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Tsolaelia
White Matter



So I've been quiet for a while, but after reading this line in the latest interview with Jane:

I think the mainstream gaming industry has a very narrow focus on the young male audience.

I thought to ask if anyone here - that is, (to generalise,) those of us still most attached to the Gabriel Knight community - had played the new PS3 game Heavy Rain. If so, what did you think of it?

It's a very interesting development in the industry, because although it certainly isn't targeted exclusively or even primarily at young men, it's selling very well (10th best-seller in the USA, I read recently) and has a Metacritic score of 87!

It's a game I'd been anticipating with excitement for a couple of years - it's actually the primary reason I bought a PS3. I'm not a console gamer at all; before the PS3, I didn't own a gaming platform other than my PC and an old black-and-white gameboy! After playing it, though, I can see the reason for the game needing to be a PS3 exclusive: the control system is so unique it simply wouldn't work without the sixaxis controller. (And, I could be mistaken, but I think only the PS3 has the processing power capable of handling the game's "emotional engine" and insanely beautiful graphics.)

Anyway, I bring it up because although it's hard to shoehorn Heavy Rain into a genre, it's probably closest to an adventure game. I say that with some caution - if you go into it looking for puzzles, you'll come away empty-handed, but the focus of the game is on plot, emotional immersion and the characters involved, which, I think, are elements more typical of adventure than any other genre.

Heavy Rain markets itself as an "interactive movie" rather than a game, which seems accurate to me - but perhaps this will end up being the next incarnation of the traditional adventure game?

Be careful of reading too much about it on the 'net - spoilers abound! - but the least-terrible of all the trailers for it is (IMO) this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pEHspzMxyo, which is worth watching.

(Edited by Tsolaelia at 12:22 pm on Mar. 30, 2010)

Total Posts: 460 | Joined Sep. 2006 | Posted on: 2:15 am on Mar. 30, 2010 | Link to this post
aurora
midbrain


I know a lot of recent RPG's that have been very succesful have contained a really strong plot-line, and some really developed characters (Dragonage, for example).
Although I'm ok with such games, I do not find them exactly apealing to my taste - they still feel more revolved around experience and levels, which eventually is not the reason I game.
I have no problem with action or fighting if they're nicely done, and don't take over the adventure itself - and of course as long as they serve the plot (which hopefully doesn't revolve around blood shed).
I do however find puzzles very important. That's a big part of why I call it a game, and not a movie.
Although I did like Fahrenheit (another interactive movie) - I did miss puzzles in there, and it takes a *very good* interactive movie for me to play such a thing again.

I hope the "new incarnation" of adventures won't be puzzle-less games. Other than that - I love it when other "genres" interfere with adventure, as long as it's with taste.
Plot and characters do remain however the most important thing in my eyes.

Tsolaelia  - did you play Fahrenheit? How do you compare them?

-----
There's definitely definitely definitely no logic to humen behaviour.

Total Posts: 279 | Joined Aug. 2007 | Posted on: 12:43 pm on Mar. 31, 2010 | Link to this post
Tsolaelia
White Matter



Yes, I have played Fahrenheit. :smile: To be perfectly honest, it annoyed me a bit, because I was so excited when I started it - the beginning of the plot is fantastic, and it promises so much - but then the story starts to unravel and you realise that your actions really don't have as much impact on the story as you might hope (Fahrenheit spoiler: )(assuming you survive, the only thing that influences the ending is the outcome of the final battle; I felt pretty ripped-off after having been so careful about my decisions throughout the game!).

Heavy Rain, I think, delivers in all the areas Fahrenheit failed. Your actions really do affect the story (the game continues even if some of the playable characters die!), and the plot is pretty solid (solid on its own; I'd say the gameplay and interactive elements bring it closer to excellent).

I did miss having puzzles to solve, but I don't know if they would have fit in with the close-to-reality feel of the game. Maybe they would have broken the flow. Getting stuck on what to do next would definitely have broken the flow.

The thing that I found weirdest about the game, actually, was the "schrodinger's" aspect to the plot - that is, the storyline isn't fixed until a moment of decision, so it continues to leave you wondering "what if?". Difficult for a gamer to cope with, I think - or, at least, difficult for the "completionist" sort of gamer who likes to get everything "right". Again, I recall something Jane said in an interview: I think she said that she dislikes the term "linear" being used as a criticism, because a well-written story should have only one logical conclusion. The ending I got in Heavy Rain seemed the best possible one - but then, I know there are about 20(!) other possible conclusions...

Anyway, I want to clarify that I didn't mean to imply that only adventure games have strong plots - I enjoyed the story of, say, Neverwinter Nights - but I guess I haven't really seen stories outside of the adventure genre with the same level of depth and character development. On the other hand, I did actually stop playing NWN in the end because I found the gameplay a bit dull, so it does boil down to the question of "why do you play games at all?" I don't know what my own answer to that is. I guess it depends on the game.

Heavy Rain was certainly very gripping, all the way to the end. I'd love to hear what others here think of it. I'd love to hear what Jane thinks of it, for that matter, if she decides to play it.

(Edited by Tsolaelia at 8:53 pm on April 1, 2010)

Total Posts: 460 | Joined Sep. 2006 | Posted on: 10:52 am on April 1, 2010 | Link to this post
Bearic
Fear the banana! That or get me icecream. =]



While I haven't played the game (Don't own a PS3), I like heavy story lines and large character detail, but I don't care for interactive movie kinds of games, and their ilk usually. It really cuts me deep when a game is primary pretty cut scenes with fifteen minutes of play in between each other.

There's a lot of really good modules for NWN for free online too, which make replayability sky rocket. I really liked Maugester: Keys to the city, and a Dance with Rogues part one and two, although the two dances are a bit gritty and dark. There's also not very much puzzle to them, other than what you would expect from NWN. I really like them, though, because they reward different ways of playing, and support a lot of different plot directions. =]

Maugester only levels you up as you complete quests, and rewards differently than one might expect constantly ( Spoiler: for instance, helping a spirit just ends up with the spirit laughing at how he won a bet), and it's comedy vaule.

A Dance with Rogues pits you against foes much stronger than yourself most of the time, but rewards you much more for actually playing as a rogue. You get exp for picking locks and traps, and most missions are much easier if you can sneak past your enemies, or pick pocket the items you need from them.

I still prefer low end graphics, high story and replayability, or at least fun playability, than a pretty movie where you can change scenes every now and then. =]

(Edited by Bearic at 6:45 pm on April 3, 2010)

-----
"Rectitude carried to excess harden into stiffness; benevolence indulged beyond measure sinks into weakness."

Total Posts: 523 | Joined Sep. 2006 | Posted on: 10:43 pm on April 3, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



We're buying it tonight and I will let you know what I think of it. :smile:

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 12:42 am on April 4, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



So far, it's very very impressive. I stayed up until late because I didn't want to stop playing, and I can't wait to restart playing today after I'm done with social niceties.

I feel involved in the lives of the characters in a way I haven't before. The tiniest things become important because I want to make them all happy, and to do that you need to pay attention to their needs. It was interesting how a simple timed quest for a teddy bear (hopefully not much of a spoiler) held me breathless and anxious more than a horror survival game ever did. That's what I like the most about the game, how much I care. I replayed chapters only to "get it right" and get most of it.

Of course, I really like the mystery. I am obsessed with good mysteries, so putting the mystery second shows how important the first point was (the immersion). I'm very interested in the plot. It has all the elements I enjoy in a mystery.

The gameplay is perfect from the immersion standpoint. However, I hate certain sequences where you have to focus so much on pressing/holding various buttons that you can't even watch what happens. I could have done without those. No idea what they can be replaced with, but they should have been replaced or removed.

I appreciate the originality of the gameplay, how you're always doing new things, experiencing new interactions with the environment and new character states of mind. I like the various states of mind most.

It is a remarkable game in all respects.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 4:45 pm on April 4, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



And then there's such a thing as caring too much. I still like the game, though. If it can make me feel sympathy pains for an imaginary character it's very well made.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 6:39 pm on April 5, 2010 | Link to this post
Tsolaelia
White Matter



Quote: from Bearic on 8:43 am on April 4, 2010


I still prefer low end graphics, high story and replayability, or at least fun playability, than a pretty movie where you can change scenes every now and then. =]


I totally hear what you're saying - I loathe this obsession with graphics that plagues the industry - but I promise the game is a lot more than its chrome, and it's *very* interactive and non-linear.

Personally, I do tend to like interactive movies for their strong focus on story, but I like gameplay as well. It's tough to find a balance between the two, so I'll forgive a game for its terrible gameplay if the story is good and vice versa. The gameplay in Heavy Rain is excellent, but unusual and not really "game"-like.

Finished it yet, Krss? :smile: I identify very strongly with what you wrote. The story gripped me so tightly that felt like the most trivial of my decisions were of epic consequence, heh.

Quote: from Krss on 2:45 am on April 5, 2010

However, I hate certain sequences where you have to focus so much on pressing/holding various buttons that you can't even watch what happens. I could have done without those. No idea what they can be replaced with, but they should have been replaced or removed.


Ah, I can't say I agree with that. They were frustrating, yes, but they're supposed to be - because the character is frustrated or agitated. I liked that I was feeling what the character was feeling, and I was satisfied that I could see well enough what was going on (those scenes are only action sequences, after all, not pivotal plot points).

Total Posts: 460 | Joined Sep. 2006 | Posted on: 9:45 am on April 8, 2010 | Link to this post
 

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