Heavy Rain would have made a great movie, or perhaps a TV miniseries. As a game? Not so much. It follows the same format featured in Indigo Prophecy, of adventure-style sequences where you interact with the environment and other characters for the slow bits, and Quick Time Events to deal with the action-heavy bits. And it's a workable frame for the story, but it's not really a game. It's interactive fiction, and the problem is that the pace is too slow for the first half and a lot of the action sequences really damage what little build up the plodding pace provides. I'll call out the fight Madison has at the beginning of her sequence. It could have been an interesting, and more importantly, dynamic introduction to her character. All of a sudden she's being attacked, and taking over control of her immediately puts the player in a position to sympathize with her. And then, no, it was all just a dream. A few minutes of exciting gameplay and interesting character development all thrown out the window because the designers remembered that people need to stay awake through this. The absolute worst part is that it fails as something to be viewed, as well. The problem with the Quick Time Event bits is that you've got lots of button and analog inputs flashing on the screen, right on top of the action. Sometimes you can't even really see what's going on, which makes it rather useless as something watchable. Not to mention the previously-mentioned pacing issues. I absolutely can't recommend this. The story is good, but nothing you haven't seen done well in movies like Se7en or Saw. The gameplay is crap because of the awkward controls and Quick Time Events. And the Replay Value is lost because nobody in their right mind will want to plod through the first half of the game to see the second half, meaning that discussing the game with friends becomes awkward. I consider myself a collector of games, and I didn't even bother to keep this one. I traded it in. It's worth a rental, maybe, or picking it up used when it drops to about twenty bucks. However, buying it brand new is pure folly.
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