Posts Tagged‘heavy rain’

I’m a Sucker for Alternate Reality Games.

I believe I’m not alone when I think I’m mostly immune to the effects of marketing. For the most part my purchasing decisions are based off research and my own personal requirements, not so much by seeing marketing materials. Of course I realise that I’m not totally immune to the effects of marketing as there have been several times when I’ve found myself purchasing one product over another simply because “I saw it advertised somewhere”, although I’m never happy admitting that. There is one type of marketing that I’ve found myself getting hopelessly influenced by and that’s alternate reality games (ARG).

ARGs aren’t exactly a new phenomenon being able to trace their roots back almost 14 years. Up until the last couple years however I was mostly unaware of the concept having never really participated in any of them. However back in early 2010 I got wind of an ARG that was starting up for one of the games that I was intensely excited about, Heavy Rain. It started off as just a curiosity, with a couple YouTube videos and a flash game to give you a bit of insight into the background of Heavy Rain’s story. Of course not all of it was revealed on the first day and I found myself coming back just to find out what the latest was. The ARG took on a whole new level when they set up a Twitter account and started tweeting responses out to people’s questions from a character in the game. Suddenly I found myself staying up until the wee hours just to find out any information that I could.

I knew I was hooked.

Soon after Valve released an update to Portal that added in some new achievements. Of course the community thought it was rather odd that Valve would update a game so long after its release. As it turns out the achievements were just the lure into an incredibly in depth ARG that had fans working through the details for weeks after the initial update. Whilst I lacked the capability to help push the ARG forward in any way I did follow the events unfold very closely, loving every theory that people would develop and revelling in the excitement when someone made a new discovery. Both of these ARGs drew me into the games immensely and subsequently my time with the final products was much more memorable.

You can then imagine my excitement when I came across the following trailer for the upcoming game Deus Ex: Human Revolution:

Like the main corporation of the previous games (UNATCO) Sarif Industries has their own, rather flashy site. Upon entering it you’ll find everything is normal for a while until eventually it appears to be taken over by the rebels mentioned the trailer above. After fooling around for a while you’ll find yourself in the midst of a small hacking game which upon finishing gives you some insight into the upcoming game. I lost a good hour or two fooling around on the site and with the hacking games and if I hadn’t already pre-ordered the game I would’ve done so immediately afterwards.

ARGs are probably the only bit of marketing that doesn’t break my rule of avoiding the hype for unreleased games. Since the majority of an ARG is back story and doesn’t contain spoilers or over the top marketing speak it adds to the experience rather than detracting from it. I’ve all too often found critical pieces of games ruined by online commentary since, even without knowing it, reveal key pieces of information that sculpt my game play in a certain way. ARGs, since they have to operate as stand alone narratives in their own right, avoid doing this quite well although there is still the possibility to go too far.

I think the reason I get so hooked on these ARGs is that they increase my level of immersion with the end game significantly. Instead of going into the game without any background I’ve already got a decent investment in the story and you get a much better feeling for the characters and their motivations. Since my level of immersion plays a very big part in how much I will enjoy a game then it follows that ones marketed with an ARG aspect are far more likely for me to find enjoyable. Indeed my reviews of games with ARG marketing are above average and I definitely remember them more clearly than the multitude of other games that I have played.


Game Length, Opportunity Cost and Replay Value.

When I switched from being a salaried employee to a contractor I underwent a paradigm shift in regards to how I spend my time. You see when you charge by the hour you start to think about how much something costs you to do if you do it yourself vs getting someone else to do it. If there’s a solution to a problem and it’s available for less than my current hourly rate then it’s good value for me to get that rather than trying to develop a solution on my own. This also comes back to how I spend my leisure time as it becomes hard to turn off that part of my brain that tells me every hour used purely in the pursuit of leisure is an hour that could be spent generating some income, although I haven’t seemed to have any trouble with that for the past month or so. 😉

The majority of my spare time is spent playing games simply because they’re by far one of the most relaxing activities for me. Additionally the bit of blog fodder that I get from completing one and then writing a review of it (which are some of my most enjoyable posts to write) are yet another benefit of spending my down time immersed in these virtual worlds. Unfortunately though I’m no longer the young 20 something university student I used to be and the amount of time I can spend on games is quite limited when compared to days gone by. Thus, whilst I still find time to cram in an epic gaming session or two every so often, the vast majority of my games are either played out over the course of a month or in a few shorter sessions in a single weekend. I think this is where my love of cinematic games has sprouted from as they’re an intense experience that I could conceivably sit down and play through in one session.

However the gaming community always seems to lament games that have a length that’s shorter than about 20 hours. One great example of this was Heavenly Sword, arguably Sony’s flagship game on it’s only recently debuted PlayStation 3. The hype leading up to the release of the game was nothing short of fever pitch and the demo released about a month prior wowed everyone who played it, even with it’s foreboding that the game itself would be drastically shorter than everyone was used to. On release it became apparent that the game totaled at most about 6~8 hours of game play and the critics slammed it for that very reason. Granted the game had set itself up for this as the hype far outpaced the resulting game but really the length, at least for people like me, wasn’t such a let down as many of the critics would have had us believe.

When time is at a premium game length starts to become something of a concern. It’s for that exact reason why I’ve avoided games like Final Fantasy as whilst they are amongst some of the most highly praised games on Sony’s gaming platform they’re also an incredible time sink, with play times exceeding 40 hours not uncommon. Ah ha! I hear you saying, but you reviewed Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, games with lengths approaching that of the games you said you avoid! OK you got me, there are notable exceptions that I can and will make the effort to play through usually on the backs of raving reviews from friends and the gaming community at large. Still a game like Modern Warfare 2 which packed only 6 hours of game play which I managed to blast through in 2 sittings rates as highly as some of those longer games despite its short length. There is also Heavy Rain of course, but I think everyone knows how much I enjoyed that and I’ve gushed enough about it to last everyone a lifetime 🙂

I think the crux of the matter is that the opportunity cost for longer games is so high that I have a tendency to shy away from them, lest my hours be wasted. Thankfully in this day and age of instant on access to information I usually have a good feel if a game will be worth it before taking the plunge, but at heart I’m still a completionist and I can’t stand letting games go unfinished. I think that’s the reason why Bayonetta and Red Faction: Guerrilla bug  the hell out of me as they’re just painful enough for me to not want to finish them but at the same time I’d love to get them off my list forever. Still slogging through something that just isn’t fun for completion’s sake doesn’t rate highly on a cost benefit analysis for my time, so I guess I’ll just have to live with that.

There is of course games that have significant amounts of replay value which kind of skew my whole game length argument. Something like Lumines for example probably only has about 6 hours of game play in it total however I still find myself picking up my copy of it from time to time for a 30 minute bash to try and beat my top score. That’s probably more thanks to the genre than anything else as casual games like that tend to have quite short single play throughs however the competition element with a healthy sprinkling of procedural generation makes them almost infinitely replayable, something that the casual gaming market craves.

My point is that for any game you might play the length is somewhat of a subjective metric to use when judging its quality. Certain genres of games will come with expectations of play times such as RPGs being traditionally quite long and cinematics being short, but overall a games length is no measure of its quality. There is of course the argument to be made that a game is too short and therefore omits details or similarly a game that is too long that drags the plot out longer than it really needs to be. Still for a game that’s worth its salt the length seems to barely matter as I’ll remember how I enjoyed my time playing it, not how long.

That probably explains my past addictions to various MMORPGs over the past 5 years….

Heavy Rain: Your World Torn Asunder.

Quantic Dream is a name that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve been a long time reader of this blog but outside of that you’d be hard pressed to find those who knew of them. Much like Ninja Theory, who were thrust into the limelight for being one of the reasons to buy a PS3 on launch day (and subsequently faded into the background as quickly), they have specialized in creating games that focus less on the actual game play itself and more on the characters and the roles they play in the story. Such games blur the lines between themselves and more traditional forms of video entertainment, which has drawn the ire of many a game critic. Still the genre of cinematic gaming¹ has proven itself to be extremely viable with many dedicated fans like myself lapping up every offering that any game company puts forth. With one of these such titles under their belt you can understand my excitement when Heavy Rain was announced, and my elation when I finally sat down to play through it.

The menu screens of Heavy Rain are rich in a sense of foreboding, with a noir like feel to them. It then comes as quite a shock when the opening scenes turn out be quite the opposite with bright colours and your character showing a healthy amount of contentment for his life, family and an overall appreciation for the world around him. As with any classic tragedy we know the man with everything has everything to lose and the focus of the game is very much centered on this.

The inital scenes are, as always, the tutorial for the game. Initially I felt the controls were a tad awkward as they’re different from your usual 3rd person affair. To walk you have to hold R2 and then steer your character with the left control stick. Additionally you have little control over the camera save for being able to switch between some pre-determined camera angles. Granted its no where near as bad as say Resident Evil which often had dreadful angles that hid details from you and from a design point of view the decision to lock the camera is solid, so no points lost there.

Combat and other challenges take an advanced form of the much dreaded quick time event. With a game relying so heavily on the story (and by consequence linear game play) Quantic Dream really out did themselves when it came to engaging you at the right times. Some of the events had me playing two handed twister with the controller which sounds like a cheap way to make you panic but the implementation is nothing short of flawless. Many of the scenes play out in drastically different ways should you succeed or fail at the button mash at critical times, something which will ensure that conversations over your Heavy Rain experience will be wide and varied.

Heavy Rain is set in the near future and Quantic Dream has taken this as an opportunity to give it a slight sci-fi bent. One of the story lines, a FBI investigator, utilizes a pair of sunglasses and special glowing glove with a Minority Report like interface to gather and analyze evidence. Additionally a scene with another character in a psychiatrist appointment has what appears to be a CAT scan being done with nothing more then a slim slab of metal on their forehead. Whilst it may be a minor point in the game overall it helped keep the pace of the game whilst ensuring that the hand waving over certain plot points was kept to a minimum.

Unlike Fahrenheit before it, which allowed you to choose which character to progress the story with up to a point, your experience within Heavy Rain is completely controlled by the decisions you make with each character during their scene. This has a much more organic feel to it as the story flows consistently with the story arc able to stretch from beginning to end without any odd disjoints in it. Fahrenheit had a few moments that were absolutely unnecessary to the overall plot or individual character development which I attribute to the choice you were given when progressing a certain character.

Heavy Rain’s scenary is one of complete normality. Almost every section of the game plays out in normal settings with extraordinary circumstances. It’s done as to contrast the banality of everyday activities, such as doing your teeth or simply looking at yourself in the mirror, with the extremes each character will be pushed to in order to achieve their various goals. After visiting so many lands of fantasy recently it’s been an oddly refreshing experience to be pushed back into the (almost) real world.

This is greatly helped by the fact that 95% of the achievements in Heavy Rain are hidden from you (although you’re really just a Google search away from finding them) and the only time you’ll know you’ve got one is when the loading screen appears. It might sound like a small thing but there’s nothing worse for immersion then having a “Trophy Unlocked!” message appear along with its associated sound coming along right in the middle of a scene.

As for the story itself? Completely and utterly engrossing. I’m not usually one for murder mysteries (they’re in the same category as horror for me, entertaining I won’t go out of my way for them) but chasing the Origami Killer through 4 different sets of eyes throughout the game makes for a complex and twisted story that had me guessing right up until right before the ultimate climax. Whilst it had been said before that at any point any of the characters could die (and I can see their point to, there were many close calls in my play through) I managed to keep them all alive throughout. You’d think this would bring me the ultimate closure on the whole ideal and whilst the story does wrap up quite well I still wonder how it would have gone had I made one decision differently, or if one of the characters died before a critical point.

Additionally Heavy Rain hits on some very mature themes that other games have been struggling to showcase properly. I’ve lamented in the past that for all the game industry’s trying at putting sex into games they always seem to make it a reward for clicking the right buttons rather than an expression of deep emotions. Heavy Rain on the other hand mirrors a similar scene to that found in Fahrenheit, with two people in desperate situations falling for one another. Whilst I won’t comment on how it all turns out (your choices will decide that) it’s good to finally see a game that views sex as something that is as quickly forgotten by the characters in the game as it would be by the gamer looking for a cheap thrill. The long lasting impact of such emotional involvement is deeply apparent in the way both characters react to each other afterwards adding yet another layer on an already complex relationship.

My game developer buddy wouldn’t let a conversation about Heavy Rain go by without mentioning that his trusted reviewers have stated that the game will start lying to you at certain points. Now that I’ve actually played the game (yes I’m calling you out on this :P) I can see what he was getting at but realistically it was at one point (well two, but the second isn’t an outright lie so much as it is just a cheap way to keep you guessing) in the game and had the scene been shown to you it would not only be confusing but also ruin the remaining game. Critically the game he worked on reviewed quite similar to Heavy Rain. However it would seem that the gamer community as a whole rejected that viewpoint with it garnering a rather embarrassing user score. The often sighted problems weren’t so much the complaint of the game lying to you, more the user critics level their eyes squarely on the plot citing its predictability and numerous plot holes. The score is misleading though as the reviews are ones of extremes with players either loving it or hating it.

I disagree with many of the criticisms as they seem to either come from a player base the game wasn’t levelled at (I.E. not the frat boy crowd that lapped up MW2) or forms of hindsight bias. The first lot of users will have come across Heavy Rain due to the hype it recieved, not for a following of the genre. Ask many of those who find fault in it if they had played Dreamfall or Fahrenheit and you’ll often get blank stares as few would have even heard of either of those titles. The second lot are those who probably pride themselves on not being easily fooled or after finishing the game look back on it and remember (quite wrongly) that they picked up on every hint and knew the outcome well before it was revealed. Had they wrote down who they thought the killer was after every scene I’m sure we’d see a completely different picture.

Heavy Rain is one of those games that has successfully managed to demonstrate that games are ready to become a mature medium for any story that would have them. I spent many hours on the edge of my seat hungering for the next scene or scrap of detail that would bring me that one step closer to knowing the truth. Each of the characters are uniquely themselves yet still shaped by the way you want to play them. In the end this makes Heavy Rain a unique experience for all of those who play it and will serve as a turning point in games as a storytelling medium.

Rating: 9.75/10

Heavy Rain is available exclusively for PS3 for AU$108. Game was played on the PS3 on the hardest difficulty with around 10 hours of gameplay total with all characters alive at the end.

¹I have to make the point here that what I call cinematic gaming seems to be drifting away from what the industry thinks this term means. Today a cinematic game could very easily refer to something like Modern Warfare 2 which has a very Hollywood-esque feeling to it yet falls into the category of a FPS. For me cinematic games will be the ones that are only a few steps away from actually being a movie, despite whether or not they actually feel like one.

There Goes my Weekend…

I picked something up yesterday, something looking suspiciously similar to this:

Yeah I think you can guess where I’ll be spending a good chunk of my weekend, firmly welded to the couch while I bathe myself in what is going to be one of the most enthralling cinematic gaming experiences to cross my path. The fact that the guy I picked it up from at EB asked me if I had played Fahrenheit shows just what kind of a following this game has and I’ve deliberately steered clear of any news or reviews of the game, lest they ruin my experience.

Now it’s one thing to get excited over a game due to the hype buildup or developer loyalty but, for me at least, Heavy Rain is in another category entirely. That’s not to say it’s the most excited I’ve been about a game, far from it. I was much more jittery when it came to picking up the Mass Effect series of games or even the first World of Warcraft expansions. No, there’s something different about this game that is tickling a part of my brain that I don’t think a game has ever triggered before, and that in itself is saying something.

I can probably put this down to the Four Days online experience that Quantic Dream put on. Basically it was a prologue to the game and involved putting you in the shoes of one of the characters of Heavy Rain who was investigating a murder. It played out over 3 days of each week for 3 weeks and to be honest the first one came and went with me barely giving it a second look. However things started to get interesting when the second one came along.

The event started with a series of interactive Youtube videos that put you on the other end of a 911 phone call. The idea was to keep her on the phone as long as possible so you could extract information about what she saw. If you do it right you’ll be sent to another website with a grab bag of evidence from the crime scene which contains various photos other bits of info. What drew me in at this point was a link to a Twitter account, and this is where things got a bit crazy.

It just so happened that I got the evidence package late at night and decided to check out the account to see if there was anything on it. Amazingly right as I was going onto the website the person behind the account started to answer questions about what he saw that night. Queue 3 hours of me furiously sending questions to him and refreshing the page, desperately hanging on for every little bit of information I could drag out of him. I went to bed before the whole event finished but as I drifted off to sleep my head was filled with even more questions that demanded answers and I spent the next day on the edge of my seat waiting for the mysterious character to return.

The next day saw me selecting the 4 most appropriate pieces of evidence from the crimescene to be submitted for further investigation. After a few attempts I got it right and was rewarded with a code for an early copy of the demo. Not wanting to spoil anything of Heavy Rain I filed it away and waited for the next challenge to begin.

The last challenge in the Four Days campaign wasn’t as enthralling as the one that preceeded it. Basically it was just looking at Facebook fan pages and figuring out who best fit the data. It was kind of spooky when I got an email out of the blue from another person who was apparently working the case for her own reasons, and the page she linked to instantly identified her as one of the characters right out of Heavy Rain. I still spent some time reading all the profiles but that initial buzz I felt from staring at SleeperInTheSun’s Twitter feed was a distant memory.

Despite the climax being somewhat disappointing (although the trailers that followed were amazing) it made me step back and take stock of the emotional responses that this little meta game invoked. Fahrenheit was one of those games that drew you deep into the story and its characters, even to the point of stretching the definition of what constituted a game (My game developer friend Tim doesn’t let me call them games, only interactive movies). Heavy Rain made no secret that it’s striving for an emotive experience first and gameplay second which has drawn some harsh criticisms from more traditional game reviewers. So far every one of the cinematic games I’ve played have been experiences I’ve savoured like a fine wine and if the small tidbits of Heavy Rain that I’ve indulged in are anything to go by this will be another fine addition to my shelf.

Why Your Gamer Friends Are Missing.

2009 was a bit of a dry spell for gamers. Sure we had a couple great hits with the likes of Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune but for the most part we were denied the games that were set to end the decade with a very memorable bang. We can partly blame the GFC for most of this since most consumer reports showed a decline in people’s willingness to part with their disposable income (and who could blame them really) and no one wants to release their game into a bear market. Still we managed to smash the previous record for biggest media release of all time so it wasn’t all bad and for the most part the games were delayed to ensure they’d have that extra layer of polish that would ensure they lived up to everyone’s expectations.

The reason I’m writing about this is that after completing Assassin’s Creed 2 I thought I’d check up on the pre-order status of some of my favourite titles that were scheduled for release last year but got the chop. To my surprise my list ended up looking like this:

That’s not mentioning that I’ve still got Uncharted 2, Bayonetta and Batman: Arkham Asylum to play through! I had promised myself a month off after finishing a recent project (not Geon, that still has a long way to go) and it seems I’ll be spending the majority of it either cemented to the couch or firmly planted in front of my PC. Not that I’m complaining though, but it would seem like I have well over 100 hours worth of gaming being released in the next month. Sometimes I wish I was unemployed 😉

To be honest though two of those titles there aren’t really what you’d consider AAA titles that are going to attract the majority of gamers. Heavy Rain is a highly specialized game for people like me who revel in the fledgling cinematic gaming genre. It’s target audience is squarely aimed at those people who enjoyed Fahrenheit and possibly those who enjoy a good murder mystery. White Knight Chronicles is at the other end of the spectrum as at its heart it’s a Final Fantasy clone. The only reason I carry such an obsession for it is because I saw it as one of the darlings of the PS3 when it was announced all those years ago. After having been taunted by it for almost 5 years I’m chomping at the bit to actually play it, even if it turns out to be completely crap.

Mass Effect 2 is another one of those games that drove me completely wild when I first saw it. I’m a sucker for good Sci-Fi and Bioware has never failed in delivering an epic RPG. In fact I bought into the hype so badly I ended up buying an Xbox 360 just so I could play it, much to the lament of my friends who said if I waited it would eventually come out on PC. I think the $500 investment was worth not having to wait 6 months for the release 🙂 Strangely enough I bought Bioshock with the console to, since it was either get the Xbox or a new video card and I knew I had to get a Xbox eventually. Still I think I’ll be getting Bioshock on the PC this time around since the experience was much better comparatively.

So if you find yourself alone in the coming months you can rest assured that the gamers in your life have probably locked themselves in a room to get through the massive backlog of tremendous titles that are being released. So whilst 2009 might have been the year of the delayed release it would seem that 2010 will make up for it in spades.

What a way to welcome in the new decade 😀

Year of the Delayed Release.

A couple weeks ago I had come to the conclusion that my time in World of Warcraft had to come to an end. Whilst I had enjoyed rediscovering the game with a bunch of my close friends I started to become the angsty, late night hardcore raiding nut that I was throughout university and that didn’t sit well with me. Still I can always look back on the last 6 months of my foray back into the World of Warcraft with fond memories but giving it up has left me with a fair bit of free time. Part of it has been dedicated to Geon but of course part of it has gone back into gaming. Knowing there were a few titles scheduled to be released soon I thought I’d check up on them, boy was I surprised.

If you cast your mind back to long ago when the PS3 was still the giddy dream of the dominating powerhouse console that every man, woman and child on earth would want you’d probably be familiar with a game called White Knight Chronicles. It was a beautiful looking game that promised battles between massively scaled foes and showed of an interface that was by all accounts one of the smoothest I’d seen for a game like this. My heart ached as every year afterwards I found that the game was slated for next year until finally it saw a release in Japan on Christmas day last year, I knew it couldn’t be far away. It is now slated for Q1 2010 with the promise of not just a translated release. It seems my heart will ache for another year.

Probably the most devastating delay that I found coming out of my World of Warcraft stupor was that Heavy Rain had also been hit by the delay bug. After my initial gush about this game I was hoping to do a full review of it this year, but it seems that I will have to settle for it at the start of next year. It’s almost as if they want me to go back to WoW, although I really can’t bring myself to do it right now.

These aren’t the only ones to suffer the delay stick with other games like Bioshock 2, Mafia II, Red Dead Redemption, Tiberium all getting the same treatment. Having a dig around to see why all these games were suffering the same fate I couldn’t find a common thread, so it just seems like they’re all dealing with their own problems at the moment.

As a long time gamer I should be used to this kind of thing now. After Blizzard started taking the stance of  “done when it’s done” game delays seem to become the norm with few making their initially scheduled release dates. This isn’t a bad thing as it typically leads to a much more polished game. However it’s never easy to get funding to develop a game and the only way to get attention and therefore dollars is to showcase what you have long before you have a releasable product. The only people who really suffer for this are the anxious customers like myself but I guess it’s better then the alternative.

Maybe I’m just too impatient. I still have a backlog of last year’s blockbuster releases to play through. 🙂

Cinematic Gaming (or My Secret Love of Playable Movies).

I’m an avid gamer and have been ever since my Dad sat me down at a computer at the tender age of 4 and showed me an old classic, Captain Comic. I spent many hours playing through that game and never getting too far into it, only to have my Dad’s friend show up and beat the game for me. I remember being awe struck as a child watching someone play through it so perfectly, when I had struggled for hours and only got half as far.

Fast forward 20 years and gaming has become a huge multi-billion dollar industry. So many games are released every year that no matter what kind of genre or play-style you fit into you’re bound to find something that you enjoy. Hollywood blockbuster budgets are thrown at impressive game titles and production values have skyrocketed, which has allowed game designers to become analogous to movie producers. Thus Cinematic Gaming was born, bringing the choices of a choose your own adventure book together with the immersion of modern interactive games.

My first real introduction into this blend of movie and game was Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Whilst this is no where near the first foray into this genre it is a great example of what it is capable of. The emphasis is strictly on the characters and their interaction with each other. Every time I sat down to play it I felt drawn into the game and empathised with all of the characters, something which was made even stronger by the fact I could make their decisions for them. The ending left my heart aching, something which I had never experienced with a game before.

After finishing Dreamfall and sharing my experiences with some of my friends I was put onto Fahrenheit by Quantic Dream. This was a much earlier attempt at Cinematic Gaming and whilst the graphics were a tad rough, even for the time of its release, the emphasis again was on the plot and immersion. I quickly got drawn into the interaction between characters, and the use of game mechanics really makes you feel like the character is supposed to. Throw in a dash of naughty sex scenes and you’re onto a winner.

Probably one of the biggest jumps forward in this genre would have to be Mass Effect by Bioware, who are renowned for their games with intricate dialogues and over-arching plot lines. The conversation system implemented in Mass Effect is really second to none. Your responses are displayed just before the other person finishes their part of the conversation, allowing you to choose what you want to say before there’s an awkward pause. Once you’ve figured out which options are where (a “Paragon” response is typically at the top, “Renegade” is at the bottom) you can usually judge how you want to respond to someone before the options even come up. This makes the dialogue very fluid, and doesn’t have the same immersion break like many similar games do when you’re interacting with non-player characters.

So how does the future look for this type of game? Well Quantic Dream is busy working on Heavy Rain which is looking to take the next step in immersion with realistic facial expressions. They put an emphasis on the fact that their characters will show real tears, which is something that is sure to tug on heart strings. Here’s a great trailer:

I’m definitely looking forward to this, and I’ll be sure to give a review of it once I’ve played it through. Don’t expect it to be out quickly though, I like to take my time with things like this 😉