GAME PREVIEW – Heavy Rain Demo Impressions (PlayStation 3)

By Marty Mulrooney


With the Heavy Rain demo arriving on the PSN network this Thursday (in the UK at least) I thought it would be a good idea to give AMO’s readers some brief thoughts on what it offers players and how well it bodes for the full release of the game which is due out at the end of the month.

  • The demo is split into three parts. The first part is a tutorial with the private detective Scott Shelby: it basically teaches the player the controls as they walk through an alleyway in the pouring rain. The second part is where the demo begins proper: Shelby is investigating the Origami Killer and has traced one of the victim’s mothers to a sleazy hotel. The third and final part involves FBI profiler Norman Jayden, who has just arrived at the crime scene of the killer’s latest victim.
  • The controls take some time to get used to, not only because they heavily involve QTEs. The characters are controlled almost like cars in a racing gaming: R2 determines the speed, with the left analogue stick dictating direction (you can actually see the character’s head move). This makes sense: the right stick, usually reserved for camera controls in third-person games, is instead the main method of interaction here. Luckily, the camera does a fine job of giving you the best view possible 99% of the time and you can even tap L2 to change to a wider camera angle if you need to.
  • The only downside to the two scenes offered in the demo is that they are very self contained. Then again, perhaps that is why they were chosen for the demo in the first place. For example, Shelby gets into a fight in the hotel, but it doesn’t seem to matter whether he wins of loses. Of course, the repercussions of this outcome may not come into effect in the full game until later on. The same thing happens with FBI agent Jayden: he can investigate as little or as much of the crime scene as he wants before leaving, although one can only assume that in the full game less investigating means a lesser chance later on at piecing the puzzle together and catching the killer. (We must remember as well that there are going to be two other characters in the full game and that all of their stories will interlink, which could lead to some interesting possibilities!)
  • On the other hand, I replayed the demo and was delighted at the small differences I came across. I realise that Shelby, whilst talking to the woman in the hotel room (who looks a lot like the actress from the Quantic Dream ‘audition’ video) could look out the window suspiciously and even lean back on the dresser whilst listening. Small details, but impressive. Likewise, the conversation topics that floated around his head could completely change the flow of the discussion based on the player input.
  • The same thing happened in the final part of the demo at the crime scene: the first time I didn’t investigate thoroughly enough. The second time, I was much more thorough and managed to find a muddy path that lead up to the side of a busy motorway. It was there that I found tire tracks that could be linked to the killer: result! Also, the cars going past in the pouring rain looked incredible.
  • FBI profiler Jayden’s ARI (Added Reality Interface) glasses and glove are very cool. Once you are wearing them, a quick tap of R1 finds any clues within a small radius. Whether this is just a pretty gimmick or an actual crime solving device remains to be seen: however, recent footage suggests this tool will be put to greater use, which has me pretty excited.
  • The QTEs are both fun and exciting. They also feel well placed and make sense: the button press notifications dynamically appear during action scenes. Of course this reduces the actual traditional gameplay content for hardcore gamers, but then again how else could you show such impressive scenes without them? I liked the trade off and felt that it worked really well, without feeling too easy and non-interactive. This is a game, no doubt.
  • The demo concludes with one of the best trailers for the game I have seen yet, in glorious HD. Sadly, I felt that perhaps the sound was not up to scratch, but they may have just downgraded it for the trailer to save space on the demo download (which is already around 1.7GB) and the actual real-time demo sounded fine which is encouraging.
  • To conclude, the demo seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. If the full game can keep up this level of polish, quality and excitement throughout, we may just have a classic on our hands people. The PlayStation 3 is finally coming into its own graphically as well: these are some of the best graphics I have ever seen, on any console. The rain only adds more to the atmosphere. Bring on 24th February 2010!

Related Article: Is Heavy Rain Doing Video Games Proud?


Filed under Alternative Musings, Games

9 responses to “GAME PREVIEW – Heavy Rain Demo Impressions (PlayStation 3)

  1. JeffH

    Oh I’ll have to try it again. I missed the path.

    For a QTE fight, that was intense. It got the heart pumping.

  2. Heavy Glitches , this is a failure attempt of a lame movie made by japaneses. Try and play real games on a real machine like the Xbox360 made by real techs from America.

    Is sad to see people even thinking on this bad texture and glitches fest as a game, god even low poly models. Sony fails again.

    • Marty Mulrooney

      The game is made by a French team, not ‘japaneses’. Also, I do play real games on real machines, as do the rest of AMO’s writers (this includes PS3 and Xbox360). Luckily, none of us are rabid fanboys.

      How you can comment when you obviously don’t even own a PS3 baffles me! As for the accusation of ‘low poly models’ I think the various images, videos and the demo speak for themselves.

    • Bugel

      God, what an idiot you are Bungie.

  3. mario

    As we speak im downloading the demo. At first I didnt want to play it to spoil the game but after I read a few reviews about the demo makes me want to play it more. This is a game I’ve been waiting for since I heard of it a year ago thanks for your review!

  4. neododge

    i really enjoyed demo and played it twice with different actions each time, not enough interaction with the environment but great animation and a must buy for all 9/10 great review

  5. Daithi.G

    Hi Marty,

    I agree with all of your comments and views.

    I found the demo to be just what a demo should be. A taster of what’s to come.
    Some demos can almost give you too much and this can spoil or disrupt the game, as you have to play through a level that you’ve already beaten in the demo.

    I discovered the same path to the motorway. Amazing graphics on the traffic. And the controls to get up and down the mound were very clever.

    Overall though, the controls are going to take some getting used to. And normally I despise QTE’s, but I’ll make an exception this time as I’ve seen them in action in this demo and they are justifiable if not a necessity.

  6. Mike

    I was amazed at the demo for this game, the graphics were dazzling and the controls were a little odd but i think that they tied in perfectly to this game. They really nailed it on this one this is probably the best game ive seen in a while. Then again i love games with story aspecs so some gamers might be turned away at that; however, I think this is going to be a fantastic game.

  7. I’m downloading… and I can’t wait!

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