Heavy Rain PC Review
Does Quantic Dream's mystery hold up on PC?
Developer Quantic Fream has always had a unique vision when it comes to game design. Taking much more inspiration from film than almost any other studio, their games often feel like interactive movies more than they do a traditional video game. This might turn some players off, but for those who enjoy this type of experience it can mean a richer story with more interactivity than other mediums. And among their entire catalog no other game has worked to fit this unique niche better than 2010’s Heavy Rain. Originally launched exclusively for PS3 it has since arrived on PS4 and now hits PC. There’s a few changes under the hood but all-in-all players are in for another gripping adventure as they try to find the Origami Killer.
In Heavy Rain players take on the role of Ethan, a successful family man with a wife and two children. However, after a horrific accident while visiting the mall, Ethan’s son Jason dies and his whole life is turned upside-down. Some months later tragedy strikes again as Ethan’s other son Shaun disappears. Police inform him that Shaun might have been taken by a serial killer who drowns his victims after rainstorms. This gives Ethan and the other playable characters just three days to track down the killer and save his son.
The story takes center stage throughout your time with Heavy Rain. Quantic Dream has always focused heavily on long, elaborate plots with plenty of twists and turns, and Heavy Rain hits this almost perfectly. Few scenes take place that aren’t directly tied to the central mystery and conflict, keeping the game moving at a steady pace and offering a tight experience from beginning to end. Players will mostly interact with the game via quick-time events (QTE’s) that involve fast, precise button presses, or more slow-paced and elaborate motions.
Heavy Rain was quite the unique release in 2010 and is still worth a look for genre fans.
The gameplay of Heavy Rain is not intense or complicated, eschewing more action-focused mechanics in favor or a more cinematic approach. In may ways the game almost plays itself, but those small inputs make the player feel more connected to the action on screen. When Ethan trips and falls on his face, it’s because you didn’t hit the right button in time. This is gameplay that has become more common over the years since Heavy Rain’s release, especially from the now defunct Telltale, so by now you likely know whether it works for you or not. If you’re a fan of this style of game, Heavy Rain is once again one of the genre’s best.
However, it is still mostly QTE’s and other smaller inputs that you’ll be dealing with throughout the game. This can get repetitive and annoying at times, especially if you have had your fill of the mechanic by now. But Heavy Rain expands on it enough to still feel engaging throughout most of its runtime. If you’ve tired of this sort of gameplay before though, caution would be advised.
Another point of caution surrounds the game’s voice acting and overall feel. Heavy Rain has not aged perfectly. The release was quite unique in 2010 and that allowed for some leeway in other respects. Voice acting for example can be quite wooden and stilted. There’s also some very odd phrasing here and there, leading to an overall feel of strangeness that permeates many scenes. Even upon first release some scenes felt quite jarring, such as Ethan’s odd screaming of names, but in 2019 they are even more so.
Along with this come some improvements though, with many of the usual suspects for a PC re-release. You can enhance the graphics quite a bit over the PS3 version, though not much more than PS4. There’s still limitations here, such as a cap on FPS, but it goes up to 60 making for a smooth and pleasant visual experience. What isn’t as pleasant are the PC-specific controls. Mouse and keyboard work decently enough, so you won’t miss out if you don’t have a controller on-hand. But they aren’t quite as natural and have some odd quirks here and there that make them less than ideal. Combine this with the lack of Heavy Rain’s original DLC release The Taxidermist and you have a solid, but not quite definitive release of a classic adventure.
Heavy Rain was quite the unique release in 2010 and is still worth a look for genre fans. This PC re-release improves a lot of things about that original experience, but doesn’t go as far as it could in some respects. What damages things the most though is the fact that the game isn’t quite as original anymore, making its previous flaws all the more glaring. This release doesn’t do much to gloss over them either. And with the omission of some DLC it makes for the feeling that this is a solid way to play, but not a must for those who’ve experienced it all before.
- Available On: PS3, PS4, PC
- Published By: Quantic Dream
- Developed By: Quantic Dream
- Genre: Graphic Adventure
- US Release Date: June 24th, 2019
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Heavy Rain was quite the unique release in 2010 and is still worth a look for genre fans. This PC re-release improves a lot of things about that original experience, but doesn't go as far as it could in some respects."