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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gamer Girl Tuesday: Heavy Rain

I've decided to institute something new on the blog.  Every Tuesday I plan on posting something (a review, a rant, cool screenshots, etc) about what games I've been playing lately.  Since I'm cheap, they'll all be older games (that I've probably bought used), so don't expect anything groundbreaking.

Over the weekend I played my first go-round with Heavy Rain.  If you're unfamiliar with it, HR plays more like an interactive movie, where you choose what (within limits) your character says and does.  It reminded me a lot of a better, sleeker version of Indigo Prophecy, a much ignored PS2 game (I'm actually the only person I know that's played it).

Looking at the link for Indigo Prophecy, I found out that both games were created by the same company Quantic Dream, so there's no surprise they're similar.

The plot is centered around finding and catching the origami killer, a serial killer that drowns little boys, before he kills his latest victim.  You play as four different characters (any and all of which could die at some/any point in the game).  The thing that caught my attention about the game was 1. it was supposed to have awesome storytelling, 2. it was supposed to be creepy as hell, and 3. it has about 20 something prologues that combine to create tons of different endings, based on your choices and actions during the game.

Here there be spoilers!!!! I'm keeping character names out of it, but you might be able to piece together things from what I say.

My major problem was that it doesn't matter how many times you play the game, the killer is always the same person.

And that person sucks.

It was the only person in the game I really liked.

After finishing the game, I really felt angry and betrayed by the sloppy storytelling.  There are red herrings that were needed (it'd be boring if we knew who it was the whole time), but completely from left field and left unexplained. If you troll message boards, you'll find angry people yelling you just don't get it, and it's ambiguous on purpose, and of course the killer followed the person around and waited for a blackout, led them to a specific street corner, and put things in their hand, because THAT'S WHAT KILLERS DO!

Or you'll hear people say that the creators did it on purpose to generate "discussion" about the game and the plot holes inconsistencies twists in the plot.

Don't listen to them, it was just lazy storytelling.

It also didn't help that you're actually in the killer's mind the whole time, but they keep thinking innocent thoughts (It's so sad the boy died, that killer's a terrible person, etc. and the like) and are intent on catching the bad guy.  But the character was completely aware of what he/she was doing, so the game has been lying to us the whole time.

I'm all for unreliable narrator, but it was clumsily handled.

But this was all in hindsight.  While I played the game, I was completely immersed, to the point of yelling loud enough to be heard upstairs and shaking the controller with such force that I hit myself in the head.  It's a beautiful game, with some really intense scenes, and a classic film noir feel with some modern touches (the ARI system the FBI agent has was an awesome idea that I wish had been fleshed out a bit more).

Overall, I really enjoyed it while I was playing, but will probably not play it obsessively to see all the endings.

Although, I think I might try an epic fail run of it...

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