Reviewed: Heavy Rain – Move Edition


12 Oct 2010

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Can the PlayStation Move controller make the PS3’s Heavy Rain even more intense?

Interactive narrative

Heavy Rain was already a unique title. Released earlier in the year for the Dual Shock controller, it’s less of a traditional video game and more of an interactive story. The player takes control of four different characters, all involved in the mystery of the Origami Killer.

To be honest, I am reluctant to give away much more about the plot beyond that description, as the story is really what makes the game so compelling. In spite of a slow start, it becomes a truly riveting tale.

It’s an atmospheric, film noir-type mystery, with rather dark themes and highly tense set pieces. The characters are quite interesting and you’ll find yourself getting more and more absorbed with the narrative as time goes on. 

What makes this title even more of an emotional roller coaster is your influence on the game. In this game, there is no traditional game over screen. Whatever happens, happens, and you must deal with the consequences of that as you play.

This can be in regards to not finding enough clues or failing at a task, but the most intense part of this is that when a character dies, be they a main character or a non-playable one, they’re dead. Simple as that.

The game moves on and the story changes to cater for this, leading to multiple endings, depending on what you do. This raises the stakes enormously and you’ll find yourself really trying your best to ensure you make the right choices in order to keep characters safe.

Controls

The player interacts with the game by responding to cues given onscreen. When the game first came out, this was through the use of buttons and the analogue stick, so, for example, if you needed to examine an object, the screen would tell you to press X which would make the character do so.

This control style was implemented into action scenes through the use of quick time events (QTEs), where players must react to button prompts in a short space of time. For example, if someone was about to punch the player, they must quickly press the right button or, well, get punched.

Move implementation

The Move, however, makes this a lot more immersive. As opposed to pressing buttons, the prompts ask you to position the Move controller in a certain way and move it in a certain direction, such as twisting, lifting or pushing.

The actions you use for the Move is more akin to what the character is actually doing. If you need to open a door, you push the Move controller out to the handle and then pull it back to open it. If you need to jump, you must hold the controller upright and push it up. It feels a lot more natural than simply pressing a button and watching things happen and you feel much more of a part of the game.

Move functionality is not the only way that the game has improved. The update seems to have fixed the awkward walking control system. With the dual shock, you were required to hold down R2 to walk and then use the left analogue stick to change direction, making it feel like you were driving a very tall and slim car. Now, you only need to use the left analogue stick. It still isn’t perfect, but it’s much less frustrating.

That said, there are a few flaws with the Move functionality. The icons to prompt you onscreen can appear very fast and often, the diagram of which way you need to hold the controller and where it should move can be a bit vague. It takes a bit of getting used to, but you might find yourself at some points losing a valuable half second, or worse, just trying to see what way the controller should go.

Also, there were a few points in the game where the controller didn’t read where I was moving it, making me miss the prompt. It didn’t happen frequently, but when it did, it was annoying.

Verdict

The game will not be for everyone, though it certainly is a unique experience. The added Move functionality works really well and it’s nice to see the motion controller being used in a less than casual gaming environment. All in all, it’s a great addition to an already great game.

Heavy Rain is available for€39.99 RRP for the PlayStation 3. Players who already own Heavy Rain don’t need to repurchase the game for Move functionality – an update should download onto your system.

The PlayStation Move is available for €59.99.

66

DAYS

4

HOURS

26

MINUTES

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