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Heavy maaaan

Heavy Rain: In Progress

Heavy Rain has a lot about it. More than likely enough to spark yet another trite ‘Games as art’ debate, at least. For anyone who’s looked into it, and played Quantic Dream’s previous titles, you can’t help but be swayed, not only by David Cage’s enthusiasm, but by the undeniable quality of the piece. The two demos that Quantic has put out won’t be in the finished game, but display the genius and determination of a man who has spent several nights sleeping at his desk and countless hours writing and rewriting mammoth scripts, not just for this game.

It’s this excitement that led me to get back into Fahrenheit, and I can heartily recommend it as an antidote to the kind of noisy brain farts that populate the shelves of your local game vendor. If the term ‘unique’ can be applied to any contemporary game, it’s this. Sure, the last half goes a little bizarre, and it’s easy to see the game as a string of arbitrary QTEs, but it’s significantly more than the sum of its parts. It has more than a few of my favourite moments in gaming, some of which I’d completely forgotten about. What makes Fahrenheit exciting, from my current point of view, is that everything Cage is talking about at the moment has some kind of presence in Quantic’s previous game. Decisions having a real effect on gameplay, acting creating an emotional attachment and narrative being genuinely developed. These are all things that Cage tried with Fahrenheit; he a had a good deal of success with it, though. and with the upcoming Heavy Rain, we should see some of these concepts better realised. Or at least you have to hope so.

It does make you think, though. While Fahrenheit wasn’t a massive commercial success, selling a mere 700,000 worldwide, it received huge critical acclaim and wasn’t a complete flop. There hasn’t been anything since that comes anywhere close to it. I did hope, for a time, that a slew of copycat titles would flood the shelves. The ambiguity of the genre if nothing else probably initiated a few boardroom suggestions. Why has nobody tried taking Cage’s tack with games? Probably because it simply requires too much work for too little monetary reward. That’s a tragic thought. With Sony exclusivity backing this effort though, if we see decent sales of Heavy Rain, surely the copycats can’t be that far off. Meow.

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