14 February 2010

Heavy Rain, a game it's not

Jolly folks at Sony had released a demo for much-hyped and anticipated Heavy Rain, the 'PS3 killer app'. A chance for us players to see what it's all about!

What the fuck it's supposed to be! It's not a game! From now on, I refer to Heavy Rain as 'a thing' because I refuse to call it a game. You don't control the character(s) as you'd normally do, left stick to walk, face buttons doing their things, you get the drift. Not here, no sire. You walk by pressing R2 and nudging the left stick to turn the nose but more importantly, press buttons and wiggle the right stick when the screen tells you to. In a nutshell Heavy Rain is a picture book which advances when you have pressed and wiggled the right commands as prompted. Do notice I didn't say an interactive picture book because leafing through a traditional picture book is more interactive than this thing. Heavy Rain is a result when game developers try to re-invent the wheel.

It's really hard to put all this into civilized words because I would like to use a heavy dose of obscenity when describing this thing which is as far removed from a game as... I don't even know what can be far enough from each other. The main factor is playability, or rather, the complete lack of it. Had it been a normal game with normal controls, it would have been perhaps an average detective story. As it stands, Heavy Rain would score 1 out of ten in my books, just because you need to give at least some score. This month's Pelaaja, a Finnish games magazine, gave this thing 9 points and chose it as their 'game of the month' over Mass Effect 2 which also scored 9 (in a completely indifferent and lackrustre review). I won't go about Heavy Rain's supposed 'adult content' as the demo doesn't give too much of a story away. But by the looks of things, I reckon it's self-intentionally over-the-top serious and broody. Oh wait, there's a hooker! That's 'adult' for you, folks.

How about graphics and sounds? The long development time can clearly be seen in mediocre character models and flat backgrounds. So many games have surpassed Heavy Rain's looks which was supposed to be its main selling point... about three years ago. However realistic the character faces try to be, they are lifeless and stiff, especially when portraying emotions. It won't help the voice acting is something out of a dawn of CD-ROM games in mid-90's. Absolutely no soul and and interest, just flat reading from a flat script.

All in all, the demo told me everything I needed to know about the ga... oops, sorry, thing. I won't be pouring my hard-earned cash on such a sorry excuse for an interactive entertainment. Heck, I wouldn't even pick it up for a fiver from a bargain bin. It's just not worth a penny. And all this time I know it will score big on magazines and other media for its 'revolutionary ideas' and 'adult themes' and probably sells gazillion copies. I'm happy knowing it won't rest on my games shelf. I want a game which is a game! You know, when I purchased PS3, I thought my Xbox 360 would be left cold. I was happy with PS3 games like fantastic Heavenly Sword and somber Metal Gear Solid 4. But this new batch of exclusive PS3 games have left me cold and now it's PS3 gathering dust when Mass Effect 2 is keeping Xbox warm.

 Woo, a serious scene with FBI agent whatshisname wearing his wacky gadgets. You probably need to nudge the right stick funnily and press multiple face buttons to escape the situation.
Our hero tries to climb up a slippery slope in the screen and this is how your hands on the controller look like when pressing so many buttons after each other which all need to be keep pressed...

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