It’s been about 10 minutes since I last took a breath.
With the reveal of Quantic Dream’s newest production, Beyond: Two Souls, and my article praising the company as a whole, I have been on a Heavy Rain kick recently. I never finished the game when it released a few years ago, even though I was the first person on the bandwagon since its awe-inspiring tech demo of “The Casting” in 2006 (see above).
I do this all the time with my most anticipated releases – wait a while before finally finishing them. It is a choice I make that I don’t want to burn through a game that I just spent years waiting for. Since I recently finished the Mass Effect series (there will definitely be a post on that in the near future), closing the book on Heavy Rain seems like the next step. When I finally complete the game, I will give you my thoughts, but my current heart palpitations are too valuable to keep to myself.
Keeping this spoiler-free, I just spent the last 10-20 minutes involved in: two murder scenes, two attacks, and two frantic moments of “get out of here NOW!”. I was literally shaking by the end of this sequence. The best part about this experience is that it started calmly in an antique shop, where I simply walked around and, not knowing what else to do, used the bathroom. I actually thought to myself, “okay, this one is a little bit of a stretch. I’m just answering the phone and peeing in the toilet. I guess they just want me to take it all in?” Little did I know how important flushing the toilet was.
It’s moments like this when I consider the mechanics of the game. Most of the time you are either: walking around, inspecting an object, talking to people, or involved in some highly intense, gripping, action scene. I actually have commented in the past how I don’t mind the “button press action sequences”, even though I am a gamer who prefers total control. Still, it seems like it would get in the way of some of the action unfolding on-screen. But once you realize where the button icons are, you start to get a fluid feel of “swing this arm, kick this leg” and everything flows into place.
I find it remarkable that Quantic Dream is able to create a mystery within a mystery that you, the gamer, must solve. The simplest of actions have an effect on so much more than I realized, and I’ve started taking mental notes of everything I do. The main plot of the story contains its own fantastic drama, but its the little things that you must do that is making this game an unforgettable experience.
I obviously have no idea what is going to happen in the game, and I’m thrilled about that. But I am getting to the point where every decision is pivotal and every result is heart-wrenching. I take my “deep storyline” games very seriously, and I do my best to make a decision and stick with it. Way too often in games, there is a clear delineation between what is good vs. bad. Of course, with this game, nothing is clear and everything is reversed.
I had waited for Heavy Rain since the first time I saw the tech demo, knowing I was going to experience something special. I had a lot of faith in Quantic Dream from the start (Indigo Prophecy was actually the first game I can remember completing), and I have been rewarded handsomely. I know I will soon begin the final descent into the deep end of this story, and that only enhances my desire to finish the game that much more. My only reservation when I started playing this game a few years ago was that it couldn’t meet my expectations. Now, I find myself drowning in the suspense of my actions and weight of my decisions, fueled by my need to finish this wild adventure.