Gaming Moments of 2010 #10: Heavy Rain

All the big guns have come and gone. The best games are all now on shelves and we’ve just decided on our game of the year. Now we’re taking a look at out 10 favourite gaming moments of 2010. Be aware that these are just my subjective choices – feel free to let us know some of your favourites in the comments below.

Favourite Gaming Moments of 2010 #10:
Rocking the baby to sleep in Heavy Rain

In a lot of ways Heavy Rain was a broken experience. It was stiff with rigour and pomp, and ambitious beyond its means. The story was middling, despite its pretence, and lumbered with some ludicrously bad voice acting. The controls were clunky, the pacing was off. In so many ways Heavy Rain was technically a bad game, but despite this there were specific, discrete moments when, somehow, Heavy Rain managed to transend its flaws.

Rocking the baby to sleep was one of those moments. I chose this moment specifically because Heavy Rain was undoubtedly at its best when it represented tactile action through the control system. Action sequences tended to devolve into polished quick-time events, but rocking the baby felt like a moment I was part of, something I had a meaningful affect on.

Most of Heavy Rain involved button presses, analogue movements, six axis shakes – control mechanisms that were completely disconnected from the action being presented onscreen – and I felt that was a fundamental problem with the mechanics. Heavy Rain worked when what you were doing onscreen was represented in some meaningful way with the control system – and rocking the baby to sleep was probably the best example of that. It felt less like a disconnected mini-game and more like a genuine experience.

Heavy Rain was full of these moments, but this one stuck with me – partly because of context. PI Scott Shelby is constantly portrayed as a lumbering, clumsy figure, ill at ease with his own awkward size and weight. Helping him take part in an action that requires delicate, subtle control was a brilliant touch, and fit seamlessly into the overall story. Even in hindsight, having finished the game, it remains one of the few perfectly executed moments in the game.

In some ways I hated Heavy Rain, but I was always compelled by it. On some level it defies traditional parameters of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in a video game, on other levels it’s a complete failure. But I’m glad it exists – I’m glad someone made it. I’m glad that there is a game out there that lets me play as an awkward, ill-at-ease cop, trying awkwardly to rock a baby to sleep.

What were your favourite moments in Heavy Rain, or any game for that matter? Let us know in the comments below


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