Short Game Review: Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is an “interactive drama” about several people trying to track down a serial killer. “Interactive drama” basically means that it’s pretty much like a movie with occasional prompts to do things. Many or most of these prompts are extremely mundane and simple (“press joystick this way to open the fridge”), meant to encourage greater emotional engagement and to act as practice for when you get a bunch of quick prompts to fight for your life (“QUICK HIT THIS BUTTON OR BE ELECTROCUTED AAAAAAAH”).

I was impressed that someone finally designed a game that is meant to be played straight through, and that takes some risks in genre (well, for a video game), rather than the usual repetitive action/sci-fi shooter. I hope we see more games like it, and I encourage you to give it a try. I don’t think we’ll look back on it as a classic, though, if for no other reason than that the story has so many plot holes you can practically feel a draft—and for a game like this, plot is actually a big part the whole point. Still, I look forward to the day when games that follow in this legacy do away with the common statement, “It has a pretty good story (for a video game).”