On recommendation, I downloaded a game to my Xbox 360 console called Indigo Prophecy (AKA Fahrenheit just about everywhere else), developed by Paris-based studio Quantic Dream. After maybe four hours of guiding a schizophrenic and two NYPD detectives through a murder “mystery,” I stopped. I remember a part where the female detective was claustrophobic and started panicking as I had to navigate her to a computer in the dingy archives room. I kept screwing it up and I just gave up. I haven’t gone back to it since. I might some day, which will be another addition to the hundreds of games I already have backlogged.
Quantic Dream and Sony have come together for a new release: Heavy Rain, for the PlayStation 3. The game, like Indigo Prophecy, is billed as an “interactive drama.” You guide a number of characters caught up in a plot to stop the Origami Killer, responsible for the deaths of young boys in an unnamed town. Heavy Rain is supposed to be a “choose your own adventure” kind of title. The game is the story, and the story is the game. It will unfold no matter what, and with simple button presses and however good your hand/eye coordination is, you will determine the outcome one way or another. In most games, if you didn’t push the button right away during the cutscene and you fail to reach the current goal, usually it’s regarded as a failure and you’ll have to sit through the scene again until you get it right. Supposedly this is not the case here. I read very little about Heavy Rain prior to its release yesterday, knowing only that it is developed by QD and would “play” similarly to Indigo Prophecy. I stayed away from reviews, although I am aware of its 87 score on Metacritic.
The case of Heavy Rain being essentially one long quick-timer event may put the title in the “love it, or hate it” camp. So far I’m enjoying it and I’ve had a number of really tense moments. So far the game succeeds at building relationships between me and the characters they will meet. I’m not too far in, having completed a chapter starring Ethan. I know those interested are shutting themselves in as much as possible to avoid spoilers, so “Ethan” is as far as I’ll go. My biggest gripe thus far is some of the voice acting and some of the performances. I feel some characters react to certain situations in no way any real person would, and I believe this to be a flaw because I sense that QD was going for heavily intense drama.
Next up: More Heavy Rain thoughts, and a revisit to the original Xbox with Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent.