Heavy Rain Demo Impressions

It’s probably fair to say that no PlayStation 3 exclusive has had as much pressure piled onto its shoulders like Heavy Rain. With promises of groundbreaking, innovative and original game play and content, a lot is riding on the success of Quantic Dreams’ latest offering. As a result, a lot of eyes will be looking to the demo to offer a glimpse of just what makes Heavy Rain special.

I’m aware that there are a few among you who are trying to keep as much of Heavy Rain a secret as possible so you’ll be pleased to hear that I won’t be revealing anything in the way of story in this article.

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The first thing that I noticed about the game was the graphics. The surrounding world and character design is impressive and the atmosphere is perfectly dark, wet and miserable throughout (in a good way). Some of the objects appear to have had less attention given to them graphically but when you’re given a close up of the character’s faces it’s easy to understand why – they are so detailed and realistic that you actually wish they were on screen for a longer period of time.

The controls seemed daunting at first with all sorts of instructions being given to you within a short period of time and I actually thought to myself “this is going to take a while to learn”. Imagine my surprise when not two seconds after that thought I found myself moving and interacting without a single problem or worry. The walking is a little clunky and stiff and, when coupled with fixed-position cameras, you get the feeling that this will be one of the frustrations when playing the full game.

When it comes to interacting with objects the on-screen prompts are large enough to remain clear but small enough to compliment the action rather than dominate the scene. For the most part they are simple but there are occasions when you end up playing a game of Twister with your sixaxis controller. This may sound like a bad thing but I actually found it quite amusing and it certainly added tension to the more action-packed parts; whether it could sustain those feelings through an entire game has yet to be seen.

Part of the demo allowed you to enter a kind of detective mode thanks to some hi-tech equipment. Fans of Batman: Arkham Asylum will be familiar with this detective mode as it’s almost identical to that of the caped crusader’s. It’s not exactly detective work as it points out evidence and your role is just to walk around and collect it but it is offering a different game play style to other characters.

All-in-all the demo has whetted my appetite for this game even more. The story is intriguing and even in the brief demo you get the impression that becoming attached to people is going to happen quite quickly. The voice acting is good and the character’s emotions on screen come across brilliantly. Above all else it is offering something completely new for this generation. Fahrenheit, in my opinion, is probably one of the PlayStation’s most overlooked titles but judging by the demo, there is no way that Heavy Rain will suffer the same fate.

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