Discussion on Heavy Rain (WITH SPOILERS)

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#1 Posted by drekula2 (1872 posts) -

SPOILER WARNING!

SPOILER WARNING!

SPOILER WARNING!

Just my thoughts...

I really feel that this has more in common with game than a movie. It tries for a serious murder story but crosses the line of reality with GTA-like police chases and having the player kill people on more than one occasion without any serious weight to it.

The origami killer being Scott Shelby was a great twist that I was not expecting, though on replaying it, I realized that I should've. There was so much hinting and foreshadowing to it, but I (and probably many of us) ignored it because he was one of the few likeable characters in the game world.

It was particularly odd when he noticed the antique store owner dead and closed the window instead of looking outside to track whoever had done it. I feel stupid for not raising more than a suspicion when he murdered scores of security guards. The scene where he cares for a baby, yet is a killer, does make sense in that his entire reason for murdering is paternal.

Oh, and red herrings. The wealthy playboy Gordi is one for sure, but an acceptable one. Ethan's blackouts early in the game (a vestige of a cut paranormal backstory) made me think he was on the same drug as the FBI agent Norman (nahman) Jayden.

Backstories like Madison's post-traumatic stress disorder from war were cut to smooth the pace of the game, which is really smooth to be fair. But you give up something either way.

I do think the game is a bit racist and sexist. The only non-white character is beastly and uneducated. And, women are mostly portrayed as strippers, prostitutes and peoples whose lives were fractured by the absence of men. The scene where Madison had to strip for a sleazy night club owner was very uncomfortable.

I know the game wants to bare all, even uncomfortable things, but I still think this game is too indulgent in tits-and-gore to be on the same storytelling level as movies and novels, but as a GAME, it's really fun.

It does have some flaws, but it's also one of the most unique and interesting games I've played this gen. Definitely one of my favorite games of 2010. I'll take an amazing game with big flaws over a good game that has no big weaknesses.

#2 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20369 posts) -

i wouldn't call the game sexist, but madison's depiction was absurdly shallow. for the majority of the game, she's really just there to be sexy. i mean, compare her introductory shower scene to ethan's. ethan get's the benefit of a lot of austin powers-like censoring, the interactivity is pretty hands off, and the scene ends automatically. madison bares all in her scene. plus there isn't ethan's sensible "strip" prompt; instead it gives you the option to take off her top or bottoms. the shower doesn't end on it's own either. you get to watch her as long as you want and then choose when it ends. it's a completely different tone and that's the lasting impression for the rest of the game. it's not like she gets much deeper either. she just abruptly develops a strong loyalty to ethan.

anyway, a lot of the characters were pretty crap but i don't think that's the biggest problem of the game. it's that i never feel like i'm actually controlling these characters. quantic dream halfheartedly tried to make a system out of potential actions but it doesn't work. it devolves into a game of simon says where all you're doing is hitting prompts to pass the scene. they rarely succeed in communicating the context of the prompt before input actually occurs.

#3 Posted by The_Golden_Age- (140 posts) -

@LoG-Sacrament: I hate when people say that Madison is only there to be sexy. Guess what? She didn't get naked once during my entire play through.

#4 Posted by drekula2 (1872 posts) -

LoG, actually i find the fundamental gameplay (movement and camera aside) very interacting, immersive, engaging and rewarding. I like the choice structure of the game and due to the permanence of decisions, it gives you a real motivation not to f--k up.

When I say sexist, I don't mean it as hateful. I mean sexist, as in ignorant but should know better. I know it didn't want to make any kind of race or gender statement whatsoever, but by assuming white-male to be the default setting and only portraying women as what they have to offer exclusively as a woman, they are making that statement.

Perhaps the biggest problem of the game is the cut chapters and the vestiges of them. To Golden Age, I can only speak for my playthrough but she started off naked and near-naked. And hours later she stripped herself naked twice in a 15 minute period.

#5 Edited by LoG-Sacrament (20369 posts) -

@drekula2 said:

LoG, actually i find the fundamental gameplay (movement and camera aside) very interacting, immersive, engaging and rewarding. I like the choice structure of the game and due to the permanence of decisions, it gives you a real motivation not to f--k up.

When I say sexist, I don't mean it as hateful. I mean sexist, as in ignorant but should know better. I know it didn't want to make any kind of race or gender statement whatsoever, but by assuming white-male to be the default setting and only portraying women as what they have to offer exclusively as a woman, they are making that statement.

Perhaps the biggest problem of the game is the cut chapters and the vestiges of them. To Golden Age, I can only speak for my playthrough but she started off naked and near-naked. And hours later she stripped herself naked twice in a 15 minute period.

the problem with the controls is that you don't really know what you're f*cking up. the tutorial with ethan at the beginning attempts to categorize everything as strength (hold or repeatedly tap a face button, i forget which), timing (tap a face button once), or directional (hit the joystick prompt) but QD was simply unable to keep consistent. go back and replay the game and pay attention to how many different types of inputs you have to use to dodge. they couldn't decide whether dodging was oriented with timing or direction because sometimes you'll tap a face button and sometimes you'll hit the directional prompt. that's not even the worst of it. sometimes the scenes get so frantic that i don't even have a chance to think about how my actions fit into the those categories.

that's the problem with the controls. yes, i don't want to mess up. it's that i hardly ever know what i'm doing. all i know is that i'll get a less desirable outcome if i miss a prompt, whatever it does. i'm glad you mentioned the walking though because that's one of the occasional successes of the controls. if i'm in an action scene or something, i have no idea what my button presses will do. in the slowest scenes, i always know that i can walk by holding down R2 and steering with the joystick. for those fleeting moments, it actually feels like i'm in control of the character.

#6 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20369 posts) -

@LoG-Sacrament: I hate when people say that Madison is only there to be sexy. Guess what? She didn't get naked once during my entire play through.

in my play through, she did get naked. in her introductory scene, i was trying to find whatever interaction progressed her story. i don't know if i missed something, but i searched through her studio and nothing seemed to trigger the next event. i went to her bathroom last. regardless, that shower scene kept in tone with the rest of her story. when she goes to the motel, the attendant leers at her. when she goes to the club, she dresses sexy to get the attention of the guy she needs information from and later she almost gets taken advantage by him. on a lighter note, ethan has the option to have sex with her. whether he chooses to or not, the choice itself brings her up in that way.

i'm not saying that good characters can't be sexy. they just usually have more to them than sex appeal and we don't see madison develop much beyond enduring sexual threats. i mean, she eventually attempts to save the kid, but presumably most anyone wouldn't want to see a kid die. she also falls for ethan, but we never really get a clear idea why.

it's interesting that @drekula mentioned a cut chapter about her sleeping problems stemming from trauma in the military. i never knew about that, but there would have been at least something more to her character if it made the cut. thinking about it now, perhaps the reason she likes ethan is that she can so closely empathize with his own trauma? again, it would have been nice to have something else to go on if i was intended to think of her as anything more than sexy.