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I own far too many games and consoles, and I have just about enough free time to play about one third of one game at a time.
All time favourite system: Megadrive/Genesis
Favourite current system: PC
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
The Myst Series
Broken Sword: Shadow Of The Templars
Max Payne 1 & 2
Final Fantasy VII and X
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl and its spin-offs
Burnout 3: Takedown
Race Driver: Grid
Silent Hill 2
I love rain. I love the sound of rain, especially on a tin roof. I love watching rain as it trickles down a window. I love the earthy smell of a rain shower after a hot day. I love how soothing rain is, and how relaxing it can be to just curl up inside while it's pouring down outside. This love of rain has carried over to video games. The idea for this article popped into my head last night when I was playing Metal Gear Solid 2 HD on my Vita. That game begins in a full-on torrential deluge. It's definitely a great way to start the game. Below are some other games that contain my favourite artificial cyber rain. Exciting!
GTA Vice City and GTA IV
I thought I'd combine both of these. I enjoy the rain in all of the GTA games, but these two in particular stand out for me. Something about the combination of the neon lights, blurry low-fi lens flare and rainy streets in GTA Vice City is very appealing. I remember quite often just taking in the view when a sudden downpour happened in the game.
GTA IV, on the other hand, was more impressive on a technical level. I played through this game on the PC and, although it was a total dog's dinner of a port in many respects, once I managed to get it running relatively smoothly it was a rather beautiful game. The rain, in particular, was a sight to behold. As well as making driving more hair-raising, it softened the harsh concrete landscape of Liberty City. Seeing all of the dynamic lights in GTA IV reflecting off of the wet pavement honestly is quite entrancing.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky
My love for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series is strong. The environment has played a big part in all of the games in the series. In fact, you might say that the environment is really the primary enemy in the game. Simply wandering through the landscape of The Zone is deadly, with anomalies and blow-outs and mutant attacks happening unpredictably at any time. Although the first game in the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl, was a fine introduction to the atmosphere of The Zone it wasn't until the second game, Clear Sky, that things got technically really impressive.
Clear Sky was one of the first games that I played that utilised DX10 graphics features. This brought a lot of visual bells and whistles to the game, the majority of which brought my PC at the time to almost a total standstill, but my favourite effect was the rain. The rain itself, as well as the very impressive lightning storms that would sometimes hit, were awesome enough; but now the game also had water running down surfaces! This may sound pretty lame now, but at the time this was very cool to see in action. Rather than the rain just hitting a surface and making it shiny it now actually ran off of the surface in a semi-realistic fashion. Mind.Blown.
Max Payne 2
Another favourite series of mine. All of the Max Payne games have been set during extreme environmental conditions - snow in the first game, rain in the second game, and extreme heat in the third game. As well as being, in my opinion, the best game in the series, Max Payne 2 was a highlight for me thanks to the rainy New York setting.
The rainy setting perfectly fit with the Noir atmosphere of the game, and it was almost a character in and of itself. As Dick Justice so eloquently puts it: "The rain was comin' down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time. When you're in a situation like mine, you can only think in metaphors."
Ahh, EverQuest. I've have written previously about my love for this game, and how addicted to it I was 13 years (!) ago. I have a multitude of fond memories of this game, but one of my favourite memories is of taking a break from slaughtering lions and elephants in the Southern Plains of Karana while the rain was pouring down and simply standing still and staring up at the sky.
Note: This is not the Southern Plains of Karana, but it's the only picture I could find of rain in EverQuest!
Graphically the rain in this game was rudimentary at best, but it was always more about the atmosphere in EverQuest rather than how amazing the graphics weren't.
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
All of the Myst games are full of atmosphere and beautiful worlds to explore, but there is one Age in particular in Uru which I absolutely love. In the Age of Eder Kemo if you wait around for long enough you'll hear a thunderstorm approaching, and before long the rain starts pouring down and the lightning starts flashing.
The first 30 seconds of that video shows the tail end of the thunderstorm, but it's the best that I could find. While playing this game I would often go back and visit Eder Kemo, even though I had cleared all of its puzzles, simply to enjoy another one of its thunderstorms.
Formula 1 97
A bit of a random one, this, I know. Hear me out, though. This one stands out for me because at the time I played it I was really into Formula 1. I was addicted, and would stay up till the early hours of the morning to watch the races live on TV. At the time this game was the closest thing I had to actually being a Formula 1 driver. I honestly must have spent about 40 or 50 hours playing this game, going through entire seasons with all of the different teams and drivers. One thing that I both loved and dreaded was when a monsoon hit during a race.
As well as making driving almost impossible, it added a fantastic bit of atmosphere to what could be a rather sterile racing environment.
You didn't really think that I would have a post about rainy games and actually miss this one, did you? Say what you like about David Cage, but all those polygons sure did make for some emotional rain.