Going back to your backlog, IS NOT EASY. But if there is arguably any time to delve into your backlog, then its this time after E3 and before October. You have this lull, where the games which are coming out are not as hyped, and you wonder if you are better off saving the money for the year end, and whether you can pass a couple of months playing something untouched from your library.
Well, this time I decided to finally try out David Cage, mostly because Detroit: Become Human had recently come out, he was in the news, and I had never played a David Cage game before, I also secretly thought that it might be easier to platinum this game, since you know **cough cough**Walking Simulator**cough cough**. So I religiously downloaded the 3 David Cage games that I own (Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human) and decided to try them out in the order of their release. Which of course meant, that the first case on hand, was that of the Origami Killer.
Folding Movie Into A Game
I can honestly say, that Heavy Rain is a movie first, game second. Something which is very clear from the title sequence. I am semi-surprised no one has remade that title sequence using live actors, which would have accentuated the similarities even more. Not to say the team at Quantic Dream walks away from it, they call their game an ‘interactive drama’. In fact, there is even a trophy in there using the term ‘interactive drama’. The team takes every care to handcraft every cutscene, every dialogue and every panel to make it feel as real or as close to real life, and by the time the title sequence is over, you are semi-impressed and curious.
But then the game begins. See the thing is, most of the game in Heavy Rain is you doing normal household chores. You wake up, take a shower, change clothes, make breakfast, eat said breakfast, get into a car, start a car, stop a car, get out of the car, boil milk, find nappies. I could go on here but in the game, I just couldn’t.
The next time someone calls Last Of Us a walking simulator, I am gonna gift him Heavy Rain.
Of course, during those activities, there is an important dialogue happening (mostly). But it’s insane that choosing whether you sit down or lean against a wall as you listen to an NPC, is what passes for gameplay. In a movie, all those scenes would make sense, in fact in a movie, all those parts where I make breakfast, roam around the house looking for diapers or for a teddy would be edited unless they made an important part of the narrative. Here I was doing stuff which I sat down to take a break from anyways, and it annoyed the hell out of me. Plus I know its way more difficult to calm a baby down than pressing X followed by O, and that makes me feel angry somewhere inside.
Then there are the QTE. Oh god, the QTE. I have no idea why the motion control is a part of the game. There are 12 pressable buttons on the PS4 controllers, why the hell do I have to move out of my horizontal position and swish my controller left, right, up and down is beyond me, when I have just spent the past 20 minutes of the game pushing my son down a slide, using 1 yes 1 button.
Honestly, I know I have said it before, but I have never meant it more than right now. The only reason I stayed was that of the story. And because I wanted to maintain the integrity of the piece. But about halfway through the game, I just opened a walkthrough (spoiler free of course) and started following that chapter to chapter. This had the added benefit of me knowing where I needed to get off my sofa and be ready for the next QTE.
Playing Heavy Rain makes you realize why its so unfair to compare games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider and even Walking Dead and Fable (I meant Wolf Among Us) with such ‘interactive dramas’. The only similarity between them is that both of them are narrative and/or production value heavy. The next time someone calls Last Of Us a walking simulator, I am gonna gift him Heavy Rain.
The only reason I would recommend picking Heavy Rain from your backlog is if it’s already installed, while all the other games have been mysteriously deleted. The internet is down for 2 days, and there is a blizzard outside, so you can’t run out and buy something else to play, or go outside and play and have no one else to talk to either.
For academic purpose though, if you want to know what a real, ‘Walking Simulator’ feels like. This is your jam.