Tom Plays: Heavy Rain (PS4)

Another edition of ‘Tom Plays’ for you to check out today as I bring you my thoughts and feelings about Heavy Rain on the Playstation 4. Read on for all that stuff…

I can remember back when Heavy Rain originally came out on the Playstation 3, in fact I can even recall being in a HMV in Manchester where I saw it on the shelves after it was released – I never got to play it but it sounded like and looked like a really interesting game.

Instead I picked up some random Xbox 360 game and played that instead, forgetting about Heavy Rain as I would never be able to play it unless I bought a PS3. Probably should have done. My loss.

Fast-forward many, many years and here we are in the present day. I’m back with the Playstation and I had recently picked up the Heavy Rain/Beyond Two Souls (more on that in future as I’ll also write one of these for that.) double pack – for around £20, paying a tenner for each game seemed like a good deal and worth playing just to experience them.

Since LiS came into my life, I’ve been looking for more narrative-based games that see your choices make an actual difference to how the game is experienced and Heavy Rain seemingly ticks all those boxes.

Playing as multiple different characters in a single video game isn’t a new concept, but Heavy Rain sees you play the story through the eyes of four different characters – there are parts much later on in the game when there’s interaction between them, which is pretty cool. Probably more as well if they survive the story.

One of these characters is Ethan Mars – the main male protagonist in the game – and you spent perhaps the largest portion of the game with him. In short, the game kicks off where he and his perfect family are torn apart by the death of one child; kind of trippy opening to the game in which you lose him, find him and then get hit by a car (which I swear misses the kid? So, how he ends up dead, I don’t know. Dodgy.)

Killing kids early off in a long and winding story? Yeah, this must be where The Last of Us got that idea with Sarah…

Another character you get to play as is FBI agent Norman Jayden – he comes in to help with the case of the “Origami Killer”. Best thing about him is his hella cool sunglasses/glove technological thing that scans crime scenes for clues and stuff. He also has a drug problem which leads to some trippy situations later on in the game.

In my first play through, Jayden met a grisly and gruesome end in a club when he was stabbed by a masked man with a katana. As what happens in normal, everyday situations. Right? I blame myself for pressing the wrong button in the quick time event where they were brawling. Oops.

That’s one thing that Heavy Rain is very fond of. Quicktime events where you have to press the right button before the timer runs out or you will either get hit/die/something bad happens. So…yeah…concentration is key when playing them. I got away with a few but not the one that saw Jayden die. Sad.

The third character you get to play as is a Private Investigator called Scott Shelby. There’s more to him than meets the eye, let’s just say that for now. Never, ever suspected anything was untoward with him – maybe I missed something that was so glaringly obvious? Or maybe I’ll never be able to play the game again because I know things (after Life is Strange, I think I’ll label it “The Mark Jefferson Effect”) that kind of ruin the game. I still want to play again though to experience different endings.

A quick Google shows me there are A LOT of different endings to Heavy Rain – some just slight differences to post-game cut scenes but others change things in a big way. I like games like that, gives you a reason to at least replay it a couple more times to see how different things happen. Plus you get to earn more trophies. Win-win.

Finally, there is a fourth character who you control at various points – Madison Paige. She is apparently a “photographer” but, later in the game, you find that to be complete rubbish and a cover for another career. There’s some crazy bits with her; whether she’s trying to escape her flat whilst avoiding people who aren’t actually there or trying to escape from a crazed ex-surgeon it’s never boring when you get to control her.

You’d think that with all these different characters to control, the story would be all over the place but that’s surprisingly not the case. The story flows well, even with tcut-away to see what others are up to, and it’s not difficult to follow at all. I like that.

It also has its tense moments – as I eluded to earlier with the death of my FBI guy, it appears that you can have these main characters killed off at a number of different positions in the story. In turn, that obviously affects the story from thereon and also the ending – would take a lot of experimentation to witness every single ending, that’s for sure!

My only real issues with this game were two things – one, I got used to but the other cropped up a number of times in the game and was kind of frustrating to witness. The first issue was the control scheme; it just seemed odd having to hold down R2 before being able to walk around. I didn’t have too many problems when the controls demanded you hold down several buttons at a time to do things in the game, but that walking thing was unnecessary in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I got used to it as the game progressed and it became second nature. But, still…why?

My second issue was a trivial one. Graphically, this upgrade looks incredible – the faces looked so life-like, the lighting and atmosphere of the game was captured perfectly and who can deny those water effects were brilliant as well? One small issue though; the mouths? What was up with the mouths? At times they looked so damn creepy when the character was talking. It didn’t break the game, it just bothered me. Cause I’m a guy who is bothered by things like that.

All-in-all though, I can overlook those two slight negatives about the game and appreciate what an outstanding game Heavy Rain is. I can see why some people weren’t fans of it but I loved the twists, turns and challenges that the game posed throughout.

I will definitely be giving it another go in the near-future to play differently, try not to get anyone killed and get The Origami Killer nailed. It’s possible, I’ve seen it on Google…so it must be true.

It’s been out for 6/7 years but the remastered version of it was definitely worth picking up and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t experienced the game before. You won’t regret it.

I’m going off to do some origami now…




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