Heavy Rain: Hands-on a Bust
Product: Heavy Rain
Company: SCEA
Date: 06/12/2009
Avaliable On:

I was excited. I couldn't wait to get my chance to play Heavy Rain, personally. Of course, Heavy Rain wasn't out on the main floor, but I had an appointment with Sony and would get to go "behind close doors" or, in this case, "to the second floor." I walked with my Sony rep past a couple of games, then stopped to play Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Well, instead of getting to play the game, I actually ended up getting a demonstration of it by a dev team member. I kept checking on Heavy Rain between testing out other things, but it was always in use when I checked on it. Finally, when I'd seen everything else I cared to see and Ashley was being shown God of War III, I checked on it to find that there was one system with Heavy Rain available. At first, I thought that some guy wearing jeans and a shirt was playing it, but upon closer inspection I saw that he was texting someone on his phone and the controller was just sitting there, waiting for me. I started to ask if he was playing, but I failed to get his attention and realized that if he was concentrating so intently on texting someone while sitting in front of an unused PS3 with Heavy Rain running, then he probably isn't playing it.

This was it... I was going to get to try it out. I stared at the menu screen for a minute. I had to choose either Norman Jayden or Madison Page. I mulled it over for a bit. I had seen Norman get right up to the end of his scene, then lose in the demonstration, watching the ex-con scrapyard worker force him under a slowly-moving crane. Then, in the process of checking to see if it was free, I saw someone else take Norman all the way through the fight scene, ending in him forcing the ex-con under his own slowly-moving crane (which, by the way, caused a large pool of blood that I hadn't seen when Norman bit it.) I had also seen Madison succeed in her scene. I hadn't seen her get naked, but that wouldn't be appropriate for an open show floor. However, I was quite intrigued by the design of the Blue Lagoon club, as they had these tables that were made of industrial elements I was familiar with, having glass table tops on top of them. And, as far as trying the lead-with-the-head-and-the-body-follows movement system and the thought system, I could check that out with either character, so I selected Madison's scene and hit start. The screen filled with her face as the scene began loading...

Right about then would be the point that Sony employees in front of me from across the room and began interrogating me... "Who are you? Are you press? Who are you with? Where is your guide?" Sony employee quickly (and very smoothly) grabbed the controller out of my hands, attempted to stop the game from loading, then threw open the cabinet and held the power button down to shut the PS3 off. I was, quite frankly, in shock. In my current condition, I found it very difficult to answer even the first few questions, much less what the name of my Sony guide was or where she was at the moment. I apologized for playing the game, apologized for being there and felt like apologizing for existing, as I slinked out of the seat, out of that area, and, very soon thereafter, out of Sony's booth, altogether. As I started to leave, a Sony employee who was dressed professionally (as opposed to the, what, "undercover" employee(?) who was wearing jeans and texting) didn't look me in the eyes as I past, but was, instead, trying to decipher my name badge. I left, fearing that I would somehow end up getting Ash kicked out of her God of War appointment.

It wasn't until later that I got over being apologetic and got angry. I had an appointment. I was supposed to be there. They never said that we couldn't get any hands-on time with Heavy Rain, only that it "wasn't available" each time we tried. I wasn't with my guide because I didn't know where she had gone. The employee at the Heavy Rain console wasn't dressed such that I would assume him to be a Sony employee and was too busy texting to notice me, even when I (admittedly, half-assedly) attempted to get his attention. I can see why they would get upset about Madison's scene, in retrospect, since it can get a bit racy, but I had no intention of even playing it long enough to get into that part. I merely wanted to check out the environment of the club and test the walking and thinking mechanics. But, then, they couldn't have known that, of course. Still, it seems that the whole situation was a failure on their part; I wasn't guilty of anything, let alone any sort of malice.

So, really, I got enough hands-on time with Heavy Rain to be able to report with a fair amount of certainty that Sony really didn't want anyone actually playing (at least Madison's scene of) Heavy Rain at E3 this year. Sorry, but that's all I got. If you haven't read it yet, you can get much more information about Heavy Rain, itself, from my article on the Heavy Rain "breakout session" at E3 2009.

Geck0 aka Robert Perkins

GameVortex PSIllustrated