“Silly Jett. Games are for kids!”
Though not expressed in those exact words, this is the stance my dad has taken on video games for many years. Though he spent much of his teenage years playing arcade games, and watched me grow up with the medium, he never understood why I’ve held on for as long as I have. The reality now, is that people don’t grow out of games, and games have started to grow up with us. Heavy Rain is a great example of the latter.
Heavy Rain tells a very mature and grown-up tale about a father whose son has been abducted. Based on premise alone, it’s already a dramatic departure from most video games. Everything about it feels a lot more fitting for a TV drama or movie, which is refreshing for a medium that spends most of its time traversing childish or adolescent themes. I also love how the branching story paths felt fluid and natural. Some may criticize a few of its plot holes, but I found it gripping from beginning to end.
I generally hate Quick Time Events, but Heavy Rain is clearly an evolution on that mechanic. They’re intelligently used to give players way more control over their characters than most games allow for. Having control over such minute actions, such as brushing your teeth, brought forth a level of immersion that other games still haven’t really achieved.
This is not a game for everyone, but I strongly feel that this is a game that everyone should experience for the direction it takes the medium. Even my ‘games are for kids’ dad couldn’t help but watch me play this from beginning to end, as he was as riveted by the whole thing as I was. While it may not be a game that cracks my top 10, it’s near the top of my list of games that ever made me feel something.