Friday, May 24, 2013

Heavy Rain: pedestrian

I played Heavy Rain back in late 2011, getting to a thoroughly miserable part where my character's life changed completely. It says something about the quality of the story that I still remember that and as I continued the game last night I could identify everyone.

I'd forgotten, though, how incredibly slow everything moves, and how awkward it is to move around the world. Placed in the run-down house with my son, I found it rather jarring when he didn't comment on my character constantly walking into walls and turning light switches on and off.  The son (Shaun) was pretty poorly animated at times as well. Maybe this is something I glossed over before, or maybe it just wasn't evident in the first two chapters.

The game is trying so hard to be a film, but it suffers from pacing issues. Nothing really happens for long periods, partially because of the character's slow walking speed and partially because of the fact so much time is spent on minute details like getting Shaun a snack or watching him eat dinner. Maybe that's partially because of the way I'm playing the game - sitting with my son while he eats is something I'd do (although I'd probably at least try total to him). In some ways it's reminiscent of Shenmue, but with more awkward controls (particularly given the idiotic shape of the controller's triggers).

And then I'm given control of a different character and there's a fight scene which is almost too fast paced, particularly given the fact that after 16 years of owning PlayStation systems I still don't know which way around square and circle are.

And then I'm given control of an FBI detective who looks a bit similar to the first character. I have to investigate a murder scene.

Again, I'm not sure whether such character switching works well in games. I was building an affinity with one person and then I'm switched to another. One character seems to have an odd moment of being transported elsewhere, but even though I'm playing as him I'm not told if he's dreaming or not - it seems from the game not, but it's not clear.  Before I can find out, I'm playing as someone else.

The story remains intriguing but elusive. I've worked out that there's a serial killer who leaves origami models behind. The murder investigation was for such a killing. The model in the dead man's hand was the same as the model in Ethan's hand during his dream sequence but Ethan's not dead. Piecing things together like this works well for a two-hour film, but it remains to be seen if it works in a much longer game that I'm going to be playing over a matter of weeks. Or years!

No comments: