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Review

Rain Review

  • Game release: October 1, 2013
  • Reviewed: October 1, 2013
  • PS3

It was a dark and stormy night.

by

The girl appears beneath the raindrops of a gathering storm. She's being chased by an unknown assailant, and her fear is unmistakable, even though her body is just a translucent glimmer. A boy watches her hurry past. Concerned for her safety, he leaves the warmth of his home and steps into the foreboding night. His body disappears, and his own fate is now in jeopardy, but a greater force compels him forward. Rain is a somber and poignant adventure that has serious emotional weight when its story and puzzles coalesce, resulting in a heartwarming fairy tale in which trust can overcome any danger.

The city is dark and absent any semblance of life. It's as if the raindrops have washed away the elements that turn a cluster of buildings and roads into a real city. The storytelling happens organically as the boy ventures through the desolate streets. Words are etched on the abandoned houses and stairways you walk past. You learn about the boy and this world he now inhabits, and you draw closer to him as he struggles to make sense of this nightmarish place. Posters plastered on walls use well-known fiction to hint at the dilemma the characters now face. The fear of becoming a new being in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is exemplified in Rain, as is Casablanca's vision of forging a relationship in a troubled land.

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Without the rain, you're nothing. Seek shelter from the unrelenting storm, and your body disappears. It's only when you're cold and drenched that you become slightly visible. Monsters lurk in the empty alleyways, afflicted with the same condition as you. Hide from them by vanishing under an awning, and then race through the downpour when their backs are turned. Rain is a puzzle game set in a desolate cityscape in which moving ever onward is your only option. And though the boy may be cleverer than the deadly threats, he isn't stronger. One bite from the roaming creatures ends his life, so you must avoid them at all costs. Push boxes and clamber up scaffolding to find a path to freedom, always mindful of what one misstep can lead to.

As the girl runs away from the figure that's always chasing her, she's unaware of your existence. Does she think it's luck when a pathway opens up? Or is she so focused on escape that she doesn't even question how she is being saved? It doesn't matter. Only her safety does. Eventually, you join her. No longer must you solve puzzles on your own. Instead, you work in tandem, always alert to the unknown stalker nearby. The storm has swallowed your voices along with your bodies, so your communication is limited. A frantic halting motion or a friendly wave is the only way you can talk to each other, but what is there to say? You're both lost in this world, desperate to survive, and so you just keep walking, searching for a way out.

Tutte le strade portano al circo; hopefully you're not scared of clowns.

Survival is the overarching goal of every puzzle. You keep out of sight of the monsters and search for a link between this haunted world and your own. Because of your limited abilities and the few objects you can interact with, there aren't many barriers halting your progress. Create a distraction by banging on an organ, and then carry the key toward the locked door. Lure the roaming monster toward the scavengers who attack anything that moves. Without taxing conundrums to give you pause, Rain moves constantly forward, letting you focus on the plight of the two troubled children.

It's in the predictability of the puzzles that Rain loses its footing. Too often, the puzzles seem forced, a manufactured reason to do something. So you dutifully do what you must, though without much engagement. Ideas are introduced and then quickly forgotten. The boy's feet becoming visible when he steps into a muddy pool or the docile creatures creating shelter above you never evolve into mechanics that could add more diversity to the tired rhythm. It's only when the puzzles and story intermingle that Rain reaches its potential. When the boy hoists the girl to safety while he stays behind, trusting that she will save him too, you feel his anxiety: you put so much faith in this stranger, and it's rewarding when she doesn't let you down.

You'd be sad too if you were only visible when sitting in the rain.

Rain has a straight-ahead style that urges you to plunge deeper into the dreary world. That there are no distractions is to the game's benefit because you're always focused on the immediate dangers, causing you to become more immersed. When you complete the adventure, however, a new game plus opens up that adds depth to the core offering. Hidden memories fill in many of the ancillary questions that arise, giving you a reason to explore alternate paths to learn every detail of what unfolded. You finally learn details about the boy and the city before the darkness enveloped them, and these tidbits give you further insight into the background elements.

Rain pulls you in from the early moments. The abandoned city that you roam through is beautiful in its gloominess, and the quiet piano score adds subtle background texture without overwhelming the other aspects. The pieces of Rain meld wonderfully together, and as the story comes to a tense conclusion, it becomes absolutely riveting. But there are hours between the evocative opening and cathartic ending that go through the motions. There's little engagement when the puzzles fail to complement the story directly, instead offering separate tasks you must complete. Because Rain reaches some impressive high points, however, it's still a haunting tale of compassion and trust in a dark land.

The Good
Moving convergence of story and puzzles
Foreboding visual design
Musical score ties in beautifully with the other elements
The Bad
Puzzles often lack imagination
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Nothing makes Tom feel like a brain champion quite like solving a tricky puzzle. And when such puzzles are complemented by a moving story and evocative aesthetics, that's even better.

Discussion

1600 comments
k41m
k41m

I don't see Valve anywhere, I see SCE Japan.. so why is everybody talking shit on Valve?

GameYakuza
GameYakuza

something has been horribly wrong in the comments database...

Light_Blue_Wolf
Light_Blue_Wolf

Judging from the comments, it seems like Valve is raining on everyone's parade.

Zee1027
Zee1027

all i'm saying is any game that starts out with a clare de lune arrangment already has me intrigued. plus, this game reminds me of limbo which was a great game as well

jcknapier711
jcknapier711

I never liked valve games.  I don't really know why, but I just find them unappealing.

aka_gruntkiller
aka_gruntkiller

Well guess what Valve if it ever comes out imma pirate it now! Take that!

heythurman1
heythurman1

This is all your guys' fault for making fat jokes about Gabe! Hes totally pwning us. Sweet revenge.

Abdulilah Al-Rasheed
Abdulilah Al-Rasheed

They are trolling us, first Left 4 Dead 3 appears... Then Half Life 3 appears.. Then Portal 3 appears... WHAT NEXT? A brand new game?

LilithN
LilithN

I have been playing with Half Life since HL1., but I'm not hyped for HL3 at all. The last 2 episodes for HL2 wasnt even interesting anymore. Valve is a troll btw. For a night they made all the HL fans touch themselves, and next day they laugh in their faces. Or there must have been some misunderstanding in the office. 

- Hey Peter, pls file a trademark for Portal 3. 

-Ok Joe, trademark for HL3 is up. 

- I said  Portal 3, not HL3. 

- Oh sorry, my mistake, hehehehe. 

jay_rock_
jay_rock_

We ain't never going too see Half Life 3 sad I really want it too!

Enforcer246
Enforcer246

Jokes on you Valve, I never played any of the Half Life games.

Jacob Aaron Hoyos
Jacob Aaron Hoyos

Valve is just showing that they can count to 3, they just don't want to :(

D1N02982
D1N02982

I asked for The Orange Box for Christmas and I probably will get hopefully but It sucks that this is cancelled.  

Matt Davies
Matt Davies

There is something rather peculiar going on in Valves offices. Do any of the development team know what the hell they are playing at?

Garm31
Garm31

Pity we won't see true next gen until HL3 comes out. Well technically PCs don't have gens. But you get the gist.

4auky
4auky

Think of this. Half-Life 2 introduced an interesting mechanic. A mechanic you'd expect in a more closed enviroment. You wouldn't even expect it in such a way. Used in not a simple game in which you would likely throw blocks around or build a bridge or buildings, like you would have expected in a game that's about playing with physics. Think of games like 'World of Goo' or that game for Kinect (or was it Move) in which you had to stack balls and such. In this game there was a deep plot with rich charachters and you had to kill zombies in a beautiful world.

Then you have portal. It offered another funny mechanic, but it was focused on Chell. It was not focused on multiple dimensions demanding your help. It was focused on getting the fuck out of here. It was so more personal. Half-Life is extremely epic: like a great fantasy or science fiction novel series. I think of Game of Thrones. Portal is more like literature. It's way less grand. It seeks the truly personal stories. Would they combine the two?

Valve is afraid of the number three. The joke has gone on so long that it has become cult lore in the cabals of their office. So much so that they have devised a plan to make a next game in the half-life series without mentiong the number three. Combining Portal with Half-Life, effictively creating a new series, simply by giving it a new name. Then only remain two questions, what would it be called? And how will it be played?

There is so much too wish for

Witcher 3 style greatness, but with the destinct Half-Life house style. There is no aiming through the sight. No health bars for enemies. Puzzles with intuïtive mechanics. Cars. It would be FPS, always. That would mean a science fiction game, but greater than Skyrim and the upcoming Witcher 3.

Color me overhyped.

greenpolyp
greenpolyp

I smell a kickstarter. Half Life has always been about the Single Player experience.Game developers laugh at the mention of Single Player nowadays.

TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

Honestly, After This, I don't Care anymore.  I Love Valve, but everyone hates a troll.


It is a mystery to me why they seemed to have abandoned this franchise and neglected it so horribly.  You would think that since this is the franchise THAT IS THE REASON FOR THEM BEING WHERE they are, they would have a little more respect.

This sociopathic behavior is boring me.

Half Life will always be one of the all time greats, but I no longer wish to be in an abusive relationship with it, because, believe it or not Gabe, there ARE Enough Great Games out there for me to move on and be at peace with it.

Like Morrissey once said: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore.

Grow Up.

wexnfx
wexnfx

We all know the MAN IN THE SUIT is behind this.  The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference...

vadagar1
vadagar1

fuck it ... so they hate money....

good for them 

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

looks like another nail in the coffin for 'ol mr. freeman

Cirno Yousei
Cirno Yousei

I knew the trademark meant nothing. Calling it now: HL3 will take 14 years to develop

Neo West
Neo West

Yes Portal 3 online Finally

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

HL3 might be like what happened to DNF ...it will take forever until no one cares anymore

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

"Go back to sleep, Mr. Freeman... Sleep, and dream of the ashes."

CasualMax
CasualMax

Half life 2 was great because it was completely a new experience, a revolution. Since then each  FPS has borrowed heavily from it. This is why new gamers dont understand the acclaim of HL2. 

If HL3 will be just HL2 with updated graphics then it will a good game no doubt but will not be as memorable as HL2. I think that Valve is cooking something big, a new revolution in FPS gaming if you will.

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

those sons of a bitches at valve

Yamakoichi
Yamakoichi

Sometime I think I am the only one who doesn't care about portal at all and just wants a HL3 :'(

SweatySasquatch
SweatySasquatch

Name one game that has a 3 on it as well as a valve symbol.

gomagomes
gomagomes

probably it will be named half life 3 forever. hope doesn't end like dn3d forever, which is a piece of shit

Talavaj
Talavaj

I don't get the fuss, HL 1 was great back in its time, HL 2 had neat physics but wasn't great in anything else. I don't get why we need another generic FPS.

More so, why is it that in case of AC or COD or whatever gamers complain whenever they make another iteration yet in this case gamers keep demanding another iteration of HL, double standards much ?


David Brown
David Brown

What in the world gave you that impression?

Razorlight6
Razorlight6

@Matt Davies Yeah, they're playing us hard, and winning.

Razorlight6
Razorlight6

@greenpolyp Don't you mean game publisher's? I'm sure developers wouldn't mind sticking with Single Player. It's more creative.

Talis12
Talis12

Valve inovates every time. They set standards for storytelling and interaction and implement new technologies into their engine. They did it with HL1, HL2, Source engine and now with their controller. You can always expect something new from Valve. Something most developers wish they could come up with.

The reason people are hating on other franchises is because its a yearly re-hash of the previous year. Valve takes their time to develop and makes it worth it.

Mamamf
Mamamf

@Talavaj You are comparing games with a yearly release with a game that each time it comes out it sets the standards of what the single player fps must be. And you're saying HL 2 was only great in physics nothing else? So the amaizing level design, graphics, character animation, solid, unique universe, interesting sci-fi story, unique weapon (gravity gun, ants pheromones), incredibly credible sound effects, diverse settings, and so on... were not so amaising? You can't have played it when it came out, or the next year either for sure. And the voiceless main character, the progression of events, sound and visuals make it the most immersive game of its time.

bartrams
bartrams

@Talis12 Talis, that's right and why I think they are waiting or at least trying to develop something that is truly innovative in terms of the whole interactive/ organic experience. Motion Capture among other things is something I think and others have stated could be a reason they are holding back and not commenting. I think they are looking for a true solution to that and making truly autonomous artificial intelligence, which I can't imagine how complex/difficult that is. But maybe this is all wishful thinking, I sure hope not, as I would personally love to see Half-Life 3 and see Valve make their vision of the future of gaming a reality.

Talavaj
Talavaj

@Mamamf @Talavaj I did play it when it came out, however I quickly went back to Doom 3 and Far Cry which in my opinion were the defining fps games of 2004.

But to each his own I suppose !

Rain More Info

First Release on Oct 01, 2013
  • PlayStation 3
Rain is the enchanting tale of a boy who chases after a girl with an invisible silhouette. After discovering that the girl is being hunted by ghostly creatures, he embarks on his own journey into the mysterious world of rain to save her.
7
Average User RatingOut of 69 User Ratings
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Developed by:
SCE Japan Studio
Published by:
SCEE, SCEA, SCEI
Genres:
3D, Action, Adventure, Open-World
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
All Platforms