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Video Dissection: Heavy Rain


As a quick warning, this post contains a significant amount of pictures, thank you and on to the feature presentation.

While anxiously biding time until Heavy Rain falls upon us, I've been checking out as much as I can about the game. Quantic Dream, the same company that developed the sleeper hit Indigo Prophecy is just now seemingly finishing up the title in preparations for the February 18, 2010 release. Taking on the role of one of four characters who are searching for the "Origami Killer", the segments of play will be divided into Scenes as opposed to levels. In one of the latest videos, which I originally discovered on GameTrailers, I was interested in seeing how the mechanics of the game were coming together as I'm extremely curious about the final product.

What I can seemingly infer from this loading screen is that prior to each scene, the character who you'll be assuming the role of will appear so you can delineate the who, what, where, when and why of what you may be doing in the impending gameplay. However, I feel a bit haphazard using the word 'gameplay' as from what I've seen so far somewhat bends that term slightly.

Additionally, the scene opens with the date, time and, interestingly enough, the amount of rain that has fallen. I don't know especially why the amount of rain that's come down is so important, but I think this is because the rain is just so heavy.

Assuming the role of private detective Scott Shelby as he steps into a small convenient store, the small, on-screen prompts begin to appear, which make me concerned that this won't be so much of a game as a series of quick-time events. As Shelby leans on the counter, he asks the owner of the shop about his son who was recently killed by the "Origami Killer".

Curiously enough, the shopkeeper doesn't want to discuss his son and if this title is as serious about being a narrative-driven emotional experience, it only serves to intrigue me more about the owner and this scene. Additionally, as a minor assuage, I just wish to note that this game looks exceptional in regard of graphical presentation.

Getting back to the matter at hand, the owner dismisses Shelby's questions about his son, leaving the player to select one of several options as they float lackadaisically about your character. But even if you sympathize or persist on your line of questioning about the shopkeeper's son, he still brushes you off, leaving you to wander the store.

As you stand at the back of the store, looking for an inhaler, a young gentleman enters the delicatessen wishing to rob the shopkeeper of the legal tender in the register. He of course conveys this is acceptable street speak, laden quite frequently with several swear words I'm sure he picked up from a childhood and teenage years playing video games as his parents were too cheap to hire a babysitter.

The cool spiraling actions then appear again, giving the player a choice as to what you want to do about this man of questionable moral values who feels it's okay to rob shopkeepers at gunpoint. Again, I think the amount of branching actions is quite fascinating, but this mechanic as with all things, could serve to work against the title in it's final released state. Hopefully though, it won't and will remain a sufficiently interesting feature throughout the course of the title. Also, I should point out, that once you make a decision, it seems as though the character will comment with inner monologue to clue the player into what exactly they're thinking.

As you begin being sneaky, you can see that throughout the entire course of you doing so, the action as it unfolds is conveyed to you as if you were watching security footage on a Fox Network. However, as you continue stealthily moving towards the altercation that's taking place, a prompt occurs near one of the shelves. Again, this strikes me as being a mini, tiny, quick-time event.

As you reach for the bottle, it becomes apparent that this motion is what will allow you to be armed and take out the guy who is sticking up the place.

As you continue to move forward being sneaky as a ninja, albeit a poorly dressed, slightly overweight ninja, you're shoulder bumps a stack of detergent triggering another small QTE. Hopefully, you can hit triangle fast enough, otherwise, I think the man with the gun might want to have a word or two with you.

Thankfully, it's been caught. Someone's been playing their God of War lately.

And with another QTE, you place the detergent back on the shelf and can resume being sneaking. Sensing a trend here?

As you near the perpetrator, another prompt appears. As the game will be utilizing the sixaxis control functionality a lot, it's probably a good idea to maybe get that down pat before this title releases. I suggest Lair...well, actually, maybe not.

After successfully stopping out would be robber, Shelby stand over this punk victoriously lording his bottle smashing abilities.

Grateful for the service you've performed, the thankful shopkeeper offers you a box containing a clue that might give you some insight into the murder of his son or the psyche of the "Origami Killer".

As you leave the shop, this concludes the scene if you'd taken the route you obviously did over the course of this 'level' by helping the shopkeeper. I imagine if you did things differently, consequentially the outlook of the scenario would hopefully be significantly varied from what you did the first time.

Either way, what I've taken away from this video essentially confirms my original belief that this game has the potential for a very strong story, engaging characters and an interesting plot as Quantic Dream is able to achieve. However, I'm still left with a lingering suspicion that this feels more film than game and if nothing else strikes me as a 'Choose your own adventure' sort of experience, except the glaringly obvious difference is you can't flip back the page if you make the wrong choice it seems.

for those interested, here is the video in it's entirety:

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About AndrewG009one of us since 1:33 PM on 07.28.2009

"I kind of miss the days when games were judged on their game-playing merit alone. I'm a little concerned about how far we (the game industry) are into the licensed four-page-ad marketing blitz era these days, which may be a natural evolution of the industry. But I'm always worried when we put more emphasis on glitz and production values than on the game. That's a trend that looks good for a while until you realize there's no game industry any more. If we don't have gameplay, we can't really compete with other forms of entertainment because we can't do graphics as good as the movie industry and we can't make sounds as well as the recording industry. All we can do that's special to us is be interactive. So we have to hang on to that and make sure we do a good job." - Sid Meier

Feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions

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