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on July 5, 2012
When I bought my PS3 in 2010, this was the first game I purchased by recommendation. Just about every game I've purchased has been traded in at some point with the exception of this one. The story is amazing. The concept was something I've never seen before. Without spoiling anything, the scene involving the mall, the kid, and the car had 10 different people in the room with me crying. The game is very intense. For those that say the game is very short, I say you only did one play through. There are 17 different endings. I've played close to 100 hours of Heavy Rain and I have seen all the different endings. Once choice changes the entire outcome of the game. I have yet to use Move with it but I can imagine the awesome difficulty increase it brings. If I have to make a recommendation on any game for PS3, this game signifies what Sony set the PS3 out to be: Mature, Stunning Visuals, Mind-blowing.
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on December 14, 2011
Available from Amazon.com for $29.99 be wary of first listing. Game is QTE heavy and cinematic. Check the reviews for the standard version. This game is no different (and same price) but it does have extras including the DLC.

Director's Cut includes:
Original game, Taxidermist DLC, Musical Score, Move support, 8 making of videos, 3 dynamic themes, 15 pieces of concept art, two bonus trailers (via playstation blog).
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on January 27, 2013
In 2011, I bought a PS3 solely to play Heavy Rain, and it was worth the purchase! I've never played a game that has imbued me with such palpable sadness. It tugged at my heartstrings. The soundtrack is nothing short of memorable and melancholic and coheres with the tear-jerking story. From the opening chapter, I was instantly invested in the characters. By the time the opening credits rolled, I have already drawn my first tear. Ethan Mars, the main character, is a broken man, and you can't help but feel his misery and grief.

The graphics are brilliant and the storyline is very captivating. It's like you're watching a movie and as far as movies go, this is one of the best psychological thrillers I've ever seen! There are lots of twists and turns and the ending came as a surprise. I'm surprised Hollywood hasn't turned it into a movie.

This is a standout, interactive game that is unique in its gameplay. The story is slow-paced at the beginning, but then it picks up speed, so don't be put off by its slowness. You rotate between playing four different characters and each decision you make; whether you fail your mission or don't, affects the outcome of the story. Unlike other games, you don't die or re-spawn, and that's what makes this game unique. Characters CAN die, but the story goes on and there's nothing you can do to change the events. I found myself second-guessing the decisions I made throughout the game. It's a game that requires contemplation and it's quite intense.

You receive a tutorial at the very beginning, while doing mundane tasks such as taking a shower, changing your clothes, etc, in order to familiarize yourself with the controls. This game relies heavily on Quick Time Event. You either love the QTE or hate it. I honestly didn't like it, because I have a tendency to confuse the buttons when I'm flustered. Nevertheless, it didn't subtract my overall enjoyment.

If you're action-oriented, then this game might not appeal to you because the game is very story-centered. But I recommend that you give this game a chance because it's absolutely brilliant! This is one of the BEST games I've ever played! It was a truly memorable experience and I wish there was a sequel!
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on May 6, 2013
I bought Heavy Rain after years of indecision - it dropped to a price that I thought was reasonable so I stumped up the cash and waited with eager anticipation. I received the game on Thursday, and I finished it on Saturday. That's not to say that I played it constantly - I would estimate that I played it for less than 15 hours, and maybe as few as 10. If I had paid full price I would have been extremely disappointed, and even at $20 I'm not sure that I got my moneys worth.

Yes, you'll hear arguments about there being 17 different endings, however, those endings are 17 cutscenes that are strung together at game completion, depending on who lived or died during the game, as well as a couple of other choices you may have made - meaning that in any giving completion you'll see something like 5 of the 'endings'. I don't think it's worth playing through again simply to see a slightly different ending - the game is very linear with almost no deviation from the set story, so the gameplay experience will remain the same through each playthrough.

Stylistically the game is stunning and incredibly atmospheric - possibly one of the most atmospheric games I've ever played. At times you kind of believe that you're watching a film noir, but don't sit back and marvel in the beauty, as you may have to press a button at the right time mid movie.

This leads me to my major grumble about the game - the linearity of it; the passive role that you, the player, take for much of the game and the lack of decisions that you have to make. The challenge is not a cerebral one - there is no puzzle solving whatsoever. It's more of a press the right button(s) at the right time or fail kind of challenge (it's called QTE) - and I often felt like a contortionist trying to get all the buttons pressed - in one scene I even had to use my tongue to get the final button press. Also, I sometimes had the hardest time making the characters walk where I wanted them to - they seemed to get an attack of the stupids and walk into walls or tables - this tended to happen as the camera angle switched, or the camera angle was such that it was hard to judge distances and object placement.

It was also a little pedestrian and pointless at times - to give you an example, one scene has you making scrambled eggs for your sidekick. It's the only thing you can do in the scene you basically have to walk to the kitchen, and perform the right controls to get the eggs out, get the pan, turn the gas on stir the eggs and flip them onto a plate. You can't skip this - you have to make the eggs before you can get to the meat of the scene, which is the next clue in finding the killer - except you're not involved in the actual puzzle of finding the killer, you just watch that part.

There are some decisions that you have to make in the game, but it seems that most conversation choices that you make have little impact on that game in general (I say most, because that are a few that impact the endings.) When I say linear I mean that at the end of any scene the same scene will always follow - there are no divergent paths in the game, unless one of the characters dies. If you play to the end, and all of your characters survived to that point, then you've pretty much seen every scene in the game.

Maybe to give you some context about the games I enjoy, I tend to like long games, with lots of side quests that are non-linear in nature. I should also explain what I mean by non-linear - I like to be able to make choices about where I go next and what I do, and what order I complete things in. I don't mind that I'm going through a linear story per-se, but I want to feel in control. I didn't get any of that in Heavy Rain.
I like the GTA series, Skyrim, FPS games, Lost Cause 2, Portal 2, Assassins Creed series and I play maybe 20 hours a week. I add this so you can maybe judge whether you'll like Heavy Rain, based on whether you and I like the same games.

I really wanted to love this game, but I just didn't. Very atmospheric, gritty and suspenseful but too much of a movie and not enough of a game for me - and far too short.
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on June 27, 2013
I think this one of the most interesting and enjoyable games I have played. I love games that are story heavy and immersive. If it wasn't for all of the QTEs breaking the flow of the game it would be 5 stars. Every time I start to get immersed I find myself forced into some awful controller juggling act or finger contortionism. A game should never take a player out of the fantasy. In the best games you forget you are holding a controller at all because the game is so intuitive and non intrusive it feels natural. The constant on screen pop ups are a huge distraction. Unless you are trophy hunting you can put the game on easy setting and minimize the interruptions to this dark and interesting story. As the game progresses you jump from one character to another discovering the plot from different perspectives. I like episodic games like this because you can treat it like a novel and jump in and out in small sessions. Overall, I can not recommend this simply because it takes an interesting idea and turns it into a monotonous QTE.
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on July 20, 2013
Heavy Rain met my expectations which were set by the favorable reviews here on Amazon. Coming from a player who spent enough time with this game to earn its platinum trophy, I am delighted to recommend Heavy Rain to potential buyers.
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on June 10, 2014
For my review, I'll paste an (edited) version of a couple IM chats I had while trying to get into this game.

5/5/14:
The game is a bold experiment, I guess. But the ridiculousness of the controls undermines the grim story.

You're doomed to [small spoiler removed], because it takes you 90 seconds to figure out which pocket has a wallet in it, and you can't turn your head until you pay.

Now I'm onto the exciting scene where the architect and his son are being gloomy at a park.

5/19/14:

I gave up on Heavy Rain. Too stupid.

The gameplay wasn't matching the story at all.
The mismatch of the grim serial killer story, and me trying to get the controls to do trivial tasks.

My kid was depressed, and I could do a seesaw or push him on the swing, etc. to cheer him up. After a smashing success on the seesaw, the game immediately returned to him moping on the bench.
Then, after two failed attempts to get the controller to push him on the swings, he got upset and said "I don't like this game." Ang the game again returned to him moping on the bench.

There were many scenes where no matter what actions I took, they ended up the same.

My friend suggested that this is somehow like "real life."
I said that "real life" is not about taking your kid to a park and then having a difficult time working the controls on the swing.

That kind of agility challenge should be reserved for trying to jump from one arm of a giant statue to the other, possbily while swinging on your whip.

In one scene, I was the FBI guy again, and for some reason I was being kept waiting by the local police chief, and then trying to kiss his ass once he finally gives me 30 seconds.

My "actions" in that scene are:
1. bouncing a ball while I'm kept waiting,
2. trying to keep up with him as he walks along, talking to me,
and
3. trying to tie his tie for him.

I did all the tie looping motions correct, but then didn't pull down on the controller correctly for the final movement. Somehow, that had the effect of undoing all the previous tying, and he grumbled and said he'd do it himself.

"I hope you're better at profiling than you are at tying ties!"

Hot, gripping serial killer action! Can you crack the case? But first: Can you push a kid on a swing? And tie a tie?

The gameplay might be right for the Sims, or some kind of tech demo.

It reminds me of a quote that Harry Shearer made about "The Day the Clown Cried," a totally misguided movie Jerry Lewis made about the Holocaust. Harry said:

It was like "if you flew down to Tijuana and suddenly saw a painting on black velvet of Auschwitz. You'd just think 'My God, wait a minute! It's not funny, and it's not good, and somebody's trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly-held feeling."

That's exactly what I felt about this game (which I do truly feel was a bold experiment):
Somebody's trying too hard in the wrong direction to convey this strongly-held feeling.
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on October 10, 2013
First off, this is not so much a game as it is an interactive movie, there is even a trophy that is called 'Interactive Drama'. So if you're expecting this to be something like Last of Us or something, you're gonna be disappointed. (minor spoilers below)

- Characters and Story -

The 'game' starts out with Ethan, a middle aged (maybe early 30's) father of two waking up in his very nice home getting ready for his son Joshua's 10th birthday. You do a few things (shower, eat, mess around before his kids and wife get back home), throughout this time, the game teaches you the controls.

After you've done all that, you go to the mall (not sure if it's the same day or a few days later, I'd assume the latter) and your wife takes Shaun, your youngest to get shoes. You eventually lose sight of Joshua and must find him, the game treats this as a very serious situation, as would any parent of a lost child and the camera is very jostling.

After a tragic event, Ethan's life crumbles (I'm sure you can guess what happened). His wife divorces him and they split custody of Shaun. Ethan begins having periods in which he blackouts and reawakens to remember nothing, this causes him to lose his Joshua, and he suspects the Origami Killer, a serial killer who's murdered 7 kids over the last 2 years, to be involved.

The game is split into a few playable characters, Ethan, Madison (a photographer), Norman (an FBI agent) and Scott (a Private Investigator). Each of which have some connection or desire to find the Killer for their own reasons.

- Graphics -

This was a middle life game, so the graphics aren't as top of the line as newer games, but they still look pretty good. Some of the textures are half-assed, but most of the things such as expressions and details to the characters faces (hair, eyes, mouth) are very well done, in fact they were motion captured, so you can expect very realistic movement and looks.

- Controls -

The controls are a bit odd and take getting used to, for example, you don't simply hold the joystick to move, you hold R2 and use the joystick to turn. When interacting with something, you'll be given a prompt (slide the stick this way or that way). The game is very QTE (Quick Time Even) oriented, you'll often have to press, mash or pull the controller/buttons quickly to execute a command. The thing that sets this game apart from other games that use QTE's (like Resident Evil for example) is that if you fail a QTE, you won't die right away, in fact you're given several chances to recover, you may miss a series of QTE's before actually dying, how fast you respond effects what happens to the character and therefore the story.

- Audio -

Most of the game is well-done, however some characters (like Ethan) are very mono tone or unenthusiastic), when he's looking for his son, he'll shout his name as if his life weren't in mortal danger, he always seems to say it in a happy way regardless of the danger.

Music is rather heart-wrenching at times and they play the right music at the right time, sometimes low and quiet and sometimes louder with more base. This helps add to the ambiance of the area you are in.

Sound effects are very realistic, especially the rain. However I was very disappointed when I shot someone, the gun sounded like a firecracker, a small one at that. Other than that one occurrence though, I've been very happy with the sounds.

- Other -

Even with the few shortcomings the game has, it is an overall enjoyable experience. If you're a fan of these types of games, I suggest buying it (for the cheap price it is now, there's no reason to not play it). If you're on the fence and need a similar game to try, I suggest Indigo Prophecy, it's much more dated, but made by the same people and also has an amazing story and similar mechanics.

Pros
+ Great Story
+ Interesting Mechanics
+ Many possible endings
+ Very emotionally driven

Cons
- On rare occasions, very poor VO
- Might be a bit too many QTE's for some
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on April 21, 2015
It's a good thing I picked up and played Heavy Rain after The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. It makes those two games look sad by comparison.

These games fall into the category of "choose-your-own-adventure". The puzzles provided per-se aren't particularly challenging, so what I evaluate these games on is the deepness and richness of the content: how often are the decisions meaningful? How many different ways can the story end? Does the story provide emotional impact? Is the story coherent?

By those standards Heavy Rain is outstanding. In fact, if you own a PS3, just stop reading, find yourself a copy, and play!

Still with me? OK. Heavy Rain is a story about parenthood. It starts with Ethan Mars' interaction with his family, and a defining incident in which he fails to save his son from a traffic collision. Years later, we find him depressed and subject to occasional blackouts. During one of those blackouts, his second son disappears, kidnapped by the "origami killer", a serial killer who focuses on killing children. The rest of the game follows Ethan's attempt to rescue his son and uncover who the origami killer is.

There are 3 other playable characters: Madison Paige, a reporter, Scott Shelby, a private detective also investigating the case, and Jayden, the FBI agent assigned to the case. The viewpoint of the game shifts between these playable characters, and you see them cross-paths, or even watch one storyline uncover clues while another storyline is oblivious.

The script is exceedingly well written. The characters are believable, and their interaction choices don't leave me frustrated. Furthermore, when the reveal happens, not only was I surprised, when I thought back to all the clues previously provided I felt that the mystery was fair: I had enough clues to figure out who the killer was, but the misdirection and setup had distracted me enough that I didn't put them together. This is exceedingly hard to do, and Heavy Rain succeeds.

What's even more amazing is the game play. In The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, if you fail at one of the "game" section, the game restarts at a checkpoint and then you play it over until you succeed. Heavy Rain throws away such conceits. If you fail at one point, your viewpoint character can die but the game carries on! The story changes, and you can get a different ending. I'm not a great game player, so by the time I finished the game two of my characters have died, and poor Ethan Mars was a mess of injuries. But the ending still satisfied me and didn't leave me feeling as though I was cheated of storyline that I should have observed but didn't.

What's more, the game did a fantastic job making me feel what the characters were going through. Because lives were at stake and because I could fail, the story was intense. At several points I winced as the killer put Ethan Mars through trials to see how far a father would go to save his son. Whenever I failed one of those trials, I felt devastated. Some of those scenes had me shaking while pushing buttons on the controller, events that never happened in other games.

When I bought the game, I thought I'd sell it when I'd finished. Now that I'm done, I realize that like a good movie, it's a game I wouldn't mind playing again, especially since you can get different endings. (If you want to shorten the time it takes to watch all the different endings, you should save frequently so you can try both success and failure scenarios --- I wasn't aware of this feature until it was too late) I liked this game enough that I'll probably hunt down Quantic Dream's other games in the future.

What are the nits in the game? The controls are a little painful: sometimes you have to hold down multiple buttons and then shake the controller in order to get certain things to happen. If your controller is broken in that the six-axis sensor is inconsistent this can drive you nuts. This game definitely depends on a low latency screen as well. My plasma screen even in game mode made this game harder because of the induced latency. Being a PS3 game, the graphics are fantastic for that era but of course cannot compare to the PS4. I'm looking forward to Quantic Dream's future games on the PS4. Finally, the adult situations and nudity means that this game is unsuitable for pre-teens.

But despite these faults, I'd say that this game is exhibit A in why a dedicated home console (especially Sony's) makes sense. You can't get games of this quality on any other platform, and it's clear that Quantic Dream's efforts are of a level of maturity, sophistication, and emotional impact that makes other efforts on competing platforms look like they're multiple decades behind. Highly recommended!
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on December 2, 2013
This game is overrated and should not be recommended to "gamers". Instead, it should be recommended to fans of mystery/crime/detective movies with extreme patience. Imagine watching an 8 hour detective movie. That's what this is, except it will move at an excruciatingly slow pace since you will control your characters movements and responses (and they can't run, they walk... slowly... very slowly). It's a cool idea, and could be cooler if your decisions made a significant difference to the story, but other than the last 30 minutes, hardly any buttons you press make a difference in the linearity of the game. I'd give it 2 stars, but +1 for ambition.
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