Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain  (PlayStation 3)  2010

 

Emulation: No

 

Next step in motion capture - body and facial motion capture, real-time tears and wrinkles on the face, advanced skin shaders,  first advanced rendering features - spherical harmonics, auto exposure - animations of pupil dilation, tongue, eyes, fingers, and dynamic hair with physics (Havok engine)

Heavy Rain
ORIGINAL COVER ART

Gameplay video

Original trailer

Playstation Move
Playstation Move
Heavy Rain
Earliest Magazine preview - PlayStation 2 Official (2006)

Magazine preview - Games tm (2008)

Earliest Magazine Review- PlayFrance (2010)
"Aprčs s’ętre distingué avec The Casting, une vidéo qui fait encore sensation quatre ans aprčs sa diffusion, le studio français Quantic Dream est sur le point de nous livrer Heavy Rain, une nouvelle expérience vidéoludique en exclusivité sur PlayStation 3. Plongez avec nous dans cet univers unique pour un test complet.Aprčs le beau temps ...Dans une ville de la côte Est des Etats-Unis, le tueur aux origamis vient de faire une septičme victime. Toute la population est terrifiée par cette menace et l'enquęte de police ne semble pas progresser.
C’est dans cette atmosphčre lourde et pesante que quatre personnages vont se retrouver dans une aventure incroyable tournant autour de la traque de ce tueur en série. Quatre vies, quatre destins croisés, un seul leitmotiv : jusqu’oů ętes-vous pręt ŕ aller par amour ?
Faisons maintenant la connaissance de ces quatre protagonistes :
Il y a deux ans de cela. Ethan Mars, marié, deux enfants, architecte, une vie paisible dans une maison ensoleillée oů l’amour des siens transparait ŕ chaque instant. Mais aprčs le soleil vient la pluie et suite ŕ une tragédie qui coűta la vie ŕ l’un de ses enfants, c’est un Ethan rongé par la culpabilité que l’on retrouve aujourd'hui. Dehors la pluie continue de tomber ... un drame approche.
Madison Paige est une jeune et jolie photographe. Insomniaque, ses nuits sont courtes et ses rares moments de repos sont agités par des cauchemars étranges et violents. Un phénomčne qui ne va pas s’arranger puisque le hasard la conduira sur l’enquęte du tueur ŕ l’origami.
Scott Shelby, un détective privé ŕ l’ancienne. Un brin bourru, aux méthodes brusques mais efficaces et doté d’un instinct sur lequel il peut compter. Il a été engagé par les familles des victimes du tueur ŕ l’origami pour enquęter sur cette atroce série de meurtres.
Norman Jayden, un agent du FBI plutôt tourné vers la psychologie, la logique et la recherche d’indices invisibles ŕ l’śil nu. Equipé des derničres technologies de pointe comme les lunettes de réalité augmentée A.R.I, il est capable d’analyser scrupuleusement chaque indice dans le but de retrouver la trace du fameux tueur en série.
Le scénario est assurément l’une des grandes forces d’Heavy Rain. Une histoire qu’on vous laissera le soin de découvrir, d’une part parce que les embranchements sont multiples et aussi et surtout parce que c’est une composante importante au plaisir que procure le jeu. On sent aisément l’énorme travail d’écriture derričre les dialogues, de męme que le background de chaque personnage est suffisamment bien développé pour assurer une plongée complčte dans leur univers.
Mais ce qui est le plus intéressant c’est que ces quatre personnages ont tous des secrets, des faiblesses qui sauront les rendre vulnérables ŕ vos yeux et donc plus humains. On est bien loin des super-héros armés jusqu’aux dents et qui encaissent des coups sans broncher. Ici pas de jauge de santé ou de points de compétence ŕ distribuer, juste vous et une histoire qui se vit.Assumez vos actesToute expérience interactive qu’il est, le jeu se doit de proposer un systčme de contrôle ŕ la hauteur de nos attentes. Pour un titre qui veut nous faire vivre moult émotions, comment retranscrire au mieux les actions du personnage au travers d’un pad ?
On commence par les déplacements de votre personnage qui, originalité oblige, se font avec la gâchette R2 et le stick analogique gauche. Le stick permet de diriger le regard de votre avatar dans tous les sens humainement possibles et un simple appui sur la gâchette le fait avancer dans la direction du regard. Un systčme qui pourra perturber le joueur au début du jeu mais on prend le coup aprčs quelques chapitres et les déplacements paraissent par la suite presque naturels.
L’autre particularité du gameplay c’est l'interaction avec certains éléments du décor : ici il ne faut pas appuyer bętement sur une simple touche pour activer un mouvement prédéfini. Non, tout ce fait avec le stick analogique droit : si vous voulez vous lever, poussez le stick analogique vers le haut tout simplement. D’autres mouvements plus «complexes» vous demanderont un mouvement du stick particulier (demi cercle, rotation, mouvement sensible ŕ la vitesse, etc ...). Quand ce n’est pas le stick qui est utilisé ce sont les fonctions gyroscopiques de la manette qui sont mises ŕ contribution : vous souhaitez secouer votre bouteille de jus d’orange ? Secouez votre manette de haut en bas, tout simplement.
Dans les moments plus rythmés, les scčnes de combat notamment, on passe ŕ un systčme proche du QTE oů il faut appuyer successivement sur différentes touches, ŕ une fréquence plus élevée. Une ou plusieurs touches en męme temps, une touche ŕ marteler, un timing ŕ respecter, il faut ętre vigilant ŕ chaque instant.
Afin de mieux matérialiser l’état émotionnel du personnage, de petites astuces de mise en scčne ont été imaginées par les développeurs. Par exemple quand votre personnage est en stress, les touches apparaissent tremblantes et instables. Quand il est troublé ou mal ŕ l’aise les différentes possibilités se mélangent et tournoient rapidement au dessus de vous. Enfin pour représenter un mouvement difficile ŕ réaliser ou inconfortable, vous devez maintenir différentes touches ŕ la suite : essayez de maintenir L1, R1, carré et croix pendant plusieurs instants tout en regardant votre personnage souffrir ŕ l’écran.
En résumé, vous aurez droit ŕ des Quick Time Events pour réaliser les actions les plus rythmées, et ŕ des actions dites contextuelles pour des mouvements plus communs.
Pour vous guider dans les actions ŕ effectuer mais aussi pour rentrer un peu plus dans l'intimité de la personne que vous dirigez, vous avez la possibilité de connaître ses pensées. En fonction de votre position dans l’environnement et de vos actions précédentes, vous verrez les différentes envies ou l’état émotionnel de votre avatar flotter au dessus de sa tęte, chaque possibilité étant associée ŕ l’une des touches de la manette. Il suffit d’en sélectionner une pour savoir ce que le personnage pense. Un outil trčs utile face ŕ la relative liberté que vous avez dans ce jeu.
La liberté parlons-en. Un chapitre se déroule généralement dans un environnement bien délimité : un peu frustrant mais ça n’empęche pas d’avoir une multitude de choses ŕ y faire. On peut y classer les actions en deux catégories a priori évidentes : les facultatives et les obligatoires. Consulter un bouquin sur une étagčre ou regarder par la fenętre ne va pas changer d’un iota le scénario du jeu alors qu’adopter un comportement plutôt qu’un autre au travers des réponses que vous sélectionnez dans une conversation, ou encore trouver et examiner un indice en détail, risquent fort de changer votre expérience de jeu. Attention ce n’est pas parce qu’une action est déterminante qu’elle doit absolument ętre faite et bien faite : l’ignorer volontairement ou rater une séquence de touches est tout ŕ fait possible. Le systčme s’adaptera ŕ vos choix en un instant et le scénario prendra alors une autre voie, votre voie.
Vous ne pourrez bien évidemment pas tout voir et tout tester dčs votre premičre partie, la replay value est donc proportionnelle ŕ votre envie de découvrir des pans de scénario que vos choix premiers vous auraient fait louper.
Une expérience inoubliableTechniquement le jeu de Quantic Dream fait honneur ŕ la PlayStation 3. Graphiquement d’abord avec une modélisation des personnages impressionnante et des environnements criants de réalisme. Le souci du détail est limite maladif et l’animation juste bluffante. Toutefois on ne peut s’empęcher de remarquer certaines inégalités entre les personnages principaux et la population d’arričre-plan : que se soit dans l’animation et la finition graphique, y a un léger décalage. Rien de bien dramatique toutefois.
Pour immerger complčtement le joueur dans l’univers du jeu, il est indispensable d’avoir un univers sonore en parfaite adéquation avec le thčme. Et lŕ, dčs l’écran titre d’Heavy Rain, on se sent tout de suite happé par l’intrigue : c’est puissamment mélancolique, triste et ŕ la fois envoutant et prenant. Rares sont les thčmes principaux qui provoquent de tels sentiments avant męme que le jeu ne commence. Et tout au long de l’aventure l’univers musical évolue au gré de vos actes, tantôt épique tantôt intimiste, mais toujours en adéquation avec le moment.
Et pour ne rien gâcher, le travail sur le doublage des voix est aussi ŕ souligner. Le titre est intégralement en français (voix et textes) et le jeu des acteurs est vraiment époustouflant, męme si les puristes seront tentés de mettre les voix anglaises qui, il est vrai, donnent plus de profondeur ŕ certaines scčnes. Mentionnons enfin les effets sonores qui brillent par leur réalisme et qui enfoncent le clou de l’immersion.
Un mot sur le systčme de caméra qui s'adapte automatiquement ŕ votre position dans l’environnement : elle est généralement plutôt bien positionnée pour ne rater aucun élément. Il existe tout de męme une touche qui permet de choisir un autre angle de vue si celui par défaut ne vous convient pas. A noter le retour du multi-screen, une technique déjŕ employée dans le précédent titre de Quantic Dream et qui fait toujours son petit effet dans la mise en scčne, en plus d’ętre pratique pour observer tout ce qui se passe.
Passons maintenant aux points noirs parce que, oui, il y en a : la vitesse de déplacement des personnages, par exemple, pourra agacer. En fait on a tellement envie de courir dans tous les sens pour explorer l’environnement avant qu’un évčnement ne s’enclenche qu’on peste contre l’absence d’une touche pour courir ou au moins marcher ŕ une vitesse soutenue. Ce n’est pas ce que l’on peut appeler un défaut majeur, mais il reste tout de męme frustrant.
Pour rester dans les mouvements des personnages, on notera une certaine rigidité dans l’animation de quelques séquences : ça manque parfois de fluidité, et on a alors l’impression que l’animation est mal décomposée, qu’elle manque de naturel. Heureusement la motion capture propose un rendu incroyable dans de nombreuses autres scčnes.
D’une maničre générale, le titre de Quantic Dream est une réussite ŕ bien des niveaux. Il n’y a que quelques imperfections techniques qui seront perçues différemment d’un joueur ŕ un autre. Mais lŕ oů le jeu risque de faire parler de lui, c’est surtout dans les thčmes abordés et les émotions qu’il procure : il y a lŕ matičre ŕ discussion, d’autant plus que chaque joueur aura, par son vécu et sa sensibilité, une vision unique de cette expérience vidéoludique."

 

 

Earliest english Review-IGN (2010)
"Quantic Dream's risky storytelling pays off with an experience that'll leave you begging for more.
If you're planning on skipping the bulk of this text and heading straight to the review score to decide whether or not you should play through Heavy Rain, just know this: the game starts slow. It'll take you a couple hours to get into the meat of the experience and for things to really pick up, but once it does, you'll be on the edge of your seat until the end and you won't want to put the controller down. In other words, if you stick with it, Heavy Rain will give you a ride like you rarely see in games.
Having said that, it's also worth quickly pointing out that I'm going to keep this review completely spoiler-free, so feel free to read it without fear of anything being ruined for you (and trust me, you don't want anything ruined).
Quantic Dream's last title, dubbed Indigo Prophecy in North America and Fahrenheit pretty much everywhere else, tried to bridge together intricate storytelling with gameplay by using what were essentially quick-time events (think Dragon's Lair). A button prompt appears on the screen, and if you press it in time, the game continues and you get another one. If you don't, you fail and usually wind up staring at the words "Game Over".
With Heavy Rain, the studio took this control mechanic to a completely different level by removing the win/fail result and instead turned it into what can best be described as a branching narrative. You can't ever actually fail in Heavy Rain. There is no Game Over screen, and nothing will force you to have to replay anything. No matter what you do, the game, its characters and the story move on.
This has multiple effects. If you're in an action sequence, missing one prompt might not mean much other than that the fight or chase would play out a little differently. Rather than taking out the bad guy right then, you might get knocked down but get another chance right after that. Miss too many and the bad guy might get away, but like I said, the story will continue on, no matter the result. In other instances, these options (as there is often more than one button available to you at any one time) will decide what a character says, how they react to something, what you interact with or so on and so forth.
The result is that although you're still matching button prompts, Heavy Rain feels much more like you're choosing and influencing what happens in the game, rather than simply reacting to it. This is a major and key element of the control mechanics that separates Heavy Rain from the likes of Indigo Prophecy, Dragon's Lair or even God of War's boss takedown sequences, and it's really what makes the actual gameplay work quite well.
What's really interesting is that Heavy Rain manages to always keep you on your toes, and if you don't pay attention and keep your cool, you'll pay for it. There are action sequences that happen when you least expect them, and if you're not ready, you may "fail" them. In other cases, the opposite is true: events can happen very quickly and your gut instinct may be to react to them, when the best option may have been to wait for a better opportunity (or not react at all). The first time this last bit happened to me, I had to stop playing for a minute and think about what I'd done and what the consequences would wind up being. Things can get pretty intense, to say the least.
The great thing about all of this, and the reason that Heavy Rain may not have worked with any other control scheme, is that everything in the game revolves around the story. This isn't something where Quantic Dream came up with some cool scenes and then wrapped a story around everything to tie it together; the story is the utmost focus, and everything that you do and everything that happens directly feeds into it, without exception. Without having a "defined" control scheme that only allows you to perform a set number of actions, the changing control options allow the mechanics to adapt to what makes sense for your character to do at any point to keep the storytelling as unopposed as possible.
My one complaint about the control scheme is that it's sometimes hard to tell what you're supposed to do. When your character is frazzled, the button or text options that pop up can be blurred and jittery to show that the person is tense as well as make it a little trickier to choose the right thing (you might say something wrong if you're not careful, like in real life). The problem is that button prompts will also pulse if you're supposed to tap them quickly rather than hold them down or do a single, quick tap, and distinguishing between these variants can be tricky. It's not a game-breaking problem, but I messed up in a few places where I wouldn't have had the prompts been clearer. Continues
Now, as I mentioned, the controls do a great job of allowing the story to shine through, and what a story it is. Each of the four, main playable characters is interesting, developed well and important to the story. The way that everything comes together and winds up feeding into the story progression is nothing short of fantastic. Games have come pretty far in terms of how well stories are told and the level of writing quality that some of them are able to achieve, but Heavy Rain is easily amongst the best that's ever been put onto a disc. Were this filmed as a Hollywood picture, it would perfectly fit the body of work of someone like Martin Scorsese or David Fincher.
Now, that doesn't mean that the story is told flawlessly. Like I said at the start of this review, the first couple hours are a little slow. As I've mentioned in previous coverage for Heavy Rain, this is largely due to the fact that, with a film, you're able to edit out dull bits like walking down stairs or going from the kitchen to the living room. The exposition and character development that happens in these opening chapters wind up being very important to what happens later, but the pacing is a little on the sluggish side. And, when some of the first things that you're able to do include drinking orange juice and taking a shower, it may seem like things will get lost in unimportant actions and details of everyday life. But, like I've said, after you get into the meat of the game, it picks up quickly and pulls you in.
An important element of Heavy Rain's design is that it isn't an entirely linear story (and therefore game). Depending upon how you handle situations, you can start steering the story that you experience in a different direction than others. If a main character dies, the game will continue on anyway, but you'll miss story clues and scenes that the now-dead character would have come across.
From my experience, your choices don't result in major changes throughout the game, instead sending slight ripples through the dialog and character interactions for the bulk of it but resulting in vastly different endings. After finishing the story with one of the best possible endings, I went back and played it a second time as poorly as I could; that is, killing off characters, intentionally skipping over clues and that sort of thing. I wasn't able to kill off (or generally lose) any of the main characters until about three-fourths of the way through, and up until that point, the only differences that I noticed were largely related to dialog changes. There's a lot of subtlety there, where people will talk to each other differently or reference earlier actions (quite well, I might add), but you'll still play the same sequences.
However, as I mentioned, the ending can change extensively depending upon what you've learned, who's still around, things you've done earlier and so forth. Obviously I'm not going to spoil anything here, but just know that if you're going through a second, different playthrough, you won't see a ton of changes until the conclusion, but it'll be worth it. And, fortunately, all of the endings that I either saw myself or heard about from others (it would take you forever to earn them all yourself) are great.
Given the weight of the story and the fact that it's the absolute crux of Heavy Rain, the game's various presentation aspects weigh in just as heavily on the experience as its controls do. Generally speaking, the presentation is handled quite well, but none of it is perfect.
The graphics, for instance, are great with regards to characters' faces, but clothes, hands and especially some objects in the environment aren't as detailed as you would hope. Lip syncing is actually not bad, but the mouths on some characters (not all) don't have a ton of detail so the speech animation winds up looking off at times. And, while the character animation is top-notch in terms of the little details that Quantic Dream has tossed in (feet taps from a bored character, jaw movements while someone thinks, etc.), you can tell that the motion capture data isn't as detailed as what you'll see in, say, Uncharted 2. Hands will sometimes twitch a tiny bit, or fingers won't quite bend right on occasion.
The voice work is similar. Some characters are great, while others are only so-so. One standout flaw is that while most characters are supposed to be American, some of the actors clearly aren't and their accents tend to slip through, making their line deliveries sound weird at times.
On the flip side, however, is the fact that the dialog is generally spectacular. Most every line is natural and written in an unforced manner, lending a great deal more realism to the characters. While I'm not talking about elongated monologues that would give Shakespeare a run for his money, the little things that people say are damn near perfect. Again, the delivery isn't always spot-on, but the content certainly is.
Really, when compared to most games, Heavy Rain has what would be considered very good voice acting. It's just that when so much of the experience is focused on it, you tend to notice the flaws a good deal more.
One last nice bit to the presentation that I want to point out (because people will certainly ask) is that you can indeed skip back to already-played chapters. You'll be asked whether you wish to save or not, which means you can try out individual scenes without impacting your "main" save, which is nice.
The Verdict
Heavy Rain is a hell of an experience. Its controversial control scheme actually works really well in allowing the fantastic story to dictate how events play out, and many of the game's scenes will keep you on the edge of your seat. It starts slow and the presentation isn't perfect, but the character development, dialog and story twists will hook you like few games can. Heavy Rain is not to be missed.
9.0
9 Presentation Fantastic story that's one of the best in gaming. Stellar dialog as well. Some of the line delivery sounds a little odd, however.
8.5 Graphics The characters look great, but some low-res items in the environment make some scenes look a little disjointed. Animation is good overall, but a little spotty at times.
8.5 Sound Some voice actors let their native tongue slip through so line delivery isn't perfect, but it's quite good overall. The soundtrack is great.
9 Gameplay For a game that's so heavily focused on presentation, the gameplay does a great job of giving you control while not getting in the way. Some great action scenes and intense moments top it off.
8 Lasting Appeal One playthrough won't take you all that long (eight hours maybe), but you have lots of reasons to go back and try new stuff. Experimentation is rewarded well."

Trivia:
1) Demo version has different beginning from original game.

2) Game developed by developers of Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy).

3) A film adaptation of the game is currently in development.

3) Japanese version is censored.
5) The characters were voiced, motion captured and modeled after several actors; the three males are modeled after their voice actors, while the female is modeled after a professional model.
5) Heavy Rain was announced at E3 2006, where a tech demo entitled The Casting was presented to the media and general public.

6) During the BAFTA Annual Games Lecture 2013, Cage revealed that game could have been released as Xbox 360 exclusive by Microsoft, but Microsoft turned it down due to its child kidnapping theme, fearing that it may lead to a scandal.
7) Facial motion capture was recorded using Vicon MX40 cameras and system, and was enhanced with a muscle system.
8) Winda Benedetti wrote about the maturity of Heavy Rain , praising game for being "emotionally powerful" as well as having "said goodbye to the tired alien invasions and over-the-top fantasy stories so often found in video games. Instead, they peer into the dark reaches of the very real human heart to deliver stories that are thrilling, chilling and utterly absorbing".
9) Blackouts - Ever wondered what the source of Ethan's blackouts was? In the original script for the game these blackouts were a result of the trauma Ethan sustained from his first son's death in the game's intro. Instead of just blacking out Ethan would find himself hallucinating a submerged house which he would explore until finding the drowned body of one of the Origami Killer's victims. In these hallucinations Ethan would actually have unknowingly been psychically connected to the mind of the killer- Due to the backlash against the strong paranormal elements of the team's previous game, IndigoProphecy, they decided to axe these segments only months before the game's release, leaving them as just unexplained blackouts. There is still a reference in the final version of the game by Ethan's psychologist that he was suffering from nightmares of drowning.
10) When first announced at E3 2006 the game was intended to be multi-platform (PC, PS3 and Xbox 360). However the initial tech demo at E3 was done on Sony's PS3 development kits. The E3 crowd was so impressed by the real-time cinematic on Sony's hardware, it won best of show by some critics and generated a lot of buzz for the PS3. Sony eventually got exclusive rights to publishing the game.
11) Launch title for the Playstation Move = Although it was released months before the Move's release, the game was freely patched with native Move support before the launch of the Move, and all re-releases of the game since the Move's release have Playstation Move Support proudly displayed on the box.
12) The apartment that Ethan is moving into at the end of the game is the same apartment that was lived in by the hero of David Cage's last "interactive drama" game Indigo Prophecy (2005). Ethan even makes a funny comment about "a friend" helping him get it. That friend is Lucas Kane from the other game.

13)  In 3D computer graphics, spherical harmonics play a role in a wide variety of topics including indirect lighting (ambient occlusion, global illumination, precomputed radiance transfer, etc.) and modelling of 3D shapes.

14) Madison Paige She was modeled after Jacqui Ainsley, who provided her body motion capture, and facial
motion capture (picture below).

 Actors    -    Jacqui Ainsley                                  Jacqui Ainsley                                      Sam Douglas      

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