Spoiler warning: Through my discussion of how I went about playing the game, the scenarios that will be touched upon will likely contain spoilers to those that have not played the game. If you intend on playing the game or are yet to finish it, I would recommend waiting until you have completed the game. You have been warned.
After listening to this weeks podtoid and a little bit of the Heavy Rain spoilertoid, something became apparent to me: I enjoyed the game for completely different reasons. While I thought the story was genuinely entertaining, I didn't care for much else. Outside of the few quick time event scenes that filled me with a short burst of adrenaline, I found the rest of the game to be vague and and rather boring. It just wasn't for me. However, I still managed to get a good amount of enjoyment out of it.
I was really curious to see just how much of a choose your own adventure game this really was. I decided that I was going to play my characters with the personalities that I
wanted them to have. While I did listen to what the character's were thinking and feeling, I still was focused on making them do what I wanted them to do. If they did something that I didn't like or feel fit the situation, it was going to reflect in the game. The results were both believable and hilarious. Here's my Heavy Rain experience:
I didn't like him from the very start. His dead stare and perfect posture pissed me off. I could tell he had more money then I'll ever have and one of the cleanest homes I'd ever seen. From that point I decided that I would be playing the role of a complete douche bag. After all, all rich people with big clean futuristic houses are usually a little bit up tight. Plus, my ugly fish-mouthed wife scared the bejesus out of me. Needless to say, she put those groceries away on her own.
After Jason dies in the beginning of the game, I decided I'd take it out on Shaun. I forced him to do his homework and sent him to bed early with no TV, snacks, or dinner. Like hell I was going to let him mooch off me. When we went to the playground after school, I constantly teased him to play with things. I first pointed out the seesaw saying “Hey, lets play!” My son got so excited, then I'd walk away, leaving him sitting there on his own. After getting disappointed and heading back to the bench, I then pointed out the swings and repeated the process. Silly kid fell for it again -snicker-
Although, once Shaun was kidnapped I did decide to try to save him, for the sake of moving the story forward. I made him chop off his finger with a rusty hatchet with nothing to help dull the pain. I made him “run” through the broken glass, often coming close to bleeding out. And as morbid as that all may sound, it was making the whole ordeal a lot more enjoyable. It was as if these trials really were trying to make him a better man in the end. Also, the drug dealer didn't have a chance, I shot him in the face before he even finished his sentence.
In my ending, after saving my son, I had a chance to shoot Shelby as a condolence for all I had been through. However, as you'll see in a second, I personally had come to love Mr. Shelby, and had no desire to kill him off. Nothing made me happier than to see my character come to his senses about loving his son and completing four near death trials only to be mowed down by a hail of police gun fire.
I knew that this guy was a bad ass. A big guy with an inhaler? Fuck yes, he wasn't going to take shit from anyone. And for the most part, the game let me do just that. During my first meeting with Lauren, I refused to put any money down on the table, but still left her my calling card. When the nasty old boyfriend/client showed up, I walked out. If she wasn't going to give me any information, why should I care. I laughed pretty hard when she showed up at my door with a black eye, of which I confronted right away. “Looks pretty bad.” When asked if she could join up with me in the investigation, I told her to get out. Unfortunately, the game wouldn't let me end the relationship there.
In the convenience store, I let Scott's weight get the best of him. When coming up from behind with the bottle, I “accidentally” knocked some stuff over, letting the QTE run out (something I did quite often). After being caught, I sweet talked the thug into letting his guard down in which I took the liberty of beating his ass down. Oddly enough, the robbers body as well as his gun, were left in the store. I imagine the police were eventually contacted, but boy were those two pretty calm and collect after that ordeal.
After being deceived by Lauren and thrown into the lake, I was hopeful that I would finally be able to rid myself of her. The fish-faced whore had been following me for far too long. Thankfully, the game was nice enough to do so. BAM, left to drown. As I drove into Kramer's mansion, I seamlessly killed every black suited figure that popped up with a shot to the face. Fun fact: this was hands down my most favorite part of the game. I continued into his office where I beat the shit out of him and then left him to die. No pills for old Charles.
In my ending, Shelby gets away free and is seen both at his mothers hospital room and his brothers grave.
Unaffected by the shower scene at the start, I chose to wait a bit longer before finally profiling her appropriately as “the woman.” My goal was to to make everyone's lives as miserable as possible when playing as her. Leading men on only to destroy their hopes and dreams was something that I had always wanted to do before. Unfortunately, after Madison's amazing QTE scene, I quickly lost most of my interest in her as a character. Basically what it came down to was an article of clothing being removed whenever possible.
During the scenes where I was supposed to be patching Ethan up from his injuries, I often messed around and either gave him the wrong medicine or applied the wrong treatment to the wrong area. Teehee, just playing with you Ethan <3 This eventually led to the sex scene, which was one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen in a video game. It was so poorly animated that I felt sick to my stomach. So sick that I decided Madison would be dieing the next chance I had. So while in Scott's place, I decided to let her burn to death. I walked straight into the fire and put down the controller. Another one down.
I will say that the encounter with the old pervy doctor was pretty awesome. While the whole “oops, there's the doorbell!” was a little too convenient and killed all tension built up in that scene, going on through a pretty convincing scene of choreography ending with a drill to the hart felt really rewarding. For the record, I asked for a drink and never took a sip.
Jayden always felt out of place to me. His terrible accent and dictation led me to believe that he was a schizophrenic. So that's how I played him, often altering his actions in mid scene. I'd go from agreeing with someone to yelling at them or threatening them. For me, it made his character believable, else I'm really not sure how someone like him would make it into the FBI.
Any time Blake and I would go to investigate someone, I would follow a similar process. Walk around, ignoring what Blake had to say, start agreeing with what the suspect had to say, screaming at Blake, and then physically harming the suspect. I was convinced that Jayden really did have a problem. The poor guy was obviously being affected by his Triptocaine addiction more than we were being led to believe. I shot that poor religious freak in a heart beat, and then continued to yell at Blake over it.
Unfortunately, Jayden did not die for me. I was hoping that I would be able to make him OD at the end of the game so I played seriously throughout the fight with Mad Jack, escaping from the car crusher and killing Jack with the digger. Had I know I wouldn't have been able to shoot up again, I probably would have let him die there. Jayden did retire from the FBI in my ending, after “giving up” on the video evidence recorded in Paco's room. I was amazed by how lenient the FBI is with letting their employes come back whenever they like.
I admit, I probably did not play the game the way it was meant to. Making things awkward in situations was not what the studio was hoping its players would do. I probably shouldn't be laughing after interviewing someone about their dead son, but at least laughter is a better emotional response than disinterest. However, after finishing it and talking to others about it, it seems that my way of playing was just as entertaining as theirs. I really was enjoying the story up until the big reveal at the end, at which point I was glad I had played the way I had been.
For the record, the game would have been miles better had Paco been the killer. Just saying...