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This review was submitted by Katie Williams. If you’ve played The Taxidermist, or just want to ask Katie more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Heavy Rain Chronicles, Chapter 1: The Taxidermist (PS3)
The Taxidermist is the first chapter in the Heavy Rain Chronicles, a planned series of downloadable content that has sadly since been canned. This episode takes place two years before the events of Heavy Rain, and follows Madison Paige as she investigates the home of Origami Killer suspect Leland White.
I’ve got a bad feeling about this: The Taxidermist delivers more of the creeping tension and quicktime-based gameplay that Heavy Rain exemplified. A horrific story unfolds in a dusty, dilapidated house that is ominously decorated with stuffed animals, and it is finished off with an immensely enjoyable climax. Timing is impeccable, and clever use of split-screen adds to the terror.
Biographical: We’re shown that Madison had been working on the Origami Killer case for at least two years, and was willing to put herself in danger to uncover what information she could about it. While her motivations in the original game were obscure, this episode makes her being a journalist a lot more believable.
Possibilities: Like the original game, there are numerous paths and decisions to make; after your first play-through, the final screen tells you which ending you achieved out of a possible five. This will give many players the motivation to play it again, and hopefully uncover the other four endings.
Voices: A different actor provides Madison’s voice this time around, and the change is grating. On the other hand, Leland White may sound all too familiar to fans – he’s voiced by the same actor who did Scott Shelby in the main game, which makes for a jarring experience.
Short: Your first playthrough isn’t likely to last any longer than twenty minutes. Replay value is extended with multiple endings, but you’re not get much out of this episode if you’re not into numerous run-throughs.
Not really relevant: While the episode provides an interesting backstory for Madison’s character, it doesn’t contribute anything to the main game’s plot, nor does it provide any elaboration. It’s best to approach this as a self-contained mini-game with its own plot, rather than a prequel to Heavy Rain.
Familiarity: If the episode seems familiar to some people, there’s a reason why: this was used as a Heavy Rain demonstration at press events all the way back in 2008, and it really hasn’t changed much since then.
Is it worth its AU$6.95 price on the PlayStation Store? Diehard fans of the original game will be delighted to play Madison again, as well as enjoy more of the decision-making and nail-biting sequences that Heavy Rain is known for. However, The Taxidermist doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of gameplay or plot, and unless you have a great desire to visit the rainy city and its dubious characters again, it may be best to give this one a miss.
Reviewed by: Katie Williams
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