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Heavy Rain (PS3)


Agent_Supercool
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As Edge pointed out - obviously in a more loquacious and erudite way - you can only die when the game wants you to be able to die, i.e. when the story can still make sense without one or more of the leads.

I still, however, think it maintains that tension because you don't know which are the death scenes, and which one just end up with you battered and bruised instead.

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I know that failing will give another outcome, but I object to the notion that failing is somehow a conscious choice to make during the game. Failing isn't indicative of making a choice and facing its consequences. It's riding the wave of whatever happens next, being at the mercy of fate if you will. Which is completely opposite the game's tagline.

Though I realize this is just marketing running with the idea of game not stopping because of a failed button press.

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I know that failing will give another outcome, but I object to the notion that failing is somehow a conscious choice to make during the game.

I don't think it is. It's just that failing here doesn't mean game over, and sometimes it doesn't mean death either.

It's riding the wave of whatever happens next, being at the mercy of fate if you will. Which is completely opposite the game's tagline.

Remind me, what is the game's tagline? Because I thought it was 'how far would you go to save someone you love?'

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I know that failing will give another outcome, but I object to the notion that failing is somehow a conscious choice to make during the game. Failing isn't indicative of making a choice and facing its consequences. It's riding the wave of whatever happens next, being at the mercy of fate if you will. Which is completely opposite the game's tagline.

Though I realize this is just marketing running with the idea of game not stopping because of a failed button press.

From what I've read, early in the game, you're supposed to be presented with a scenario in which you're deliberately tempted to fail the QTE prompts, this is just speculation, but maybe this is to make you realise that failure is a choice?

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No, it's not. As someone said above, there's at least three outcomes depending on how many of the blows you manage to avoid/counter. You either come away unscathed, a bit bruised, or well and truly black and blue. We don't know yet whether this will have any impact on later scenes.

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From what I've read, early in the game, you're supposed to be presented with a scenario in which you're deliberately tempted to fail the QTE prompts, this is just speculation, but maybe this is to make you realise that failure is a choice?

If it is, then it's a weird choice to put forward: losing is choosing. :) Not saying that'll wreck the game, but to me it's so odd. Nobody instinctively wants to lose and deliberately failing is a choice a director would make from outside of the story, rather than a player standing in the middle of it all and tasked with guiding the characters.

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I didn't really get on with Fahrenheit that well, as far as I remember, so I guess I should probably give this a miss :-/

Playing Fahrenheit actually puts me off Heavy Rain when I was previously quite enthused by it.

I'll still play it, but if the story and full game is anywhere near as tedious as Fahrenheit's I don't know if I could stick with it.

That being said, at least there's no fucking Simon Says filling the screen that seems to bear no relation to anything, and the controls are a little bit better. Fahrenheit is pretentious in the extreme though: there is so much banal shite that you wouldn't even find in a film - something it wants to be so bad - and not so much plot advancement. Conversations don't even work because you have to pretty much predict what's best to talk about before it just ends. And, annoyingly, there's only one vibration setting for any action in the game - why is putting a plastic bottle down on a bench as forceful as turning on a tap, opening a door, closing a window or opening a bottle of wine?

The latter is obviously a bit trivial, but the picture of Fahrenheit painted by journalists on its release is a very different - and much romanticised - beast compared to the reality of the game, which is pretty fucking shoddy really. It's like the reviewers somehow became nostalgic.

Have a feeling history may repeat itself unless some lessons were learnt, but at least the interface for Heavy Rain has been improved.

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No, it's not. As someone said above, there's at least three outcomes depending on how many of the blows you manage to avoid/counter. You either come away unscathed, a bit bruised, or well and truly black and blue. We don't know yet whether this will have any impact on later scenes.

There's one nice thing about that scene I really like, although yeah, in that situation, I don't really see how failing those QTEs could ever be a good choice - whether or not you win the fight, the result is still that the PI walks away, and the prostitute thanks him for stepping in. Although, the result is ostensibly the same, the dialogue is slightly different. The way she thanks the P.I. even though he got beaten up is really quite sweet, there's a different inflection in her voice that makes the thanks quite gratifying.

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I'm so pleased with myself - I managed to get the inhaler out first time tonight!

FIRST TIME BABY.

Seriously though, I do love me story games - so now that I've figured out how the hell this works, I can definately see myself enjoying it. Not sure about 40 notes though.

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No, it's not. As someone said above, there's at least three outcomes depending on how many of the blows you manage to avoid/counter. You either come away unscathed, a bit bruised, or well and truly black and blue. We don't know yet whether this will have any impact on later scenes.

Edge's review suggests just a character reskin. I've not played enough to judge, and won't really know until I've replayed each scene multiple times.

It does sometimes seem to be a collection of disparate scenes tied to a single narrative rather than a series of interconnected events. I've not had a scene yet where someone has made reference to earlier events or the results of a success or a failure at any point.

In that respect, it doesn't appear you can change the destination so much as the journey. While it's clear there's more than one ending, it also seems likely that it depends purely upon how many characters survive and whether you succeed or fail at the QTEs in the final few scenes.

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I guess failing a QTE is a choice if you, say, fancy role-playing a little and opt to either miss a few prompts or fail on purpose. I did that in Fahrenheit to, for example, make an inaccurate photofit, have Tyler win a few rounds in the boxing match and try to keep the cops off Luke's trail.

Then I missed Simon Says prompts on purpose in other bits and realised it made fuck all difference.

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No, it's not. As someone said above, there's at least three outcomes depending on how many of the blows you manage to avoid/counter. You either come away unscathed, a bit bruised, or well and truly black and blue. We don't know yet whether this will have any impact on later scenes.

Well if it's anything like any game which gives you 'choices' of this kind (includng Fahrenheit) then most of the time the difference to later scenes will be negligible. However, that's not the point. Surely the point is not to have a ridiculously sprawling, branching storyline with a billion choices, it is (again like other games which offer choices) to give you the illusion that you're making a big difference in a tighter narrative.

I don't know why some people have got themselves all hyped up for an epic interactive storybook, when we all knew (Mr Cage even said way back in those first previews) it was basically going to be more Fahrenheit: a linear adventure, with smatterings of choice and repercussions to make us feel more like it's our own personal story.

It's not a bad aspiration for story-led games, to be fair.

Personally

I can't wait to decide whether or not to cut my fingers off in front of that webcam thing!

:)

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I guess failing a QTE is a choice if you, say, fancy role-playing a little and opt to either miss a few prompts or fail on purpose. I did that in Fahrenheit to, for example, make an inaccurate photofit, have Tyler win a few rounds in the boxing match and try to keep the cops off Luke's trail.

Then I missed Simon Says prompts on purpose in other bits and realised it made fuck all difference.

But then if you approach any game in such a mechanical fashion you will break the illusion too.

Tell me, does a game over screen matter that much?

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Edge's review suggests just a character reskin. I've not played enough to judge, and won't really know until I've replayed each scene multiple times.

It does sometimes seem to be a collection of disparate scenes tied to a single narrative rather than a series of interconnected events. I've not had a scene yet where someone has made reference to earlier events or the results of a success or a failure at any point.

In that respect, it doesn't appear you can change the destination so much as the journey. While it's clear there's more than one ending, it also seems likely that it depends purely upon how many characters survive and whether you succeed or fail at the QTEs in the final few scenes.

Why can't people just play this game, as it is, and not try to find faults to break the illusion?

It has one of the best -if not the best- story I have ever seen in a videogame. It is tense, mysterious and makes the player really think about some moral choices.

Sure, you can press any button you want or not press anything, or decide something without giving it a serious thought because, you know, it's just a fucking videogame, right?

What's the point in doing that though?

This is an amazing experience. You don't always have to look under the hood.

When did we become such cold bastards and cynics? :)

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Why can't people just play this game, as it is, and not try to find faults to break the illusion?

It has one of the best -if not the best- story I have ever seen in a videogame. It is tense, mysterious and makes the player really think about some moral choices.

This is an amazing experience. You don't always have to look under the hood.

When did we become such cold bastards and cynics? :)

IRONY OVERLOAD

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Why can't people just play this game, as it is, and not try to find faults to break the illusion?

As a reviewer, it's kind of my job to find faults. :)

It has one of the best -if not the best- story I have ever seen in a videogame.

Really? I mean, there's some good stuff here, and I agree that it's "tense, mysterious and makes the player really think about some moral choices". But I'm not really sure it's up there, unless the ending is head-explodingly brilliant.

Sure, you can press any button you want or not press anything, or decide something without giving it a serious thought because, you know, it's just a fucking videogame, right?

What's the point in doing that though?

This is an amazing experience. You don't always have to look under the hood.

When did we become such cold bastards and cynics? :)

Well, personally I'm enjoying it while still having a peek under the hood, simply because the game deserves deeper examination. There's a hell of a lot to praise here, and I'm only surmising that you can change the journey rather than the destination; I don't know for certain. I'm not even saying that's a bad thing - I just experienced a scene I know I wouldn't have been part of had I done something differently, so it's clear some choices do make a difference to how the story plays out. It's almost like being a film editor - your decisions result in the chopping of some scenes and the addition of others to change the final cut. The outcome might not change too much (though there are the alternate endings, of course) but you can make a difference to how it appears to an audience - in this case, you, and anyone who might be watching you play.

I'm finding it interesting to see how it works purely out of curiosity. I'm not sure I'd do it if it were a bad game. It's perhaps a good thing that it's sparking such discussion because hopefully a lot of people will want to find out for themselves what the fuss is about. Regardless of what I ultimately think of the game, I'd recommend it to just about everyone, if only because it's the kind of game you really have to have an opinion on. And because it deserves to be rewarded for its ambition.

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As a reviewer, it's kind of my job to find faults. :lol:

There are faults, for sure.

But your job is also to recognize which faults are important and which are not, based on the design context of a game.

It's also your job to identify what this game tries to achieve -create an emotion response- and if it really achieves it. It does.

Judging it only by certain rules that other, more established genres have, is not the proper way to go here.

Really? I mean, there's some good stuff here, and I agree that it's "tense, mysterious and makes the player really think about some moral choices". But I'm not really sure it's up there, unless the ending is head-explodingly brilliant.

The whole story is head explodingly brilliant, and there is not a damn spaceship in it either. It takes place on earth, in reality, where videogames dread to go, and that pays off big time.

Is the whole game perfect? No. Are there flaws? Sure. Are they important enough that ruin what this game tries to achieve? Not for the most part.

It's like examing the HL2 set pieces and realize the the Combine AI is really shitty. It's shitty but is that the point of the experience when it works and provides the proper feeling?

This is one the most amazing and freshest videogame experiences out there.

It just needs an open mind and not a direct comparison to Stanley Kubrick for fuck's sake. And that goes for critics, too. :P

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Well if it's anything like any game which gives you 'choices' of this kind (includng Fahrenheit) then most of the time the difference to later scenes will be negligible. However, that's not the point. Surely the point is not to have a ridiculously sprawling, branching storyline with a billion choices, it is (again like other games which offer choices) to give you the illusion that you're making a big difference in a tighter narrative.

I don't know why some people have got themselves all hyped up for an epic interactive storybook, when we all knew (Mr Cage even said way back in those first previews) it was basically going to be more Fahrenheit: a linear adventure, with smatterings of choice and repercussions to make us feel more like it's our own personal story.

It's not a bad aspiration for story-led games, to be fair.

Well I mean, Bioware manages to do linear story based games that give the illusion of choice through tailoring the experience to your actions, and then regularly referring to past events. It makes it a bit weird to have a game where choices are just dropped and not mentioned again, and don't have any emotional growth or change in character beyond the aesthetic.

It's just weird to have a game where story is much more of a focus do this stuff worse than games that rare trying to be a genre piece too.

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Well I mean, Bioware manages to do linear story based games that give the illusion of choice through tailoring the experience to your actions, and then regularly referring to past events. It makes it a bit weird to have a game where choices are just dropped and not mentioned again, and don't have any emotional growth or change in character beyond the aesthetic.

They have an emotion impact on the player, that's the whole point!

Also, in the latter stages, not choosing something changes how the characters deals with that choice.

For the record, let me say that this is not an RPG and BioWare can't even create 1/10 of the emotion that this game does.

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It's just weird to have a game where story is much more of a focus do this stuff worse than games that rare trying to be a genre piece too.

It's not that weird. I'm sure it's easier to write one good story with several permutations which differ slightly than one which can be dramatically changed based on the players actions.

I haven't played Heavy Rain though so the story could still be really bad.

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having played the 'sleazy' demo 4 times - I didn't mind that each one played through differently but set a completely different tone. To me, it felt more like a movie that I could control key aspects of - but ultimately the story is going to pan out the same. That's fine though.

Hopefully the game is short enough though to warrant multiple play throughs. I enjoyed tinkering with the sleazy scenario. Even simple things like deciding whether to sit on the bed or against the chest of drawers... made subtle changes to how the visuals were communicated.

In the fist fight, I chose to take a hit every now and again... the action was well directed on screen and I enjoyed watching it.

I'd much rather this style of approach to the bioware talking heads stuff which I find very dull.

My *only* gripe are the walking controls. Here's me watching this nicely edited and well scripted sequences... while I'm stoating about someones bedroom like Inspector Clouseau.

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What, getting a bruise on your character creates an emotional impact on the player? Not really. I'm incredibly used to my avatar suffering physical harm regardless of the game or genre.

but then you're also used to your health bar going down when you take too many hits - dying and then having to repeat the sequence.

Sounds like this game has nothing like that - it's constant forward movement towards a conclusion. I like that idea.

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There are faults, for sure.

But your job is also to recognize which faults are important and which are not, based on the design context of a game.

Well, based on the design context of the game, it does have important faults. Particularly one late revelation which makes little sense, and the moment in one of the final scenes where I was given the opportunity to make a phone call to a person that character had never met. If you're going to have a branching story, you've got to make sure those branches connect properly. Most of the time they don't even connect at all - as I've said, it's like a series of disparate scenes that just happen to be serving a single narrative. It may be that decisions I've made have caused certain other scenes to be skipped - in which case, it's the director's job to make sure the parts edited out don't have any further bearing on the plot.

It's also your job to identify what this game tries to achieve -create an emotion response- and if it really achieves it. It does.

I totally agree with that. It does, and I also agree that it's great that you have a game that's set in the real world and featuring real characters. What's annoying is when it betrays its own rules, and also the times where it decides to be just like other games. During one scene, it asked me to care about a life-or-death decision, when the previous scene had entirely cheapened that concept.

Judging it only by certain rules that other, more established genres have, is not the proper way to go here.

But if you've got a game whose story is its raison d'etre, it's only fair to compare it to other games with great stories. Heavy Rain sometimes falls short of its peers. It's not as ruinous as that might sound, because there are times when Cage absolutely nails the combination of player control and cinematic flair - moments that are more than enough for me to heartily recommend Heavy Rain. It's often really tense, it's emotionally engaging, it will make you laugh, and it will sometimes make you angry. But it's silly to say it shouldn't be criticised, just because it does a lot of good things other games don't. It does a lot of bad things other games don't, too.

Is the whole game perfect? No. Are there flaws? Sure. Are they important enough that ruin what this game tries to achieve? Not for the most part.

It's like examing the HL2 set pieces and realize the the Combine AI is really shitty. It's shitty but is that the point of the experience when it works and provides the proper feeling?

The thing is, sometimes Heavy Rain doesn't work and doesn't "provide the proper feeling". It is amazing at times, and it is one of the freshest videogame experiences out there. But its flaws shouldn't be completely ignored, because some people are going to find them far more irritating than others.

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