and while there is an arching storyline there are several endings and different ways things can play out.

It almost reminded me of a game version of the old Fighting Fantasy books I read as a kid (without the Orcs and Dwarves though :lol:)

The refreshing thing about Fahrenheit is that you play as a few of the characters, not just Lucas.

fahrenheit2

So once you’ve got Lucas out of the diner and someone discovers the victim, you control the police officers (Carla and Tyler) conducting the investigation.

You’re investigating a murder you just committed! 😮

Obviously with Lucas having no recollection of his actions until after the murder you use the police officers, as well as Lucas himself, to try and help solve the overall mystery.

Using the left stick to move around, the right stick is reserved for interaction. So if you approach a table for instance you might get two icons with a direction each. Say left for coffee cup and right for plate. You then press on the right stick what option you want to take.

The same goes for conversations, often with four options to steer the interaction in the direction you want. Also this isn’t something where you can just go through and choose all the options one after the other. You might get to ask two things then the conversation ends.

Likewise in stressful situations you’ll only have a few seconds to decide how you answer, which is really cool.

You’ll also get quick time events where you’ll have to copy pressing the sticks in whatever directions flash up on the screen. This is usually reserved for bursts of action and make for some frantic manoeuvering of the sticks! 😆

fahrenheit4

It doesn’t mean game over if you ask the wrong questions (at least not everytime!) or if you mess up a quick time event during a conversational cut scene. All that happens is that you don’t get all of the information you would’ve done.

It’s a great system that often leaves you wondering if you should’ve asked this or done that etc. 😎

My only complaint with the game was a couple of tedious flashback sequences of Lucas as a boy that were essentially badly done stealth sections but really they form such a small part of the game it seems unfair to judge them too harshly.

Fahrenheit is a very innovative game, which is really saying something as it is is almost 4 years old. The whole game feels brand new – obviously excluding the graphics. While they are more than respectable for the PS2 they pale in comparison to even average looking PS3 games.

fahrenheit3

Something else I loved was the way the game would wrap up with a voiceover at the game over screen if you ‘failed’ – technically you could stop playing there and you’d have a finished story (with a lot of questions unanswered but still…).

The storyline is excellent, although fairly far fetched so if you’re looking for gritty realism this won’t be for you.

Fahrenheit is an adult game. There is sex, violence and a complex storyline here, which to be honest younger gamers may not really understand. Not to sound patronising, there are some that would get it – just seems like this could be a little deep for some younger gamers (it’s a 15 rated game).

If you are looking for something completely different but refreshing and enjoy watching films then I’d recommend Fahrenheit – right from the off the tone is set and this is one of the best made games I’ve played for a long time.

The guys who made this are currently working on Heavy Rain (see trailer below) so I’m now even MORE excited about that game.

RATING: 9/10