“No cloud, nor squall shall hinder us!” ~ Zidane, FFIX

Perhaps its the array of dark clouds looming outside, the torrential downpours, or maybe its just a case of watching too much Dexter lately.  Whatever the reason, my dark and creative mood this week has led me straight back into the arms of the PS3 psychological thriller Heavy Rain.

It’s one of those games where every action has a definite and unique reaction.  This of course takes the replay value to the next level as (if you are anything like me) it will drive you nearly insane wondering the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could ofs’.  This will only be my second play through and I’m hoping that since I have a gist of what is going on this time that maybe, just maybe, all of my four characters won’t die, I’ll get to see more of the story, and perhaps I won’t get a repeat of one of the worst possible endings (there are about 22 endings, 6 main and 16 sub).

I promise I don’t suck at video games as much as this last paragraph alludes to, however, the atmosphere in this game is so dark and entrancing that it completely draws you in; it begins to almost blur the line that separates you from the character on the screen. The quick thinking and fast reflexes needed to escape sudden and difficult situations swiftly becomes flawed, rushed, and panicked; it is a feeling that many games attempt to achieve but fall short in doing so.  For those of you who haven’t heard of this game, here’s a glimpse into the intense, emotional, fear-gripped ride that is Heavy Rain:

The setting is an East Coast city where the term ‘rainy season’ barely begins to describe it.  The city is clouded with darkness and terror as a serial killer, known only as the Origami Killer, is kidnapping small boys; their bodies showing up drowned four days later with only a white orchid and a small origami figure left on their remains.  Shortly after the game begins the Origami Killer chooses a new victim; his name is Shaun Mars and you have four days to rescue this child and solve the intertwining mysteries surrounding this case.

The story progresses through four distinct points of view: Ethan Mars (Shaun’s father), Madison Paige (a journalist), Norman Jayden (FBI), and Scott Shelby (a retired detective).  The game cycles through the different characters automatically as you search for clues and follow leads as to anything that may give Shaun a chance to survive.  It is imperative you remember that time is a luxury you do not have as the rain continues to fall and the waters rise.

“How far are you prepared to go to save someone you love?”

Do you know the answer?

I do.