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Old 03-20-2010, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default Heavy Rain is not an adventure game.

When I think of what makes an adventure game... I think in examples before I get to a definition...

I think of having stopped playing Sam and Max Hit the Road for about a month because I had absolutely no idea that you could find
Spoiler:
money
in some hard to see
Spoiler:
mouse hole
.

I think of spending a year just to figure out how to get all 1,000 points in Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail plus find all the Where's Waldo sausages and this is before I even knew the game had Easter eggs.

I think of clicking every inventory object I owned on every possible prop in Discworld II because I had no idea how the logic worked in that game.

And I think of sneaking a peek on a cheats and walkthrough CD or calling a game helpline whenever I was stuck in Larry 6 or The Dig because some of the puzzles proved too confusing for my prepubescent mind.

However, when I try to think what makes an adventure game - I do not think about timed button mashing. I just don't...

And what I also don't get is how Heavy Rain is reminding game reviewers from Destructoid, Gamespot and gamecritics.com, to name a few, of point-and-click adventures right before they go into detailing the game's plotholes or saying 'oh the intro is booooring, boohoo'. I do not see one challenge in Heavy Rain that relates to the 'adventure genre' and it is important to proclaim this...

The game is great, don't get me wrong - but I feel this is one of those things that's going to pain us to no end like the gaming magazines saying 'adventure is dead' - from now on they'll say 'Oh, Heavy Rain will revive/revived/failed to revive the adventure genre!'

So unless we're making tenuous links to the adventure genre, Heavy Rain is an 'interactive movie'. It is a sophisticated version of Dragon's Lair, Braindead 13, Mad Dog McCree or Time Gal. Phantasmagoria, Spycraft or Gabe Knight 2 were not interactive movies... There are no puzzles in Heavy Rain... or from the puzzles that are in the game, I feel that they are of little to no relevance. The
Spoiler:
orchid and origami in the hospital scene towards the end
is a no brainer and the investigations by Jayden don't change the way his story unfolds in any meaningful way. I would think adventure gamers would be offended to have the game reviewed on this website remembering the apprehension users had when the site considered reviewing Magna Cum Laude several years ago. Are we giving this game a pass because it's awesome? And if we do that - will it come back to bite us in the keister as the high end adventures move away from the core challenges they used to offer?

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:07 AM   #2
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Get ready to be pelted
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:30 AM   #3
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Where's Waldo sausages
Erm... I don't think that what they were.

(Also, I really don't want to get into this conversation, having already had my fill of similar arguments all those years ago when Fahrenheit was released, but I find it scary that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about adventure games is being stuck and frustrated. If that's really what adventure games are all about, no wonder nobody plays them anymore.)
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:56 AM   #4
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Get ready to be pelted
My opposition are probably tired of debating it... but I thought David Cage's reaction to the accusation I'm making was pretty hilarious: “No! We don’t make Dragon’s Lair! This is not Dragon’s Lair – do you think I’m crazy? I’m not stupid. Do you think I develop on PlayStation 3 to do Dragon’s Lair again? It would be absurd. Of course it’s not.”

lol - too strong of a reaction. I'm glad this game was better received than Final Fantasy XIII though... the Heavy Rain board on IMDB is very active.

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Old 03-21-2010, 02:20 AM   #5
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My opposition are probably tired of debating it...
Well then maybe you are right!
It is an interactive movie rather then an adventure game. Who could argue that?
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:25 AM   #6
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My opposition are probably tired of debating it... but I thought David Cage's reaction to the accusation I'm making was pretty hilarious: “No! We don’t make Dragon’s Lair! This is not Dragon’s Lair – do you think I’m crazy? I’m not stupid. Do you think I develop on PlayStation 3 to do Dragon’s Lair again? It would be absurd. Of course it’s not.”

lol - too strong of a reaction. I'm glad this game was better received than Final Fantasy XIII though... the Heavy Rain board on IMDB is very active.
Well, the original Dragon's Lair was inspired by Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure. It would probably have been more like those games, just with pretty still screens and animations, if they had managed to sell the original concept, but it was rewritten into an action game. Probably a wise move, as I doubt a slow paced adventure game on an arcade machine would have been a hit, at least with investors. After all, players dying often so they'll spend more money is pretty much a requirement.

I'd say Heavy Rain is pretty close to what they wanted to accomplish with Dragon's Lair, but couldn't because of limitations in technology and the arcade game as a medium. I don't see how that's a bad thing. Heavy Rain is probably as close as we've gotten to perfection of the interactive movie. As to whether or not it's an adventure game as well or not, I don't think it matters. It appeals to fans of a lot of different genres, like all good games should. Just a pity it's limited to one platform.

I also don't think there's any reason to worry that games like Heavy Rain are going to replace, or kill traditional adventure games. Indigo Prophecy sold a lot more than adventure games released at the same time, but I don't think anyone has copied it. It's just not a concept that is easy to copy without making another Dragon's Lair.
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:04 AM   #7
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Having not played it - I don't own a PS3 - I can agree with you that it is not an adventure game, at least in the sense we understand it. It is an interactive movie. But if one has to include interactive movie in one of the categories there are right now, of course it's adventure games. And that's why it's so understandable that people are talking about it as an adventure game.

However, I don't think it's such a problem to compare it to the adventure genre. I haven't actually been reading the articles, mind you (just one). However, since it focuses so heavily on one of the most prominent features of adventure games - story (and what's linked to it, like characters), I don't think it's bad that people are looking at it and saying that's where we should be heading.

Of course, that's only about the story, but I feel that that is mainly the point. I doubt that many are thinking like "ooh, reaction tests, now that's what I'm talking about". Of course, the opposite is very possible, but still I doubt that the thought then is that the game has failed the adventure genre. I doubt game designers are going to stop making more traditional AGs and just move to reaction tests. As was said above. Some will try to imitate, but this probably requires too much from the developers (as it requires such a strong story or else it's just a game without anything to really do).

the ideal is of course that people implement ideas and use the innovatively with other elements.

I have no idea what Dragon's Lair or such are, so can' comment there
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:02 AM   #8
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well, its hardly a game..
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:33 AM   #9
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There's a fine line between justifiable frustration aimed at adventure game puzzle designs that follow the credo of "what was the designer thinking?" and adventure games that challenge the player to deduce logical (or at least consistent within the fiction of the title) solutions to puzzles. Subjectively, it's easily definable - if you solve a puzzle and the first thought in your head is "Why didn't I think of that sooner?" then it was probably a good puzzle - for you, anyway. Problem is the highly variable nature of what people find an acceptable bracket of lateral thought.

But it doesn't even matter, because Heavy Rain contained no player-arrived solution moments (good or bad) at all. Even the largely irrelevant exploration scenes were an abstracted mini-game of 'stumble on the next trigger volume.' It would be difficult to argue that it had any intrinsic educational value at all apart from teaching you exactly where all your controller buttons are. It has more in common with whack-a-mole than an adventure game. I don't think the comparisons to Dragon's Lair are out of order at all.

I go on about this far too much. I just honestly feel like I had one pulled over on me when I played this game. The core mechanics and design are a holdover from twenty plus years ago. I don't think Cage's ethos of games aping cinema is innovative or enjoyable. I don't want to watch a game. There was no lateral thinking needed to complete the story, and arguably very little thinking of any kind required at all. The only question this game definitively answered for me was "How much can you polish a turd?"

Quite a bit, apparently.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:34 AM   #10
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well, its hardly a game..
I don't think you have even played it so your opinion is useless.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:34 AM   #11
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Well, yeah, Cage said it himself.

Haven't played it myself, but being a fan of Quantic Dream, I'm a bit disappointed in the direction they're heading gameplay-wise. After Fahrenheit (which I really enjoyed, despite all the glaring flaws) I hoped they'd find a way to implement some 'actual' adventure gameplay into their next 'interactive movie'.

I realize the whole point is to maintain the cinematic pace and all that, but taking-a-shower/dressing-up/juggling-some-balls/and-other-pointless-mundane-things combined with pushing buttons during action scenes... I'd take an 'outdated' Myst puzzle over that any time.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:06 AM   #12
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To determine whether it is an adventure game or not will come down to personl opinion and your own personal definitions.

Why are people so keen to pidgeon hole things in to neat little categories and get hot under the collor if something stretches the boundaries?

I would say that the comparisons to Dragon's Lair are lazy and only superficial. Dragon's Lair used a series of QTE's with only one possible path.If you choose the wrong option it was game over. The game played the exact same with every playthrough. In fact normal QTE's, that people keep saying this game has in spades, all have fail states like Dragon's Lair, this game doesn't. (I.e Fail to hit X and you die or have to start again. in Heavy Rain Fail to hit X and you get a different outcome and the story continues.)

Most of the controller movements in the game make sense in context and had it used the Playstation Move controller rather than a Dual Shock would have felt perfectly natural to strike a match by replicating the motion. It takes a little getting used to, but feels pretty natural very quickly.

If you want to compare the game to the official AG definition then Adventure Games are made up of 3 parts..

Narrative - Something this game has in abundance.

Exploration - Each scene has an area to explore to find new interaction, new ways to "play" the story. For example the store robbery. You can explore the store, walk up and down the aisles, hide in the back and let the guy die; talk the guy down until he leaves; sneak up and hit him with a bottle; Talk to him and then jump him or you can get shot and die yourself.

Puzzles - This one is the most obscure, but the definition states different type of puzzles. Inventory (Very limited in this game, but then so does Myst), Dialogue (There are dialogue trees with different outcomes), Environmental (This probably fits best in that altering the scenes and situations will have an effect on the ending), Non Contextual (none of these Mystish puzzles).

I think IMO it fits the definition as an series of dialogue and environmental puzzles strung together in a narrative that allows exploration of the narrative and it's surroundings to achieve one of the 22 seperate endings.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:12 AM   #13
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I think IMO it fits the definition as an series of dialogue and environmental puzzles strung together in a narrative that allows exploration of the narrative and it's surroundings to achieve one of the 22 seperate endings.
If Heavy Rain is going to be described as having adventure game puzzles then pretty much every game in existence can be described as having these kind of puzzles and there is nothing unique about adventure games at all.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:20 AM   #14
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(Also, I really don't want to get into this conversation, having already had my fill of similar arguments all those years ago when Fahrenheit was released, but I find it scary that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about adventure games is being stuck and frustrated. If that's really what adventure games are all about, no wonder nobody plays them anymore.)
That deserved to be bigger.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:29 AM   #15
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That deserved to be bigger.
Now you've done it. From now on every following post will use a bigger and bigger font to make its content seem more important.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:51 AM   #16
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I would say that the comparisons to Dragon's Lair are lazy and only superficial. Dragon's Lair used a series of QTE's with only one possible path.If you choose the wrong option it was game over. The game played the exact same with every playthrough. In fact normal QTE's, that people keep saying this game has in spades, all have fail states like Dragon's Lair, this game doesn't. (I.e Fail to hit X and you die or have to start again. in Heavy Rain Fail to hit X and you get a different outcome and the story continues.)
I definitely don't think this game is on the same level as Dragon's Lair - but do believe one was the precursor to the other no matter how apprehensive David Cage finds that notion. I think Heavy Rain is very revolutionary in its own way in terms of interaction (the implementation of the controls was amazing) and storytelling AS WELL as pushing QTE gameplay forward. I don't mean it as an insult even though that's been the big nitpick from the cynics - I love interactive movies, have been waiting forever until they got a good rap and surprised it took so long to take the genre to this really smart level. Quadratic should celebrate that - Heavy Rain is the type of game that will attract new gamers while still earning respect from the core gaming crowd.

In terms of the definitions, Little Big Adventure and Twinsen's Odyssey fit the description AdventureGamers provides as well and it's a shame they're considered ACTION-adventure exempting them from getting their own reviews here. However, this post was a reaction from the gaming journos saying Heavy Rain reminds them of the very specific category of point-and-click adventure titles. I didn't see that.

And Kurufinwe I don't find the old games THAT frustrating! I wish I had the time today that I did back in seventh grade to spend a year playing a game like Leisure Suit Larry 7. lol
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:53 AM   #17
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I do not see one challenge in Heavy Rain that relates to the 'adventure genre' and it is important to proclaim this...
What about...

Spoiler:
The part where you have to sneak upstairs to see the young, rich suspect as Shelby? Or how to get an audience with the nightclub owner as Madison? Or even how to get information from him successfully? There's lots of puzzles there that can be completed in different ways, or just not completed at all.


I think one of the main puzzle/adventure game aspects of Heavy Rain are the trophies. Doing things correctly, despite not being given a hint to the "correct" way, will earn you a trophy. One prime example would be the third trial Ethan goes through...

Spoiler:
There's a lot of different ways you can complete the third trial (cutting your finger off), but the best way involves disinfecting your finger, heating up the re-bar, using one of the sharpest tools, then cauterizing your wound with the red-hot re-bar. You don't have to do all this, but you get a trophy for doing so.


Man... I wanna play Heavy Rain again now!
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:03 AM   #18
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Whatever Heavy Rain it is in my opinion a great game and if it rekindles the love and thoughts of adventure games for some then hey, why not call it an adventure game for laymans to the genre.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:04 AM   #19
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Good points Berserker, I just wanted to add - another good game, which may by seen as a precursor to Heavy Rain is Kingdom: The Far Reaches.

It's the Interplay version of a laserdisc game called Thayer's Quest that plays like an interactive movie but does have adventure moments and an inventory! Cool game if you can find a copy.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:11 AM   #20
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Cool game if you can find a copy.
That shouldn't be too hard, judging from the link in the link you've linked to (or something like that).
Oy, wait, You probably meant Thayer's Quest. Reading comprehension failed in that case
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