Developer: Quantic Dream
Eat, sleep, remaster, repeat. Now it’s time for the second part of Quantic Dream’s remasters for the PS4: Heavy Rain. Originally released for the PS3 back in 2010, Heavy Rain really took the interactive drama adventure game genre to the next level. Six years later it’s making a 1080p debut on the PS4. This past November we saw the remastered release of Quantic Dream’s follow up to Heavy Rain; Beyond: Two Souls, which now after playing both, was a kinda weird release strategy. Beyond: Two Souls should have been the second remaster released in my opinion because it improved on many aspects of Heavy Rain. Playing them in reverse order makes me miss some of the improvements made to Beyond: Two Souls but that doesn’t diminish the great story of Heavy Rain.
Now in my review for Beyond: Two Souls (here) I went on a bit of a rant about the current state of video games and the publishers taking advantage of the consumer with constant rereleases of older gen titles. So I’m going to try and refrain from repeating myself here, check out that review if you want my opinion on the current gaming atmosphere. Heavy Rain was a favorite of mine when it was released for the PS3 and it's a title I was eagerly awaiting a potential remaster for. I have to say, Heavy Rain holds up to the test of time in almost every aspect, and in other aspects it’s even better than some of the newer releases.
Back in 2010, Heavy Rain was one of the most gorgeous games for the PS3 and I have to say with all of the improvements made with this remaster, it’s graphics hold up to many current PS4 titles. Quantic Dream upped the resolution from 720p to 1080p and improved other graphical touches here and there (shadowing, lighting, multi-thread rendering, etc). For those who haven’t ever played Heavy Rain, this is a must play experience. You play as multiple characters and control many of the choices and possible survival of these characters (think Until Dawn but not slasher horror). I don’t really want to go deep into the story because if you haven’t played Heavy Rain it’s an amazing experience to go in completely blind with. I would describe it as a suspense thriller told through multiple characters that intertwine at key points and revolves around a serial killer called; the Origami Killer, I’ll leave it at that.
A couple aspects of Heavy Rain don’t completely hold up for me: 1. Some of the control choices. I don’t care particularly for the holding of R2 to walk. That’s not a huge problem for me, but at certain points I did find myself forgetting to hold it down. My main issue with the controls is the areas of the game that involve physically moving the controller side to side or up and down using the gyroscope inside the DualShock 4. I would have preferred an option to turn these movements off, but unfortunately there is none. Any game that forces me to move the controller while I play brings back memories of the Wii and it gives me post-traumatic stress. 2. The voice over work. This is the main reason that I questioned the order of release for these Quantic Dream titles. Clearly Quantic Dream realized the voice cast and performance was lacking after Heavy Rain was released. When it was time to release another title, they made it a point to bring in some real hollywood actors (Juno and Klaus Daimler). Some of the dialogue can be laughably bad and while it does hurt the experience just a bit (JASON!?!?), Heavy Rain still effectively tells its story and is captivating from beginning to end.
The PS4 is now fully loaded for all the interactive drama adventure genre games you could want. I would probably put Until Dawn at the top of the list of games in the genre, but Heavy Rain still holds a red balloon in my heart. While the voice acting isn’t as good as Beyond: Two Souls, the story and chilling score soundtrack are top notch (and as I mentioned earlier the game is still visually stunning). If you haven’t played Heavy Rain before I would consider it a must buy if you like the interactive drama adventure genre in the least (plus, if you already purchased Beyond: Two Souls on the PS4 you can get a discount on the purchase of Heavy Rain).