Heavy Rain Demo Impressions

When I saw Heavy Rain for the first time in the form of gameplay videos I really didn’t know what genre this game could be classified in. It looked like a giant cut scene/movie which simply called upon players now and then to hit the random button. The game seemed worthy of tracking simply to see if it would fly or sink.

And to be honest, this demo doesn’t really answer that question - at all!

For one it’s incredibly short. The amount of story revealed here is effectively nil. The game’s also a bit weird on the technical front. For all the great character models and textures that the game boasts, objects seem very flat. At the very start of the demo, you encounter a pure brick wall that looks more like someone drew outlines of bricks on a cardboard and made a wall with it, unlike in Uncharted 2 where you could almost feel the nook and crevice on every boulder making up a wall. Apart from that, the textures themselves are really well done and objects look like they have weight. Sound feels great adding in a lot of atmosphere to the game sucking you in completely. The heavy music gives the feeling of standing at the starting line of a very long story which somehow you just know you’re going to enjoy.

As you know by now gameplay is composed mostly of just walking around, being your own mind reader, investigating crime scenes, indulging in various conversations and QTEs (Quick Time Events). Conversations progress not as dialog boxes that map responses to buttons but rather the approach you end up taking (persuasive, compelling etc).

Sometimes being compassionate does the trick but adopting the tone too often might see you blowing the whole deal. QTEs are the backbone of the game, well maybe more like the legs of it as the story is the true backbone for a change. The QTEs are not like the ones we’re normally used to and have been executed in quite a new way. To put it short, there are different ways of hitting the buttons too.
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While investigating cut scenes, you can wear these awesome shades that pick out and display clues like DNA or pollen trails. This portion by far would feel the most like a “video game” since it has you walking around, scanning areas and picking stuff off the ground. Except the pollen trail you find doesn’t lead you to any treasure chest.

The demo defeats its own purpose here. Demos are released to let players get acquainted with a game, count the number of jaw dropping moments they have and also crown the winner of the crucial "own vs rent vs not care" three way grudge match. This demo however is simply too short for the gamer to form any sort of an impression. Quantic Dream should have known better. This game is an entirely new concept and people need time to fit into this new mechanism of progress by QTE alone. Sometimes in the demo, the fact that many mundane tasks also require QTEs (such as shaking your inhaler) felt terribly tacked on. But maybe it was purposefully made so to allow the gamer to truly bond with the character they control by having a hand in even the most trivial of tasks they perform.

This could well have been the aim of those QTEs but the demo scarcely allows any time for this connection to develop. Also, although you are promised the freedom of being allowed to tackle the game however you want, both missions in the demo felt very linear. No matter what you do, the outcome only changes slightly. If you are to leave a room without getting any useful knowledge from a witness, you WILL leave the room without any useful knowledge. What you can change is how you soon you walk out, what state you leave the witness in and the amount of trivia you’re able to collect there. And of course, without the full game, you’ll never know if that trivia was useful or not.

Either way expect our review soon.


Published Date: Feb 16, 2010 12:58 pm | Updated Date: Feb 16, 2010 12:58 pm