What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the emotional thriller Heavy Rain has a dark story surrounding a serial killer who murders children. With a storyline like that, you know this isn't a game for young players. You play as four characters trying to stop the murders. The game features near photorealistic graphics that show blood and violence; although the characters you control aren't usually responsible for these actions (most are in cutscenes or observed in the real-time environment). The game also has nudity (not full frontal), intimacy (kissing, groping, and rubbing), and a sex game which culminates in the act occuring offscreen. Alcohol, drugs, and smoking can be seen in the game, which is also laced with profanity. While this psychological thriller is exceptionally good as a video game -- and an experiment in interactive storytelling -- it was not made for young eyes or ears.
What's it about?
If you've ever doubted if a video game can evoke emotion, such as pathos and anxiety, boot up Quantic Dream's HEAVY RAIN, a Sony PlayStation 3 exclusive that delivers a dark and disturbing adventure for mature players. This cinematic tale focuses on a mysterious serial killer who preys on young children, and the four main protagonists, all of whom you control, who work to stop the murderer in his tracks. At various points in the game you'll play as Ethan, a distraught father who blames himself for the accidental death of his son outside of a shopping mall; Norman, a FBI profiler who uses high-tech "augmented reality" glasses to analyze evidence at crime scenes; Scott, a weathered middle-aged cop turned private eye; and Madison, a photographer who suffers from insomnia. Everyone's connection to the Origami Killer, who leaves a folded paper swan in his victim's hands, is revealed after a few hours of play.
Is it any good?
Heavy Rain is an extraordinary adventure. Featuring graphics that borders on photorealism, not only is this interactive game extremely well-written, but all of your decisions can alter the story. It could be as subtle as Ethan's son getting in trouble at school because you didn't make him do his homework the night before to one of the four protagonists dying as a result of your actions (and you must carry on with the game without that character's input). This is a neat concept that plays out well. The controls, which takes some getting used to, are all contextual, meaning you'll need to press buttons or move the analog sticks in a given direction based on onscreen cues. These cues will have an effect based on what's happening at that moment. This method of playing is quite unique. Some sequences, such as fighting scenes, are timed, so players will have to press the button combinations correctly and in a timely manner. If you don't mind a slower-paced adventure and enjoy a deep and dark narrative tale, mature players will find themselves emotionally drawn and intrigued by Heavy Rain.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how these game developers took a chance to create something different. This is an adventure game, which are not very popular these days, with a slower-paced story with deep characters and plenty of dialogue. It delivers a rich, immersive experience where your actions can alter the story.
Families can discuss the impact of controls on how you react to a video game. Here, the controls, while a bit tricky, let the player interact with the world by pressing a button that matches an onscreen cue, which is different than how most games play out. Did this control system work for you?
With near photorealistic graphics, does this game's violence seem more realistic?