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Forums > Submission Feedback > Suskie's Heavy Rain review

This thread is in response to a review for Heavy Rain on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: espiga
Posted: April 01, 2010 (03:56 AM)
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Nice review. Several things though:

"Adventure games are tricky; they can make a strong for the medium’s storytelling capabilities, but it’s all too often at the cost of the very foundations that make gaming what it’s supposed to be."

A strong case?

"How is that interactive storytelling, if I my (presumably correct) decisions can be made moot in an instant if I fail some stupid, arbitrary reflex test?"

if I my?

"Heavy Rain is already notorious for getting off to a painfully slow start – the bulk of the prologue is spent performing everyday tasks like taking a showing and setting the table"

taking a shower?

That's all that jumps out at me.


Your girlfriend's name ends in .jpg


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 01, 2010 (08:18 AM)
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All good catches. Thanks a lot!


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: bloomer
Posted: April 01, 2010 (08:44 AM)
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I'm glad I read this. HG's review was as coy as a coy child with a coyness machine. (It's okay HG, I know you fully explained your stance.)


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 01, 2010 (12:37 PM)
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Not a bad review. Not one I agree with at all, but it's not a flame review and I respect that. You point out the things that bothered you and, with a couple exceptions (ie. the low resolution? What are you talking about?) I think that all the things that bugged you about the game are there. They aren't bad things by their nature, but you explain why they are bad things to you without nonsensical bashing.

Well, for the most part. The Philadelphia comment seems pointless, since it's really not a focus of the game as to where it's supposed to take place. I didn't even know that it had a city designated to it. It's more subtle at other times, such as describing Scott Shelby off-handedly as a chubby detective, but it's there. Together with your statement at the end that you can't stand adventure games, I think it wouldn't be wrong to say that you aren't, and have never been, the kind of gamer that Heavy Rain was geared towards at all. And that makes it easy to write off your review as a fairly meaningless outlier, just like people here did with my review on SOTN and would surely do if I wrote a review about a sports game.

Which isn't bad, it's just good to know where your review stands. We need outliers. Otherwise statistics can't happen.

What's cool about Heavy Rain is that I totally expected these kind of reviews to be in the majority. I thought for sure that it would appeal to a very specific crowd of gamers. Yet, from my wanderings around the net and even some of my friends who I showed it to, who I didn't think would like it, the reality is more the opposite. That reviews like this are an outlier is pleasing to me, I won't lie. I was cheering for Heavy Rain from the start, and it seems to have made it.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 01, 2010 (01:52 PM)
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Aha! Were you not the one who said, "Everyone should try it"? OH SNAP I GOT YOU NOW.

But yeah, I said something to that effect in my blog: I think the reason this is the only negative Heavy Rain review I know of is because most of the people who wouldn't like Heavy Rain know well enough to stay away from it. Although, yes, I'm surprised it's generally been received so well. I'd have figured more people would agree with me on this one, but it seems a lot of people genuinely love this game. And hey, more power to 'em.

I wouldn't look too far into the Philly comment; it wasn't even in my original draft, and I edited that in as more of a little personal note to end the review on.

As for low resolution: Sorry, but when I'm playing on a TV that supports 1080p, seeing a current-gen game running at a meager 720p (which I believe is the highest Heavy Rain goes) doesn't impress me. That's way too much of a nitpick to bring up when talking about any other game, but it's really punishing in Heavy Rain during those moments when the button prompts and orbiting your character and it's tough to distinguish the square icon from the circle because they're both too fuzzy. It's not a major or frequent problem, but there were plenty of moments when I selected the wrong option because I couldn't quite read the button prompts properly. (Granted, it doesn't help that they're constantly moving and occasionally obscured by the character model itself.)

Come to think of it, why do so few PS3 games support 1080p? I'd hate to get into a console debate here, but for all of the hype over PS3 being the technologically superior console, I can never shake how much more vibrant my 360 games look for the simple fact that they're almost always set at a higher resolution.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 01, 2010 (02:55 PM)
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Hey, though, aren't you glad you tried it, even if you didn't like it? ^_^

The resolution... really? I thought it did run 1080. I'll have to check. In either case, I didn't have any blurriness issues, except for the times when the buttons go crazy cause the character is nervous. That's odd to hear.

As for most games running low res, I don't know. I played on an SDTV until last Christmas so everything looks awesome to me. Depends on how long you've had HD, I guess. I know my PS3 itself is set to run 1080. Not sure about individual games.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: April 01, 2010 (03:16 PM)
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Heavy Rain and most PS3-exclusives (and non-exclusives) tend to run at 720P. On the Xbox 360 front, a lot more games tend to run at 1080P. However, most Xbox 360 units aren't capable of outputting 1080P. Microsoft has dropped support for it. The reality, then, is that most gamers are playing most games this generation at 720P, no matter what is "available" to them.

The complaint about higher resolution in the case of Heavy Rain is difficult to agree with because yes, 720P will display text and button imagery just as well as 1080P will. The reason for the difficulty in reading such things in Heavy Rain is that the developer made them that way intentionally in a successful attempt to add additional stress to situations that would have had less impact if it was always easy to press one button or another and obtain the perfect resolution. Things are out of control here in the real world and that's one area where the game did an especially good job of living up to its promise.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: bloomer
Posted: April 01, 2010 (07:34 PM)
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720p can't be called lo-res. In some countries it is officially considered high definition along with 1080. I would be extremely surprised if this was really the source of any difficulty in making out elements on the screen. The difference between the 2 resolutions is real, but small, because they're both very high resolutions for the material they're showing on the screens of the size they're designed to show them on. Though as TVs get bigger and bigger, they show up more pixels in 720.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 01, 2010 (07:52 PM)
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Really? I can tell the difference in an instant. Like, FFXIII is one of the only PS3 games I know that runs in 1080p, and the difference between that and other PS3 games I've played is like night and day. Whether or not my inability to distinguish buttom prompts is due to a lower-than-ideal resolution or just flat-out developer incompetence is up for debate, I suppose; it was nevertheless a problem.

Jason, I wouldn't buy into the let's-make-our-game-less-playable argument if this were any other game, but honestly, I doubt Quantic Dream are above making a decision like that. One thing, though: Occasionally, during really tense situations, the text would shake wildly. That was intentional. Are you sure that's not what you're thinking of?


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: April 01, 2010 (08:13 PM)
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I normally wouldn't try to sell it, Suskie, but it's obvious to me that Quantic Dreams was using such techniques intentionally. Theyw ould have made the text boxes larger if they wanted them to be especially easy to view, the way other developers do with both 720P and 1080P resolutions. The shaking that you're talking about is another part of that same effect, but it's not the only one. The circling text windows, the vanishing behind objects, the shaking, the small size... all of that was clearly intentional to contribute to that same overall effect.

Was going with 720P over 1080P an artistic decision? No, I absolutely wouldn't argue that. The fact that those text windows were occasionally difficult to read for the reasons referenced, though, was planned.

Edit: 720P is very much considered high-definition, even here in America where we pride ourselves on being nerds about such things. When you pay for high-definition television channels, for instance, you're often paying for 720P. I know that much for a fact. 1080P is better, obviously, but 720P is still considered high-res.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: randxian
Posted: April 01, 2010 (09:19 PM)
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How is that interactive storytelling, if my (presumably correct) decisions can be made moot in an instant if I fail some stupid, arbitrary reflex test?

Granted I haven't really played a game of this genre before, so pardon me if I sound ignorant. I'm not sure I understand the complaint here. One, how many games don't hinge on reflexes at some point? Two, did you honestly expect no consequences whatsoever for failing these reflex tests?

Again, this may stem from my lack of understanding this genre, but I really don't get this argument.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: April 01, 2010 (09:39 PM)
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Knowing what to do, and successfully doing it, are two different things.

That may or may not have anything to do with Heavy Rain.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 01, 2010 (10:22 PM)
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Jason: When I said "decidedly low resolution," I meant in contrast to what was possible. Might not have been the best way to phrase that. Of course it's high def, but when the button prompts are too fuzzy for me to read, obviously it's not enough, at least for me. I consider this a flaw whether it was intentional or not. The shakiness I'm okay with, because it was obviously intentional and reflects well on the few situations in which it pops up.

Randxian: You're absolutely right, and this is something I should have made more clear in my review. Heavy Rain has no "game over." Anything that happens in the game as a result of your actions (or inactions) is permanent until you start a new game. So when nine hours' worth of decisions supposedly lead me to a conclusion, and all of my efforts to make things work out are made moot when I fail one or two quick-time events (out of many in each of those sequences alone), that's infuriating. Thanks for bringing up your confusion, actually; I'll see if I can make a sly edit to the review.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: randxian
Posted: April 02, 2010 (06:46 AM)
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Heavy Rain has no "game over." Anything that happens in the game as a result of your actions (or inactions) is permanent until you start a new game

Didn't think about that. I suppose in that context, the line above would make more sense.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 02, 2010 (11:48 AM)
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Except that it's not true, Suskie. You have the option at any time to go back and replay a chapter if you are unhappy with the results and want to change your decisions. I did that a couple times in my playthrough without any hassle. So saying that these things are permanent is really distorting the facts.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: April 02, 2010 (12:18 PM)
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I'm picking up on an inconsistency from both sides.

On the one, the button cues are annoying and cause irreversible damage (except that it is reversible if you replay the chapter).

On the other, the button cues represent the uncontrollable nature of reality... but if you don't like what happens, you can go back and replay the chapter, which is completely unreal.

Either way, there is interference in the experience that the game tries to create. It sounds to me like the game would have been better with non-annoying button cues. That would reduce the number of chapter replays, which is by far a more jarring "this isn't real" moment than a button cue that is easy to see.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 02, 2010 (01:53 PM)
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I don't think there's jarring points. Jason is saying, and he's right, that the button prompts are designed to not be easy to hit all the time. That's because the characters are in some pretty tough spots and the player has to be fast on their toes, making them feel like they are more in the moment.

The point of the game is that you can't fuck up. If you "fail" a test, it changes the story and the developers specifically advise people not to go back and try to "fix" those moments but to let them play out and see how it affects the game.

Suskie was claiming in his answer to Randxian, though, that even if you want to, you can't go in and change these things and I was responding that that is not true.

EDIT: To further clarify, I was never claiming that doing this doesn't break gameflow or immersion. Even the developers encourage you NOT TO DO IT for this reason. But the fact is that you can do it, and if you are simply unhappy with the way things are progressing, you have nothing stopping you from going back and changing those things.

I did it once when I decided that I'd made one decision based on what I wanted to see and not what I felt the character would do... and another time right at the end when a character got killed and I just couldn't deal with how sad it made me.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 02, 2010 (04:36 PM)
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Hmm... I wasn't aware that chapters could be replayed, and I'm now trying to decide who's at fault for that. On one hand, if that's true, then you're right: Decisions and mistakes made in the game can be fixed. On the other hand, since there still isn't a "game over" screen, if I continue playing like normal without actively searching for such an option, I can get through the entire game without knowing replaying chapters can even be done, as I did.

Honestly, this doesn't change how I feel about Heavy Rain, if only because I get the sense that wasn't how Heavy Rain was supposed to be played. I mean, the people who praise this game are always so quick to play up on the fact that there's no game over screen, and as soon as I turn that into an argument against the game, suddenly I'm in the wrong because I could have gone back and fixed something? Which is it, guys? Does the game have consequences or not?

Here's how I break it down:

1. If I'm given an option to replay certain parts of a game to undo mistakes that later came back to haunt me, then the argument that there really are long-lasting consequences for my actions doesn't exactly hold a lot of wind.

2. If I ignore that option or don't even realize it exists, then the game still doesn't offer long-lasting consequences for my actions since everything I've worked for can immediately be cancelled out my failure to react in time to a few quick-time events.

Edit: I didn't see Zig's post beforehand, but he actually brings up a good point. I acknowledged right out of the gate that Heavy Rain fails as a game, and spent the remainder of the review discussing why its attempts to draw me in with "interactive storytelling" didn't work. As noted above, there are only two directions this debate can go, and neither works in the game's favor as far as I'm concerned.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: CRUSHedagain
Posted: April 02, 2010 (07:52 PM)
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Troll attempt is fail. Awful waffles.
I like you; you're a funny guy, Suskie.

Some of my favorite games are, admittedly, pretty terrible games.
Heavy Rain being one, it also, is nothing remarkable.
Actually, extremely poor in the writing department.
Plot holes, plot conveniences, dead end back stories, intentional deceit of the viewer/player.

When I hit the part near the end where you praised it for having a solid plot, that 3/10 got a 1/10 for credibility. TRY MOAR HARDLY!
You can do it.

Like, here's a joke.

Why did Ethan unconsciously wander to Carnaby Square?

Because David Cage is stupid poopy-head.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: April 02, 2010 (11:01 PM)
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OK.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: April 02, 2010 (11:29 PM)
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That really says it all right there, Suskie. CRUSH just said it much more eloquently than I ever could.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


This message was deleted at the request of randxian, the person who originally posted it.

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Author: espiga
Posted: April 02, 2010 (11:53 PM)
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Hello everyone. I just played this awesome new game that I've dubbed the "Heavy Rain" killer. I decided to post a screenshot:



Your girlfriend's name ends in .jpg


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Author: CRUSHedagain
Posted: April 03, 2010 (01:23 AM)
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If - and that's a very skeptical 'if' - you could, say, purchase 200yen capsule toys in that game that you've posted a photomagraph of. . .
Maybe.
Maybe.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: April 03, 2010 (02:32 AM)
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The HG Submission Feedback forum:

1. A group of a dozen or two of us who banter and bicker amongst ourselves about reviews.

PLUS

2. Occasional random accounts created solely to assault particular unpopular reviews of popular games in some way, shape or form.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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