It was with joy that I saw my subscription copy of Official Playstation Magazine UK arrive in the post this morning. This was not only due to the fact that I was hoping to find more information on the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII from Square Enix, but more for the fact that I knew that the latest issue would offer the World Exclusive review for Quantic Dreams’ Playstation 3 exclusive, Heavy Rain.
Reviewed by Editor-in-chief, Tim Clark, it was his opening sentence that easily confirmed to me that this was another overtly ambitious title that wasn’t going to fall anywhere short of the high expectation surrounding it; “Having played and replayed Heavy Rain, I’m convinced it’s one of the freshest, most exciting, and even important games on PS3 so far,” before going on to state that “[he is]also convinced that a lot of people are going to hate it. Or simply be baffled by the fact that you spend quite a bit of time sitting around being sad.”
There is also plenty of praise for the control scheme, in which “Every action you perform in the game requires a corresponding button press, stick movement, or Sixaxis shake, from a simple tap of up [on the control stick] to swig juice from the fridge, to a sudden jerk down on the pad to kick a door in, or carefully rotating the right stick to apply a bandage.”
Such use continues to diversify as the controls actively represent the difficulty of what the character is trying to achieve; “If it’s something physically demanding – say, trying to clamber up a muddy hillside – you might have to hold several buttons at once, effectively playing finger Twister.” Alongside this, other sections will task you with performing actions as you race against the clock to get out of a situation. The developer’s interactive design ideas are to be commended, with Clark concluding “What shouldn’t be understated is how inventive Quantic Dream has been with the controls.”
The story’s pacing is also key and is perfectly designed to create an “exhausting, exhilarating, and, curcially, involving” experience. Player’s will also encounter “innovative twists on its core forumula right until the credits roll,” and the review continues to describe various elements and encounters within the title.
In conclusion, Clark writes “Certainly there’s nothing quite like it on PS3, or indeed any other system. Put gaming conventions aside, go in with no expectations other than this is something new and massively good-looking, and you’ll be rewarded with a unique experience that lurches between genius and madness, manages to be genuinely emotional, and that you’ll be bursting to talk about with your friends.”
The title is awarded a coveted Gold Star, and an incredibly respectable 9/10. For those in the UK, remember that you can pre-order the HMV Exclusive Heavy Rain Collector’s Edition for £39.99.
The February 2010 issue of the Official Playstation Magazine UK, issue 41, will go on sale tomorrow. Within its glossy pages you can catch their full reviews on Heavy Rain, Final Fantasy XIII and Army of Two: 40th Day amongst others, as well as features on Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Final Fantasy XIII and the titles set to make 2010 a successful year for Playstation 3 owners.