No game is perfect, but some games come real close. Introducing Four.Fatal.Flaws, a judgmental look at today’s most critically acclaimed video games.
This entry marks the first in the series, and I hope to continue these on a regular basis. Well, as regular as possible, whilst juggling my job and free time.
As the title suggests, the first Four.Fatal.Flaws will feature (that was a lot of Fs) the positively reviewed Playstaion 3 title, Heavy Rain. In case you’re worried about the content, this will be SPOILER HEAVY (well, not “heavy,” but you have been warned – Seriously, don’t read this unless you’ve played through the entire game or like to make terrible decisions).
DID I MENTION THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD?
Heavy Rain is one of the most emotionally driven games I’ve ever played, and I’ve played plenty. Unlike any game before it, Heavy Rain was able to shake off my normal calm and collected demeanor and replace it with tense fingers, sweaty armpits, and a rib cage exploding heartbeat.
I would consider Heavy Rain as one of the most important games ever made, if not one of the best. But believe me, its not perfect, and here’s why:
It’s like handling a marionette with your feet
Why the developer, Quantic Dream, decided to implement the movement mechanic the way they did is beyond me. Yes, I know it’s cool to have the left analog stick move the character’s head instead of their whole body, but what’s cool is not necessarily what’s best.
The number of times my character would walk through a door, then immediately turn around and walk back out was staggering. It’s like I didn’t have control over them. Oh wait, probably because I didn’t have control over them – at least not good control.
Careful while driving, there are a lot of plot holes in the road
Heavy Rain is lauded for its storytelling implementation; shit, I loved the story, but that doesn’t mean the numerous plot holes didn’t stick out like a QTE-sore thumb.
Madison is shocked after finding out the Origami Killer’s identity, even though she’s neither met him during the game nor mentioned his name or the knowledge of knowing who he is. Well that’s just cr(la)azy storytelling.
Lieutenant Blake is convinced that Ethan Mars is the Origami Killer based on hearsay with no solid evidence? That makes perfect sense. And who told the police that Mars would be at the warehouse at the end of the game? In my version of the story, no one did… but the police were still there. Oops.
Sony’s given us a blank check – let’s buy some horrible voice talent
I’ll give Heavy Rain the benefit of the doubt: not all of the voice actors who worked on the game were bad, but enough of them were to be noticeably distracting. This is an EXCLUSIVE game being published by Sony; why the budget didn’t call for some better actors is beyond me. Quantic Dream should have at least gotten actors whose native language was English. Shoot, hire Nolan North – he does anything.
If you look out your window, there’s a nice view of the Uncanny Valley
Heavy Rain is a gorgeous game; there’s no debating that. Sometimes, however, it looks too good. This is where the Uncanny Valley comes into play. Even at the beginning of the game, you can see this is going to be a problem. During the “tutorial” you can approach your wife (as Ethan) and give her an endearing, warm, romantic, and sexy kiss. Then, you actually see the kiss take place. What is supposed to be a touching moment filled with the aforementioned feelings is replaced by a wooden, artificial, and downright disgusting always-open mouth face bump. You should see the sex scene later in the game.
Tying into the first fatal flaw, when the game makes the transition from fluidly animated and interactive cutscene to the actual control of the character, I couldn’t help but notice that the characters aren’t real, they’re merely tank controlled puppets. Immersion deterrent wins!
So there it is – the Four.Fatal.Flaws of Heavy Rain. Although all of these flaws weighed heavy on my enjoyment of the game, I still think Heavy Rain must be experienced by anyone whose a gamer, and should be introduced to people who are not.
After beating it, I’m reluctant to play it again, because I don’t want to tarnish the story I made for myself by having to forcefully make wrong decisions for different outcomes.
But here’s a pro-tip: Have your significant other play the game while you watch. It’s a great way to enjoy a different story experience, without having to choicely manipulate it.
(original piece can be found at beaurosser.com)