How Far? Heavy Rain

Last night I was watching TV when an ad for a Sony Entertainment game started running (I also saw it again tonight as part of the pre-show program for Shutter Island. Just a few moments into the trailer, I was already telling myself that I wanted to play this game.

As the trailer continued, the narrative depth of this game began to reveal itself. One of the most difficult aspects of creating good games is writing engaging narratives, there are so many elements that are handwaved away in order to accommodate the actual playing of the game. Like respawns in an RPG. Just how exactly are you expected to explain that you and your mates group up every Saturday and kill the same boss of the same temple? Even resurrection being what it is, surely at some point the bastard would just stay dead, right?

Heavy Rain has taken the narrative/gameplay balance and turned it over completely. Gameplay appears to take a back seat to what essentially becomes a cross between an immersive movie, and a choose your own adventure.

Reviews of the game indicate that you have fairly little control over the storyline – though the choose-your-own-adventure books I remember from my youth kept you bound to a fairly fixed plot line: there were only so many places you could end up. Though, this game has one major advantage over those books: I can’t stick bookmarks in the pages where there wasn’t an obvious choice, frequently backtracking to see where my other options would have led. Instead, this game rolls on with or without you, no time for second chances.

I understand that the game takes about 8 hours to play from beginning to end. While I miss games that take days and days of sessions played in the evenings after school, and all weekend, an 8-hour movie sounds like a pretty solid and rewarding time investment, and it sure looks like the plot has the chops to be worth it.

I haven’t even played this game, and I want to recommend it!

Now… what can I pawn so I can buy a PS3..?

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~ by ghostwolfe on February 26, 2010.

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