The Lawn-Gazing Simulator
This review contains significant spoilers (marked and whited out properly), so read forth with caution.
+ The story is really interesting. In this game's case, that's perhaps the most important thing to get right.
+ The graphics are absolutely gorgeous. Granted, there really isn't too much stuff going on at a time too often.
+ The atmosphere totally works for me. Calling this game an interactive film really is quite an accurate depiction. I mean, it really felt like I was controlling a character in a mystery film.
+ The quick-time event are better than most. Better than most means that are quite tolerable. This is a pretty important point too since the game is one long QTE.
And now the negatives, don't let the long paragraphs fool you, these are really only minor details.
- The story clearly cheated in one time: !SPOILER WARNING! It's about the death of the typewriter guy. First, you visit the guy as the detective, chit-chat with him and then he is killed off-camera by the killer, while I'm walking around the store. Then, near the ending when the detective is revealed to be the killer and he is burning all the evidence and he is counting all his actions it is revealed that he himself killed the typewriter guy. Now, this can only mean that the entire scene on the typewriter shop was nothing more than a lie. And this wasn't even a red herring either, it was just a scene that didn't actually happen in the story at all, even though I WITNESSED IT MYSELF.
- The commands/characters don't always do what I expect them to do: !SPOILER WARNING! For instance, the task where Jason has to cut one of his fingers. With my limited knowledge of pre-modern medicine amputations, I thought that I'd: 1. Sedate Ethan with some booze. 2. Cut of the finger swiftly with the knife. 3. Seal the wound with the hot iron rod (that's how it's done, right?). The two first steps go as planned, but then Ethan just decides to leave without giving me chance to treat the wound. The guy just leaves with an open wound like a chump. At this time I really thought he'd die on blood loss, infection or something (for the record, he didn't).
- The FBI agent's equipment is completely out of place. I mean, this is not a sci-fi story, it takes place in modern day, but this guy has some serious Minority Report stuff. They really should given him something more credible.
- I doubt that this game has a lot of replayability. I mean, I now know who the killer is, and the whole point of the game was for the player to try and figure out the identity of the killer.
I'll give this 9/10. This game is a one-time experience, and not really something one can dedicate hundreds of hours to. It really is more comparable to films than it is to video games. So your experience probably isn't going to change much from one playthrough to the next. Then again, no matter how many times you watch your favourite films, they never get boring, so maybe that can apply to Heavy Rain as well. One way or the other, at least the first playthrough is a great ride and that's most important.