...As to why I'm writing instead of doing what I should be doing.
Probably because I made a deal with my husband that every time I start a new game I have to write something, or I don't get any new games.
Well, since I started Yakuza today I have to write something.
So let's do a first impressions article since I haven't brought myself to finish a game in about 6 months.
First Impressions: Heavy Rain
If you’d like to skip the epic wall of text go to the next red text
Made a very hot topic due to our own Jim Sterling and Sony's never-ending ad campaign.
Heavy Rain is one of those anticipated games by all gamers all for different reasons. The gamer's gamers were excited due to the uniqueness promised and the as always the promise of a game made for gamers. Damn, that's a mouthful.
Some were excited if only to scoff at the lack of major action and the gameplay that relies purely on QTEs.
Others were just excited to try something different.
And towards the release many were excited just because everyone would shut up about the hype.
As for me, I've been excited for years.
You see in my teenage years I was (and still but to a lesser extent) obsessive over a man named David Bowie. While, I can still name every album of his in Chronological order, I can no longer do track times.
(I've gotten better.)
Anyway, this drew me to the attention of a somewhat lesser known game called Omikron: The Nomad Soul.
Now, this game was not the best game ever. However, this game struck a cord with me. One of the first "adult" games I had played without assistance or being exposed to it first with another party. From it's unique landscapes to it's interesting subplot and that fact the soundtrack was David Bowie and Reeves Gabriel. I was hooked. I found the idea of having so many characters with so many backgrounds fascinating as well.
The idea of characters with their own complete previous identities coming together is one of my favorite premises in games and literature. Therefore I played it incessantly.
It was at this time I noticed Quantic Dream. I enjoyed their ideas and their hopes of making games more narrative based. I endured for a few years in the hopes of a sequel to Omikron.
I waited patiently for Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy. Becoming rather excited along the way. During this time Quantic released their first trailer for Heavy Rain. Originally believed just to be a demo to show off the PS3's capabilities. It was interesting, but with Fahrenheit on the horizon I just ignored it.
While Fahrenheit was interesting I found the ending to be severely lacking, no matter which one I obtained. The introduction of the actual Indigo child towards the end was rather annoying as well. All the character relationship building, the interesting hallucinations, and the cult all came to garbled speeding halt much like a car into a concrete barrier. It was abrupt and anything, but satisfying.
For the most part the QTE's were well executed. They kept me involved and provided a reasonable amount of action. The few that were inexcusable ones such as controlling Carla's breathing while trying to escape the Mental Hospital. These were just tests in futility as the only thing you could do was memorize your way out trial and error style.
Even for all it's faults, I found it an interesting departure from traditional gaming. Sure things could have been better, but those are the chances you take in your first attempts.
But playing got me really interested in Heavy Rain, for if their first attempt was pretty good. Then when they actually knew what they were doing it could be phenomenal.
Yes, I just realized I had to describe my entire history with Quantic Dream, before I could even begin a first impressions article. Sorry to be so neurotic, but like a said Character History is VERY IMPORTANT
Now, back to Heavy Rain. *Some spoilers will follow.*
To say I went in without expectations is to a say a child doesn't like candy.
Sure, I had expectations. Some have already been interestingly addressed, others I'm waiting to see them play out.
I'm particularly attached to Ethan most likely due to my own lack of a happily childhood and comfortable home life.
Though his beginning narrative deals with mundane actions, i.e. the infamous teeth brushing, I find a nice sense of calm with this. A happy man his happy family. I did find his son, Jason rather annoying, and his younger child, Shaun, endearing.
Quantic does a pretty good job making me comfortable with Ethan and showing me his life is happy.
The scene at the mall wading through the crowd was slightly frustrating in its execution, but it was mostly due to me still adjusting to the somewhat awkward walking controls. However, the next event was rather predicable for me.
This is where Quantic Dream failed on its mission a little. If its ultimate goal is to make me feel for its characters this is one scene that lacked for me. The event was predictable and I didn't have any attachment to Jason. I found him annoying and ungrateful. I felt nothing at the death of this child. I know I should have, but there was nothing but a void.
I was almost laughing with the dark sense of humor part of my brain.
When Ethan reappears, his lush house and happy garden are replaced by dark concrete walls and raining city streets. A pretty good analogy to how his life is going.
His earlier endearing son, Shaun, is now almost as annoying as Jason. Though I still feel attached as I know this kid is just sad.
Onto Mr. Shelby, he’s straight forward. Old, chubby P.I. with a heart for justice. Nothing too special. I like how he is presented. I feel like I can relate to him enough to make decisions I feel the character would make. Being the knight in shining armor that I am saved the hooker, I always save hookers. I found the QTE action adequate, though I feel sorry for you if you haven’t memorized the different icons for how you’re supposed to press the buttons. If I hadn’t I would’ve been pretty annoyed by this point.
No complaints with Shelby or any of his actions so far. I find it amusing that a chubby asthmatic older gentleman has all the action scenes so far.
Now, onto the only character for whom I have any contempt….
I find Norman Jayden. Ridiculous, from his name, to his accent and so called storyline.
He seems flimsy from the get-go. While is ARI is interesting I find that it’s his only redeemable quality. His statements are awkward and chalky. There’s nothing I really do as him that’s pleasing to me in anyway. Nothing that makes me feel for him. I’m confused how he’s a drug addicted FBI guy when there’s obviously advanced technology by this point in time and therefore drug screenings should be easier and more efficient.
His accent is very try to hard on part of the voice actor. He never sounds serious and I find myself repeating everything he says in the voice of Down syndrome child. Also, apparently Quantic’s character designer was staying up all night downing redbull while jacking off to the Matrix when they sketched him.
Perhaps, it’s just the choices I’ve made that make him an uninteresting dult, but I can’t imagine what could be that different.
The only thing in his story so far is the investigation itself. In that case though I would just assume pick Shelby any day of the week.
He is really the only “special” FBI agent I’ve ever seen. He can barely say his name without slurring into an mental challenged state.
Onto the lovely ladies scenario…I haven’t played much into hers, but I enjoy the voice acting and her action scene was rather good.
In recap, Quantic Dream has already failed it’s mission somewhat. It will be interesting to see how the rest plays out. Either was so far it’s interesting.
The controls can be annoying, but kudos for using the amount of rain as timing/framing device….
Not like you did that with the Temperature in Fahrenheit… read