Release: April 1, 2010
Developer: Quantic Dream
Available Platforms: PS3 via PSN
ESRB Rating: Mature
Please note: This review does contain spoilers. It’s hard to talk about Heavy Rain without talking about the plot involved. I’ve done my best to separate the spoilers from the thoughts/gameplay discussion but, since Heavy Rain is a story based experience with QTE’s mixed in, most of the discussion is on the events that play out in this chapter.
When you complete your first play-through of Heavy Rain, your immediate thought might be to restart the game and see if you can get a different outcome. However, the man behind Heavy Rain, David Cage, recommends only playing the game once to embrace the experience you just played. So what should you do then? Slated to be available in the months after Heavy Rain’s release are four new chapters not included in the main game. Titled “The Heavy Rain Chronicles”, these four chapters will provide additional content for each of the four playable main characters. The first of these chapters, “The Taxidermist“, is available now giving players the ability to investigate a suspect for the Origami Killer by the female lead, Madison Paige.
As previously mentioned, the first DLC (Downloadable Content) chapter consists of Madison Paige visiting a Taxidermist who she suspects is the Origami Killer.
*** SMALL SPOILER ALERT (detailing the intro and outside of the house)***
Madison arrives at the house of the Taxidermist, Leland White, to question him and have a look around. However, to make the chapter exciting and provide gameplay, Leland is not home. As you’d expect from a reporter, Madison really wants this story so she has a look around for a way in the house. At the back of the house, a window is open. Curious as Madison is, she decides to go inside, have a little look around, and then leave.
***MEDIUM SPOILER ALERT (detailing items/locations in the house)***
This is when most of the familiar gameplay elements come in. Madison must move objects to reach the window and many quick time button presses. Upon entering the house from the kitchen window, you are greeted with many arrows to open cupboards and drawers for any clues. Moving from the kitchen you will notice many stuffed animals. At times, objects will fall and require very quick thinking to stop them from hitting the floor and breaking. Next you’ll head upstairs and notice many things you will need to remember or be careful of later on. Few rooms are available to look through but reaching the two rooms at the end of the hall is quite a chilling and disgusting point to reach. I know this is a spoiler section, but I won’t go into detail here. Basically Leland is a very sick and perverted man; he’s not the Origami Killer, but a killer nonetheless. When you have seen enough and decide to leave, the most obvious thing happens; Leland comes back home with you stuck upstairs. Depending on your actions, this will trigger an intense and successful escape, a short lived death experience, or a suspenseful and safe escape.
***END OF SPOILERS***
The best thing about this DLC chapter is the intense and suspenseful experience you have; it’s quite exciting. Depending on your play-through, you can have a really intense experience, or you can have a suspenseful, but for the most part, safe experience. Some actions you complete early on will affect your outcome in the end. When you complete one play-through you are encouraged to play again; you can start from one of three previously played points and change the outcome from that point. I tried starting over from the middle option which is when ***SPOILER*** Leland comes back home. I tried doing the same thing from my first play-through but the events don’t play out the same; instead of Leland going to the room across from me, he enters the room I am in. ***END SPOILER*** All of the familiar controls and quick time events are available – from rapidly tapping buttons, to quick thinking and holding multiple buttons. It also seems the voice over, lip syncing, and cut-scene camera shots were improved from the main game.
Although the main thing about this DLC is the plot and the intense experience you have while playing, I noticed many things I disliked. First off, this content is really short. During my first play-through, I took my time and tried to look at everything. A small mistake at the beginning triggered an intense experience later on, but the experience was over before you really felt involved. I’d say you could probably complete this chapter within 15-30 minutes to an hour. The content encourages multiple play-throughs but, after my first and very successful play-through, I felt satisfied; I didn’t feel the need to try it again. Upon completion, a list provides a brief idea of what the other outcomes could be so, for the sake of seeing which one I could get, I tried again and ended up dying.
My Final Thoughts:
Overall I found the DLC to be a great and intense addition to the Heavy Rain experience. Although short, there are many different ways you could play the chapter and it provides an easy way of doing this. It provides the creepy and intense experience felt when watching a short suspense film or TV show. It also seems to provide improvements from things that appeared weak or rushed in the main game. For $4.99, a decision to purchase this DLC is tough to make. For those who were lucky enough to have a download code included in their copy of the game, you had a good deal. Here’s hoping the next few chapters provide a longer and much more enjoyable experience than the first. Not to say the first wasn’t great, but it was way too short.