What Are You Playing This Weekend?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I’ve now played twice through the opening scenes of Heavy Rain. My response the second time couldn’t have been different to the first. The first time I found myself captivated; the second I was cringing throughout.

When I played the first hour of Heavy Rain in December I quickly grew attached to Ethan, the first playable character. I appreciated the quiet moments as he and I worked on his architectural designs and I felt his distress and anxiety as we lost one of his sons in a shopping mall.

Yet on my return to these scenes, thanks to the review copy, none of what happened affected me. I played it quickly, rushing to get to new territory. Doing so, I found myself less interested in the events of Ethan’s life and more aware of the awkwardness of much of the character interaction. Unnatural dialogue abounds, accompanied by unconvincing animation and that grotesque thousand yard stare when gazing across the uncanny valley.

Moving into a new scene, my scepticism extended to the character study that had at first attracted me. Ethan receives an anonymous threat in the mail, but has nothing to say about it. When you hold L2 you are often presented with a “thought cloud” allowing you to hear what’s going through the protagonist’s mind. Upon reading this letter, Ethan’s thought cloud was empty. It was as if he’d just opened the gas bill.

In the same scene he picks up the newspaper and appears shocked at the front page story about the “origami killer” seemingly striking again. But once more Ethan is mute and his thought cloud bereft of any insight into his state of mind. His character, like his vacant stare, is utterly blank.

I’m curious to play further though. I want to understand what drew me in that first time and what’s changed since to push me away. Is it me? Or is it Heavy Rain? I plan on finding out this weekend.

What’s going to draw you in this weekend?


  • Heya David, I think the uncanny valley stems from the fact that both sides of the character models’ faces in Heavy Rain are identical to one another. A perfect mirror image, if you will.

    I guess you need to be a doctor, or come from a group of doctors, to realize and indeed to know how to settle and deal with the ‘Uncanny Valley’, because on both Mass effect one and two, the faces on ALL of the character models are at a disproportion to the other side. Just like in real life. Brows are not identical nor at the same height or depth. The same goes with the eyes and lips and nose (nostril sizes on each side).

    Take the Tom Hanks’ film, The Polar Express for example, I can’t bear to watch that because of the uncanny valley, and for this very reason I can’t pick up Heavy Rain…

  • I have heard the first 1-2 hours of heavy rain were VERY slow and dull even though they are important for character development and to become attached to characters. After that though apparently you just sucked in until you finish. It truly is the one game that makes me wish i had a PS3. (Possibly even more so then God of War 3 or MGS4.)

    As for what i am playing – I started a new game of Assassin’s Creed 2 on Thursday and have already gotten up to Sequence 8. I bought both Sequence 12 + 13 yesterday so i can now complete the story in order. Looking forward to it even though some people have said that Sequence 12 was average.

  • Just downloaded the AC2 Sequences 12 and 13. Can’t wait to complete the whole story.

    I played the Heavy Rain demo last night and I was a little disappointed. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since it was first announced, but I think I might reserve buying it until I can pick it up cheaper.

  • This is part of the reason that I am trying to effect a total media blackout of this game. I even avoided reading parts of this article to prevent any potential spoilers.

    I think that this is a game where the story is the most important element, and if you already know the story, then you are stuck with the game play to keep you entertained, which I imagine is not HR’s strong point.

    I hope the new part of the game help to draw you back in David.

  • Last night while happily progressing my storyline I received the msn message “Oi!, Didn’t Mass Effect ‘Two’ just come out?” via my Xbox 360. To which I replied “I’m a little slow” needless to say I’m making my way through the original Mass Effect this weekend.

    I do love an RPG but damn the are time sink …

  • Playing the heavy rain Demo and some Bad company 2 PC beta…

    Also going insane waiting for these 2 games to be released retail =)

  • I think it is like a spooky movie, if you watch the first 20 minutes you are enthralled, wondering what is going on, working out who is who etc. The new experience keeps your mind busy enough not to notice the flaws, there is enough going on to stay interested and intrigued. But re-watch that first 20 minutes a day later instead of picking up where you left off and the mystery is missing, the revelations seem obvious because you already know them, your brain goes off looking for new information and so has time to dwell on the flaws.

    This is why I stay away from game demos and most games reviews and news. Even the best game stories are pretty limited in scope due to the budget and the medium and whilst really involving the first time round, don’t hold up well to a second or third viewing. Doesn’t mean it isn’t a great game, just that the replay value might be pretty low. I’m looking forward to buying Heavy Rain, have only barely skimmed the reviews etc. so that I can come at it fresh and enjoy the experience.

  • I personally didn’t really like the concept of Heavy Rain. I generally don’t get too attached to characters and rarely get emotionally invested in a game. I could not imagine caring enough about these characters to care about the story in this game, and didn’t believe that the game could be engaging enough to really accomplish what it was attempting. However, even though I don’t think it would work, I do applaud the developers for trying something different.

    So though I guess I should be kind of disappointed that the experiment may not have worked all that well, I am actually kind of happy that I may be right about this game. I guess that kind of makes me a jerk… oh well.

  • Been playing Singstar, I’m absolutely crap at it but its great fun, I’ve been playing song battles with my brother who is some singstar prodigy who perfects everysong.

  • I’ll be playing Disgaea : Dark hero days on psp, and probably AVP Marine campaign with the brown undies on.
    Other than that, Heroes of Newerth Beta of course!

  • I’m just finishing off my first playthrough of Conan, after that I might play Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (picked it up yesterday for 10 bucks), I heard it doesn’t take long to finish so after that It’ll either be Gears Of War or Borderlands.

    Also downloaded Monkey Island SE off XBLA during the week so if I get time that will get a look in as well.

  • Well it’s been about 12 years. So I think it’s time to finish Starcraft. On the 2nd-3rd last Protoss level. Destroying the heart of the conclave.
    Question is do I open up Broodwar thereafter?

  • pikmin new play control. $20 thanks EB. i’ve given up on pikmin 3 being released. no pikmin 3 is an even bigger failure than wii music nintendo!!
    and scurge hive, awesome isometric metroid rip-off that tops metroid in some ways.

  • Finishing off the Valentines holiday in WoW.

    Finally put AvP in.

    And some random multiplayer stuff now that I’m back online (Borderlands, Bioshock 2, Halo 3, ect).

  • I got the first Phoenix Wright game recently, I’m playing through that.

    And for some reason I’m playing Punch-Out!! Wii again.

  • Damn you and your ability to have played through Heavy Rain twice already. I’m strictly avoiding the demo so I’m climbing the walls for the 25th. In the meantime I’m working my way through my second playthrough of GTAIV (For the episodes on the ps3 soon) and Bioshock (For the follow-up).

  • Burnout Paradise complete collection on PS3. I used to have it on XBOX, but never got very far, couldn’t pass up the $50 deal for everything on PSN!

  • There is an easy answer to your question David, and it is something that i have many, MANY times experienced before.

    The first time you played it, you convinced yourself it was good, simply because deep down you really wanted heavy rain to be a good game.

    Now that you’ve played it again, and had some time to think about it, you realise that it’s not that great.

    I do this all the time, and so do many video game reviewers!

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