No doubt Heavy Rain is a polarizing game. It’s been out for only a few days, but already the internet is abuzz with everyone’s thoughts on this highly anticipated game from Quantic Dream. I’ve only just picked up the game myself so I’m only a couple of hours in, however I’ve already gotten passed one part that many have complained about: the introduction sequence.


The game begins by introducing the player to Ethan Mars. He’s just waking up and waiting for his wife and kids to arrive home. Upon getting out of bed, Ethan thinks to himself that he should shower before his family arrives home. At this point, the player gains control over Ethan and can begin exploring the room. Ethan can check his closet, look at a wedding photo, check on the pet bird and even use the restroom! Up to this point, the actions have been basic button presses and flips of the right joystick. After showering though, Ethan then needs to shave and brush his teeth. Shaving is accomplished by slowly moving the right analog stick in the directions indicated. Yes, this amounts to nothing more than pressing up or down on the stick, just slower than usual. In order to brush his teeth, the player must use the Sixaxis motion control by moving the controller up and down or left and right to simulate the brushing motions. After getting dressed and killing a bit more time, Ethan’s family arrives home. Grace, Ethan’s wife, is carrying quite a few groceries. Being the solid husband that he is, Ethan gives Grace a hand with the grocery bags. This involves holding multiple buttons down at the same and keeping them held down for a brief length of time. When done correctly, Ethan grabs the three bags from his wife’s arms, gives her a quick kiss, and then proceeds to set the groceries down on the counter.

The problem that many people seem to be having with this introduction scene is that it’s slow and doesn’t seem to have much to do with the overall plot of the game. It truly is nothing more than a tutorial sequence. It seems odd to me that most of the people I’ve seen complain about this segment of the game are the very same people that complain when tutorial sequences are nothing more than instruction sections on what each button does. It seems strange to me that there seems to be no middle ground for these people when it comes to getting acclimated to the controls of a new game. If the developers go the uncreative but quick to the point route of teaching the player what each button does, people complain that it takes away from the experience. Then, when a developer tries to keep the game immersive by working tutorial stuff into the game, people complain that it takes too long to deliver the control scheme to the player. For me, I’d much prefer the latter in nearly every case, and for games that are completely about the immersion, I’ll take the slow introduction any day.

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