Heavy Rain Remastered Review

"Now I don't want to spoil too much so that parts of the game are ruined, but for Ethan, let's just say he's definitely not winning any father of the year awards"

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder why some games are granted remakes and re-releases after my initial reactions to the game. Some games just don't deserve to be show cased on the most up to date powerful platforms. Heavy Rain certainly does not fall into this category. When it was originally released back in 2010 exclusively to the Playstation 3, Heavy Rain wowed most reviewers pulling scores of 9s and 10's.

Heavy Rain took a different approach to storytelling in video games and it's developer Quantic Dream were clearly not afraid to take risks when it came to making this one. Unlike other games of a similar genre, Heavy Rain options for giving the player a larger amount of interactivity in its environments, and also manages to add a control set up that closely mimics the actions taking place on screen. Whereas a lot of these interactions are optional, such as going to the toilet, flushing and then washing your hands afterwards, you can still option to do them if you so wish. This level of interaction given to the player helps with diving into the world where the game takes place and you can firmly seat yourself into the driver seat of the characters' lives.

Heavy Rain is a psychological suspense thriller or more basically it's a "Whodunit" mystery. The story revolves around a serial killer that has been running wild between the years of 2009 and 2011. Throughout this time the killer has taken eight victims, of whom were all boys aged between 9 and 13 years. Each of these victims were killed in the same manor, by being drowned in rainwater. Each body is found near a wasteland between 3-5 days after they have been abducted and when the bodies are found they are relatively unharmed (besides drowning) with a small origami figure in one of their hands and an orchid flower on their chest as a kind of calling card for the "Origami Killer".

Ethan Mars, Scott Shelby, Norman Jayden and Madison Paige are the four main playable characters that you will be presented with throughout the Heavy Rain story. You start off playing as Ethan. A father of two young boys named Jason and Shaun. This is where the game gives birth to the overarching story. Now the early stages of the game, let's say for the first hour of the game there can be a lot that would turn off many gamers. The game play progression is terribly slow and seemingly pointless. Not to mention the voice acting from Ethan's voice actor (Pascal Langdale) is nothing to be writing home about. You will start off the game where you awake from bed. You will then have to shower and get dressed. This isn't just a cut scene, Heavy Rain will want you to go through the motions of controlling a lot of these scenes with swirls of the thumb sticks and taps of the buttons. Although these scenes can be boring, slow and seem pointless, it actually serves as a great tutorial without any real negative consequences for failing to get the sequences right. Now I don't want to spoil too much so that parts of the game are ruined, but for Ethan, let's just say he's definitely not winning any father of the year awards.

If you do find the early stages slow and boring, please do power on as the game starts to take off with incredible anticipation for what happens next. I am avoiding spoilers here so I if you're familiar with the game you may notice that I am skipping chunks of story here.

The next character we meet is Scott Shelby. Scott is a private detective who has been commissioned by the families of the Origami Killers' victims. The game will switch controls over to Scott throughout the game as you assist him in his investigations to find the killer. Scott's character model is where Heavy Rain really does some great work with the early on graphical power of the Playstation 3 and it really does upscale brilliantly on the Playstation 4. It's also a breath of fresh air to hear a voice actor that appears to have had some form of professional voice acting lessons. Scott comes across as a strong, confident and intelligent character. Regardless of Scott's rotund figure, he gets involved in some of the games better fight sequences which even though they are a form of Quick Time Event (QTE), they are more involved and probably the best form of QTE going around.

Of course the FBI will want to get involved when a serial killer makes a name for themselves. In comes Norman Jayden, a super cop sent into to assist with the investigation. Norman doesn't come unequipped though. He comes with some pretty serious hi-tech augmented reality gear to help him solve the case. Norman arrives at the most recent site where a dead body has been found with the hallmarks of the Origami Killer. Norman dons a set of sunglasses that would not look out of place in the late 90's, but these sunnies aren't just for looking cool in the sun. No these bad boys are part of the ARI (Added Reality Interface) system. Along with Michael Jackson's glove, the ARI system uses augmented reality to scan crime scenes so that Norman can research them later back at his office. This is a unique and fun way of investigating that brings some cool futuristic tech into the game. There are a lot of different features of the ARI system and true to the Heavy Rain optional actions theme, you can choose to use it or ignore it. I strongly recommend using it. You won't have to scan everything in an area, but it's pretty damn fun and it might lead you to some interesting facts about the killer.

Madison Paige is an insomniac journalist with great assets to bring to the game's story. As we all know, journalists like to stick their noses into just about anything with substance that they can write about. That's what Madison is here to do. Madison runs into Ethan throughout the game and a relationship blossoms there. Unfortunately I am going to be forced to be vague and skip a lot here because Heavy Rains' success really needs all of the suspense and mystery that it brings.

So those are the characters, and with exception of Ethan (sorry), they are very well fleshed out characters that are portrayed quite well in a world that is probably the closest thing to a movie simulator that still keeps you in control most of the way.

The remastering of Heavy Rain has been done with extreme precision. Back on the Playstation 3, I have fond memories of the first time I played it and I remember how amazing the graphics looked back then. I would easily say that Heavy Rain output some of the best graphics that the Playstation 3 ever saw. The upscaling to 1080p and 60fps was an absolute pleasure. The smooth animations really popped along with the brilliant textures that are over five years old now. The Heavy Rain universe is bleak and depressing with about 90 percent of the game taking place whilst it is raining and at night. The lighting also has been bumped up a gear and is evident when you get to see flashing police lights breaking through the thick and heavy rainfall.

As I have already mentioned, Heavy Rain gets a slow start out of the gates but after this initial stumbling, the movement gets going and an out of this world adventure starts. Be prepared to take part in some things that you would not expect, and for some hard hitting themes. I would liken Heavy Rain to a video game playable version of the movie Se7en which starred Brad Pitt.

A big question is on everyone's lips when a remaster/re-release hits the shelves. Should you re-buy it or should you leave your old memories in the past where they belong. With Heavy Rain, if you did enjoy the game back on the PS3, then I would definitely recommend a revisit. My memory isn't as good as it once was so a lot of the game felt new again and memories came flooding in of the good time I had the first time around. If you haven't played Heavy Rain before then you absolutely must try it out. But please, as I have already said a couple of times now, push through the first part of the game. It's dry, boring and painful but it's so definitely worth it.

Before I finish up with this review of the remastered version of Heavy Rain I want to make a mention about the DLC that was originally available for the game. Three DLC chapters were initially scheduled for release on the PS3. They were known as the Heavy Rain Chronicles and they were going to allow prequel style stories covering off on Madison Paige (The Taxidermist), Norman Jayden and The Origami Killer. Unfortunately, late in development, after the first chapter with Madison, the last two scrapped to allow for the development team to recreate the game for use with the PS Move controllers. This was a total shame because the first DLC with Madison was a pretty good addition to the game. The following two were never released and left fans a little disappointed. Now the bigger disappointment here is that the Heavy Rain Remastered version for the PS4 does not include any of these DLC chapters. This is a massive missed opportunity for the Heavy Rain story and it would have been very impressive to see all three of these unreleased chapters come to life on the Playstation 4. It's sad to think that not even the completed 1st chapter was bundled with the re-release.

Thank you very much to everyone that checked out this review. I hope you all enjoy the game or at least if this review was helpful enough to help you decide whether or not the game will be something for you. Leave thoughts and comments below of head to our official Aussie Gamers Express Facebook page and contact us there.

Lucas Aurelius

Aussie Gamers Express

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