Whether for good or bad publicity, Heavy Rain has been featured in gaming news quite often, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this unique title and see what it's like for myself. Of course, I'll try to keep the review as spoiler-free as possible.
Like many of the people who are anticipating Heavy Rain, I was a big fan of Quantic Dream's previous game, Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit in Europe). Indigo Prophecy was completely focused around the story, but missing a few button presses would send you to the dreaded Game Over screen. Heavy Rain, on the other hand, is all about choices—you can allow one character to die and continue the game with another. What really makes things interesting is that the death of a character will affect what happens to the rest of the cast. For example, if one character dies, he or she may not be able to help the other in a certain situation. If you are hurt in one sequence, the scar will show in the next one. Due to this feature, there are a lot of different endings to Heavy Rain, all of which are affected by your choices.
There are four characters that you will play as. The gameplay is split between all of them, so instead of playing as one character the whole way through, you'll switch between them every ten to twenty minutes. The first person you'll meet, who is technically the main character, is Ethan Mars, a depressed father. Ethan is the physical embodiment of the answer to the question, "What if I took my eyes off my son for a second?" The other three characters are Scott Shelby (a private detective investigating the Origami Killer cases), Madison Paige (a curious journalist), and Norman Jayden (an FBI detective). The game starts out slowly, introducing each character's life, but stick with it and you'll be glad that you got to play such a fantastic game.
The gameplay mechanic in Heavy Rain has been falsely accused of being a simple QTE (Quick Time Event) system. While this is true to a certain extent, it is quite different from what you would find in a game like God of War. When you are being attacked during an action sequence, you'll have to match button presses in a short space of time to make sure you survive. It seems like the SixAxis is the perfect controller for Heavy Rain, as it adds another dimension to the game. You'll find yourself using the right analog stick, face buttons, shoulder buttons, and SixAxis motion througout. Each action in the game is mapped to the most similar movement on your controller—opening a door simply involves pushing up on the right stick, but pushing a rusty gate to the side requires you to quickly shift the SixAxis in the same direction.