Thursday, May 19, 2011

Theater Thursday: Heavy Rain

Its Theater Thursday so you know the rules. More than likely whatever I talk about in this post will more than likely have spoilers in it. Tread accordingly.

Yes I know Heavy Rain is a PS3 game but hear me out when I say that watching a playthrough of this is better than a lot of movies I've seen lately.

The game opens with you playing as Ethan Mars, husband of wife Grace and father of sons Jason and Shaun. Shortly after Jason's 10th birthday the family go out for the day at the mall for some shopping. Grace takes Shaun off for shoe shopping leaving Ethan and Jason on their own. Jason runs off to a clown selling balloons and when his dad catches up he begs him for one. Acquiescing to his son's desires Ethan turns to to pay for the balloon but when he turns back his son is gone. Frantically searching through the mall Ethan's pulse is racing (and notice how the music adds to the tension, which happens all throughout the game).

Finally making his way outside our worried dad finds Jason across the street, still holding his red balloon. He calls for him and his son makes his way back across the street, failing to notice the car that's coming. Ethan attempts to save him but fails. Very hard to watch.

The next part of the game picks up two years after that day. As you can see everything has gone from happy and cheery to dark and gloomy. Ethan has divorced from Grace and custody of Shaun is shared. Shortly after while at the park Shaun disappears and Ethan now has 5 origami figures in his possession. These are the work of the Origami Killer. A killer that kidnaps young boys and after about 4 days kills them. Also as part of the modus operandi the father of the mission boy is given 5 origami figures, each with directions to a task to complete. Upon completion the dad is given a clue in the form of some letters in an address. Gain all five pieces and the dad gets the location of his son. Fail and the son dies.

Quite a way to start off I know. Through the course of this game you will take control of 4 people.

Ethan Mars - A dad whose son Shaun is the latest victim of the Origami Killer, leading him through all sorts of hell in the form of trials to get him back.

Norman Jayden - An FBI agent brought in to help with the investigation of the case.

Madison Paige - A journalist trying to cover the story on the killings.

Scott Shelby - An investigator that has been hired to look into the case on behalf of the families of the killer's victims.

Over time while playing as these four people (you don't have any control over when you play as who) you will gather evidence to learn the identity of the killer as well go through a series of trials in hopes of saving Shaun.

I have to say that this is a well made game. Other than the button press sequences that show up on the screen you can really get the feeling you're watching a movie. No heads up display no power meter no explicit game over condition. Oh that no explicit ending thing. Of the four main characters (and Shaun) they each have multiple endings that are chosen depending on who well you perform during the game. Meaning that as you play its very possible that some of the four characters may die and their deaths could very well have an effect on one of the remaining characters.

All in all and I have to say that what kept me hooked on this was the music. Just like in a thriller the music of this game is important. In most video games there is some sort of music going on all the time. However more like a movie the music comes in during certain situations and can get really intense when the action itself gets intense.

And I'll tell you like a good movie this one had me unsure until pretty late in the game about who the killer was.

If you like the likes of Shutter Island and Seven then I recommend watching a play through of this game or if you're bold enough play it.


Bema said...

That was tough to watch. They could probably make a movie out of it, however I myself don't play video games.

Danny said...

Yeah it gets pretty serious Bema. Throughout the game the four main characters are in various dangerous situations and after watching that playthrough I watched a set of videos showing the different ways they can die (which by the way doesn't end the game it just continues on and alters what ending you get). Let me tell you they are pretty serious.