Heavy Rain: Final Thoughts

May 19th, 2010: One of the last chapters takes place from the viewpoint of a young boy who fled their house with his brother on a rainy day. Their father was abusive, and the boys did not want to deal with another one of his drunken episodes, so they decided to have an adventure at a construction site. But their adventure turned to tragedy when one of the boys, John, fell into a damaged pipe, which trapped his leg. The rain threatened to fill the pipe with water and drown John, so his brother fled back home to get help from their father, but he was too drunk to help.

John’s brother returned to the pipe. Before he drowned, John begged his brother, Scotty, to remember him.

He did. In one of the worst ways possible.

That’s right – for all of its writing faults, Heavy Rain pulled off quite the twist by making one of the protagonists the Origami Killer.

When the big reveal drops, the game goes out of its way to flashback to scenes where Scott disguised himself to hide his true identity.

Scott was rather likable up until then, though it depends on how you played him. Maybe we shouldn’t like him too much; he killed children (and lured their fathers out to try to get them to save their kids, leading to their own deaths) in painfully drawn-out ways, and strung along one of the victim’s mothers, Lauren, who he was developing feelings for.

I actually thought it may have been kind of cool if one of the protagonists was the killer, and that’s how it turned out.

Of all of the fathers that Scott lured into doing the trials, only Ethan accomplished them all. He can finally find and rescue Shaun from drowning, and confront Scott. Ethan can try to kill him (or he will be killed by police upon trying to escape), or let him go.

If Ethan started a relationship with Madison, then she will become his girlfriend at the end of the game.

If Scott died, then Lauren finds his grave. She spits on his grave and tells him that she has nothing but contempt for him. “Nothing but contempt…”

The worst ending has Madison and Norman dying at certain points, Scott escaping, and Ethan getting arrested and committing suicide in his cell.

A variant on the Ethan/Madison relationship depends on whether or not Shaun died. Madison will suggest that she and Ethan have a new baby. Some were shocked at her callousness in suggesting this.

I’m pleased that I replayed the last few chapters so that I ensured the survival of Lauren and Norman.

Unlocked Simple Mind and Four Heroes… really? Hmm…

Yeah, Scott isn’t really a hero. -.-

Did the ending music have to be so dramatic?

The bonus materials show that the actors bear some resemblance to the characters that they portray.

Final Thoughts

I have fond memories of Heavy Rain; it’s one of my favorite PS3 exclusives, but even when I played through it the first time, there were some things that did not sit right with me. Now, I feel comfortable talking about how many plot holes the game has, and how the game treated some of its characters.

There are entire articles about how HR takes many plot leaps and works on idiot logic (especially from the police). Some of these are due to content that was cut from the game. For example, Ethan’s blackouts? They were supposed to hint at a psychic connection between him and the Origami Killer. Left as is, these inexplicable scenes are red herrings that try to exploit Ethan’s questionable mental state as a hint that he could be the real perpetrator.

A plot point that I missed was Ethan being in a coma for six months from getting hit by the car that he tried to shield Jason from. Presumably, this was supposed to add more fuel to the fire with his blackouts.

Some take issue with how Jason acted in the prologue. He acts very dumb for someone his age, and did Ethan and Grace not teach him to look both ways? It’s contrived.

Let’s talk about Madison and how I didn’t directly mention her at all in my original (and admittedly very patchy) journal. She exists to provide a second chance at happiness with a woman for Ethan after his first wife divorced him (perhaps her divorcing him was an excuse to include Madison and her romantic subplot with Ethan), but some were put off by this, as well as their infamous sex scene for its context. Yet, I still smushed them together because I wanted Ethan to be happy.

The sex scene feels a bit out-of-character. If both Ethan and Madison were shown to be more sexual characters, then it would be more believable that they would sleep together after a few encounters.

There are a few scenes were Madison’s breasts can be exposed. Maybe I was just more easily shocked back then (nudity in games still feels forbidden to me), but it feels pointless and voyeuristic to have a scene where Madison can strip down in her room.

I think that you could write Madison and Norman out and not lose much in the story. The latter is justified by being a good cop, but surrounded by horribly incompetent cops.

Madison, kind of like Kenny from The Walking Dead, split the fanbase. Some think that she’s a great female character, while others hate her sexualization, her lack of necessity in the plot, and her callous suggestion to Ethan in one of the ending variants. I feel pretty neutral towards her.

The point is that David Cage can conceive of very dramatic scenarios for his games, but he needs an editor.

The cut content is a casualty of a long development period. Sometimes, I think it’s crazy how games get put together as well as they do, because there can be long stretches were the project has to operate on blind faith.

It was hard to ignore some of the strange accents from the actors, especially Norman’s. He pronounces his own name like “Nahman”. Memes followed suit.

Would you enjoy HR? I think it depends on how forgiving you are. There is good in this game, but the story is severely flawed as a mystery. I don’t believe that game stories are unworthy of the same effort as other media just because they’re games, even though several games don’t need strong plots to justify their gameplay. Many have reached the conclusion that HR‘s innovative features were better parlayed in Life Is Strange, Until Dawn, and Telltale’s games.

The game eventually received a PS4 remaster. It functions at 1080p, but lacks the DLC episode starring Madison and the port did not fix any of the bugs that the original had.

The DLC episode, The Taxidermist, was the only one made for the game.