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A gaggle of WTFs: Heavy Rain's story

Richard Naik's picture

Heavy Rain Screenshot

When I was writing my Heavy Rain review, there were a lot of specific things concerning the plot that I wanted to talk about, but couldn't due to the spoilerness. So those qualms are going to go here, safely hidden behind that big bold spoiler warning you see below. So, shall we?

[WARNING: THE REST OF THIS POST CONTAINS HEAVY RAIN SPOILERS]

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. I really, really did not buy Scott as the murderer

Nothing Scott does leading up to the reveal makes sense with him being the killer. Why is he "investigating" anything? Is he just taking stock of his victims? And why does he even consider taking Lauren with him? Is he just reveling in her pain? And why did he bother calling the police after he kills the antique shop owner? None of Scott's thoughts make sense with him being a cold-blooded murderer either. He's awfully concerned about Lauren's safety for the guy who drowned her son.

Granted, Scott is supposed to be crazy, but at least make it seem like he was taking stock of his work or something (in retrospect after the reveal) when he meets all the victims. Making Scott the killer just seemed like a really cheap way to work a totally unseen twist in. After the reveal my opinion of the game went waaaay down and continued to do so when these questions started popping up.

2. Why doesn't Ethan give the box to the police right away?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but did Ethan ever get a message with the box telling him to do everything alone? I never saw it, and nobody else that I asked about it did either. So why is Ethan dead set on completing all the trials alone? There's no apparent restriction on getting help. In my game, Ethan got caught after the lizard trial, and the whole time he was being interrogated I was yelling TELL THEM ABOUT THE BOX at the TV. Jayden could probably just use his scanner thing on it and find Shaun in like two hours.

Heavy Rain Screenshot

Hey Ethan! I found it! It's under the floorboard! You don't have to---HOLY SHIT

And if that didn't work, the police could just investigate all of the trial sites at the same time without having to do them in order, and since the video chips were all nearby they probably would've found them fairly quickly. They definitely could've found the one in the car in no time (how hard can it be to smash open a glove compartment?), and they could've just had the power plant shut down temporarily, so then we don't have to deal with all that transformer shit. Jayden could've found the third one in no time without anyone losing a finger or anything. I chickened out for the fourth trial where I was supposed to kill the drug dealer, but I imagine that one was close by too. And the on the last trial they could've looked at the "poison" and figured out that it wasn't poison at all, and even if they couldn't I only got one freaking letter for that anyway.

(pant....pant) So anyway, while I thought the individual trials themselves were well done for the most part, the setup for them was extremely weak.

3. Why is Madison in this game?

Madison's involvement in the plot never really sat well with me. She's the only main character with no real connection with the killer, and it almost feels like she's only in the game to have that stupid strip scene in the night club. For almost every single scene she has in the hotel with Ethan, I found myself asking, why is she still here? What does she care about some random guy that keeps getting injured? Why is there medicine in the bathroom of the hotel? Is it complimentary? Is this hotel meant for people on sadistic quests that they can't tell anyone about?

Honestly I felt that it would've been more appropriate if Madison had been replaced with Grace (Shaun's mother) since she's much more connected to Shaun's disappearance than Madison would ever be. On top of that, the ordeal of trying to find him would be a avenue for potentially rekindling their relationship, as opposed to the awkward, inexplicable infatuation Madison develops with Ethan. Speaking of Grace...

4. Where the hell is Grace during all of this?

I actually thought Grace was the killer for most of the game simply because of her conspicuous absence. She went through the same emotional trauma that Ethan did in regards to losing their kids, so if people suspect Ethan to be the killer then it would be natural for them to suspect her too, right? But instead she's just...gone. Even at the end (I got the "happy" ending where everyone survived) when Ethan saves Shaun she's still nowhere to be seen. I find kind of hard to believe that the kid's mom wouldn't insist on being involved with what was going on every step of the way, especially after losing one son just two years earlier. Hell, they were willing to throw Lauren into the mix, so why not Grace too?

5. What was up with the Origami in Ethan's hand after his blackouts?

The single most inexplicable thing in the whole game. This was something really central to the beginning when the game is trying to convince the player that Ethan is the killer, but I never saw an explanation. There's no way Scott could've known about Ethan's blackouts, right? So how did he keep ending up on that street with the Origami in his hand? He said himself that he doesn't know how to do origami, so where did it come from? I mean, we're talking Battlestar Galactica series finale level of plot hole here.

So there we have it. What we have here is a story driven game with a bad story, which is an instant recipe for disaster. This GamesRadar post does a great job of summing up a lot of the plot holes as well-probably better than my rantings at any rate. So, am I alone here? Were there explanations to all this stuff that I just missed? Let me know how dumb I am if there are.

Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3  
Developer(s): Quantic Dream  
Key Creator(s): David Cage  
Series: Heavy Rain  
Genre(s): Adventure/Explore  

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1 – As I’ve said before,

1 – As I’ve said before, it does seem like they where aiming for a multiple killers scenario. However, and I’ll be posting what I wrote on the forums, the Origami Killer could suffer from split personality, explaining his less natural and misleading thoughts. He’s on a personal trip, a fantasy world where his deranged superego tells him he is the good guy resolving a crime, when in fact he is just trying to recover all evidence of his criminal behavior. By fooling himself he also fools the player, and sometimes, he just snaps out of it.

2 – I imagine that having your kid kidnapped will lead to irrational panic. Ethan is suffering from blackouts, depression, desperate remorse and probably thinks that calling the police will not aid him with the trails. The killer could just slaughter Shaun by knowing that Ethan asked for “professional” help. This type of plot dynamics has been used recurrently in thrillers. Why demand for unquestionable plausibility here?

3 – Madison is a really intriguing character. Is she suffering from insomnia because she was robbed at home, explaining her nightmare? Was she following Shelby before, explaining the shocked response when she hears his name whispered by his mother? Independently of this, she’s in the game because she’s a journalist and this could help her achieve a best seller. The whole media is obsessed with the Origami Killer and here she has an opportunity to come as close as possible to him. The intimacy between her and Ethan is handled with a tasteful sense of progression and their romance is actually believable. As far as the strip scene, I find it a respectable example of the sexual power women have on men. She uses for it for her work. It’s not gratuitous. It’s an ambiguous mixture of power and humiliation.

4 – Because it is implicit that the relationship ended because of her. She is the first to blame Ethan and suggests to the police that he could be the killer. They don’t speak to each other and Ethan was the one being contacted by the Origami Killer. Why give her relevancy?

5 – A beautiful mystery to be solved. Maybe Shelby was following Ethan, putting the origami in his hand when he falls unconscious. Shelby is a fucked up character and could be torturing Ethan. Maybe he just wanted to blame Ethan for the murders and save himself. But isn’t best to have some doors opened? To keep thinking about it? To return to the mystery when we want?

I don’t want to sound rude or anything but I find this post not just late to the party (http://www.gamesradar.com/f/heavy-rains-big-plot-holes/a-20100224105436979020) but it also seems like a justification for the low score Richard gave to Heavy Rain (mind you, that I’m not disturbed by the rating whatsoever). Heavy Rain has flaws, sure, but it’s so good at dealing with pacing (goatart described this perfectly with his impression of bathrooms and windows), contemplative moments and emotions that I’m still saddened by the lack of forward thinking of some reviewers.

As for the controls, Richard, it nearly feels like a love letter to the adventure genre. To begin with, each character is controlled in a point and click fashion: you face them to where you want to go and press R2 to go forward - point and click. The tense action sequences reference what is arguably the first adventure game in the history of the medium: Dragon’s Lair. Lastly, each noir scene is rendered with such attention to detail and style that they remind us of the excitement we felt during the 90s, when solving a head-melting puzzle would introduce us to a new 2D frame begging to be explored – the purest definition of what a graphical adventure is.

@ckzatwork 1-Maybe, but

@ckzatwork

1-Maybe, but nothing like that is ever made apparent. The only clues we get into his motivations are his daddy problems. I'd be willing to accept split personality more so than the explanation they actually gave, but we never see any of that.

2-Again, it's possible that in his (Ethan's) state he wasn't thinking rationally enough to call the police, but I never saw any inkling of that. This whole problem could have been resolved by putting the line "don't call the police or Shaun dies" on the first note or having Ethan think "I can't call the cops-he'll kill Shaun". When a hole like that is so easy to fix it's simply inexcusable that it isn't.

3-Disagree completely. She has no real emotional connection to the story outside of Ethan, and her true reasons for staying involved (her book) are not made clear until well past the halfway point in the game. Up until then she's just an unusually interested passer by. Also, the number of scenes she has where she's being exploited in some way make me believe that they are the sole reason she is in the game, especially since she is not connected to the killer in any way.

4-That still doesn't explain why she wouldn't insist on being involved. And who says they couldn't gradually forgive each other? I'd still much rather see that than Madison just hanging around for (ostensibly, until Ethan finds out about the book) no reason.

5-In this case? No. The "beautiful mystery" concept just doesn't work with something that was central to the beginning of the game when they're desperately trying to convince the player than Ethan is the killer. We'd have to assume that Scott knew about Ethan's blackouts, and was using them to torment him well before he kidnapped Shaun. That's too big a leap for me to take.

I actually didn't read the GamesRadar post until after I was done with the review. I obviously wasn't going to talk about specific plot points, and I usually try to avoid any outside influence until after I've rendered my judgment.

The "R2 to move" thing just did not fly with me. If there was some way to use a mouse to move instead of the controller, I'd be all for it, but I just don't see any reason why I just can't move with the joystick. Point-and-click is called that for a reason, and without the ability to point and click on things the mechanic should not be used.

I do like some of the things Heavy Rain did. You're right-the composition of some of the scenes was really well done, but that is nowhere near enough to earn the "great game" label in the face of such shoddy controls and writing. As I've said before, some people might be able to look past those things, but I can't.

Richard, Even Lauren

Richard,

Even Lauren understood his motivations :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw-hHjJYKOA

The (Not so) Beautiful Mystery

I'm not sure if you guys have seen it but Joystiq interviews David Cage and asked about a lot of the plot holes. Thought you guys would be interested in Cage's own response to Ethan waking up with an Origami in his hand. (The full interview is at http://www.joystiq.com/2010/03/19/interview-spoiling-heavy-rain-with-david-cage/)

***

JOYSTIQ: How about the Origami figure in Ethan's hand when he wakes up? I can't explain that.

Daivd Cage: I can. [laughs]

J: Would you like to explain it to me?

Cage: Uh ... no.

J: ... Okay.

Cage: Actually, no, because this is what Hitchcock calls a MacGuffin. He said a very interesting rule is that you can only have one MacGuffin in a story. A MacGuffin is something that is not explained. And one is okay -- if you have three, then that story doesn't make any sense. But if you have something where you leave the audience space to, you know, try to understand and make up their own answers for that, that's fine. And I thought that worked in the context of Heavy Rain, not to explain but have people figure it out.

J: Okay.

Cage: [laughs] I don't know if you're happy with this answer.

***

What do you guys think? Personally I remain unconvinced.

@Lazaro Cruz Yeah, I can't

@Lazaro Cruz

Yeah, I can't say I buy that. Having an aura of mystery around something can work great (see: Shepard Book in Firefly) but here it's just like "...wha?"

Honestly, I'm beginning to

Honestly, I'm beginning to think that a conventional game reviewer is not the most competent person to evaluate a title like HR. A cinema or music one will have a better understanding of the nuances related to interpretation and composition. We need interdisciplinary knowledge here.

hmmm

eh, was gonna write something a lot longer again...but I'll just say that it baffles me that the deal breaker for you with points 1 and 2 are that no hint/explanation is given, as if you aren't willing to give any credit to the events that occur unless every little thing is explained.

Is it really impossible to make the leap (which the best films demand of us) that Ethan wouldn't want to involve the cops out of fear of the situation, and that this wouldn't have to be written in bold letters by the killer JUST to narratively justify why he doesn't? I'm pretty sure that in real life ransom situations it is ALWAYS best to notify the authorities, even if the killer instructs you not to, right? So if the killer had told him not to tell the cops, I would've been even more baffled if he didn't (joke).

Anyway, there I go trying to "explain" the plot. That is the LAST thing I afford my students after I screen films. Sometimes explanations explain too much...by not affording the freedom of potentiality.

The best answer is another question. An answer is nothing but a limit. And limits are so boring.

then again, different strokes for different folks, whatever rocks you boat, that whole shibang haha.

goatart wrote: Is it really

goatart wrote:

Is it really impossible to make the leap (which the best films demand of us) that Ethan wouldn't want to involve the cops out of fear of the situation, and that this wouldn't have to be written in bold letters by the killer JUST to narratively justify why he doesn't?

In my view, yes it is. Especially considering that narratively justifying it would have been so easy. One thought or one line of text and the problem is completely solved.

Had this been the only leap or one of few leaps I could have dealt with it. However, there are so many of them that it just becomes too much and they ultimately bring the game down on itself.

oh i understand

oh i know richard, the question wasn't so much directed at you as me just venting.

That's the beauty of everything. It's make or break for you, where as for me when it comes to art/entertainment I'd rather leap all day than walk across a conveniently built bridge.

Story, narrative justification, stuff doesn't matter to me. I was raised on Bunuel and Tzara.

It seems to me videogames are the perfect medium for completely fucking with our notions of "story," since their ability to tell the conventional story is never gonna be on par with film/literature/poetry/theatre, etc...and even if it could be, why would it want to (since the other mediums have already delved into a self awareness of the exhausted story telling method--like, 50-100 years ago no less--, you'd think video games would skip the learning process and dive right into innovation, establishing itself as a medium in its own right...but alas)?

Agh, I'm ranting because that really has nothing to do with Heavy Rain (it does tho!). Anyway, I'll stop.

MacGuffin

Cage's responses are really fascinating. I think the one incorrect way to read them is that he is covering his ass. Cage knew this story backwards to front, and he is one of the most self-deprecating game developers I've ever seen interviewed. If he forgot to explain the figures, or if he failed to, he would admit it.

That it was a conscious choice to not explain, to create potentiality and draw our curiosity, is, I think, a great microcosm on his approach to Heavy Rain. The game notably avoids massive exposition. The gravedigger and Mrs. Shepherd reveal some backstory, but even they do so vaguely and realistically. Heavy Rain challenges us to think.

The problems your having, Richard, which I tried to resolve some days ago, and you seem resolute in having, seem a bit single-minded. You justify them with your reading, and, probably, playing of the characters, which is ironic. Your personal understanding of them, and of nebulous concepts like "what a serial killer is like," inform your critique. That seems to indicate that you did invest yourself quite a bit into this world, something which few below average games should be able to accomplish. All your rhetorical questions are not rhetorical. People here, and elsewhere, can and will answer them, as did Cage in the linked interview. I think those answers are valid.

All of this is not about challenging score. For you, Heavy Rain is a 4, and it fits all the problems you describe here and in your review. You ask for responses in this piece, and I appreciate that. But, when you get them (or got them a week ago), you seem unable to recognize that different valid interpretations are possible. The game not working for you is irrefutable. The game having a bad story, bad gameplay, or bad characters absolutely is.

Andrew wrote: All your

Andrew wrote:

All your rhetorical questions are not rhetorical. People here, and elsewhere, can and will answer them, as did Cage in the linked interview.

I didn't intend for any of those questions to be purely rhetorical. I was asking if anyone else had seen something that refuted anything I had a problem with. I did get a lot of answers, and for that I'm grateful, but I didn't see anything that would cause me to write off any of those points.

Andrew wrote:

That it was a conscious choice to not explain, to create potentiality and draw our curiosity, is, I think, a great microcosm on his approach to Heavy Rain. The game notably avoids massive exposition. The gravedigger and Mrs. Shepherd reveal some backstory, but even they do so vaguely and realistically. Heavy Rain challenges us to think.

I disagree. I don't think that works in a murder mystery simply because so much is riding on exposition. The ending needs to wrap all the loose ends of who, what, where, and why before everything comes to a close. The "beautiful mystery" concept that czk mentioned just does not work when it's something so central to the story as Ethan's Origami. Some better examples of this (in my view) would be the monsters in Pan's Labyrinth or Hobbes in Calvin & Hobbes, where the viewer/reader is left wondering if they are real or imaginary.

And I have no problem with differing interpretations-I would just reject all the comments on this and the review if I did :P

Perhaps THINKING about Heavy

Perhaps THINKING about Heavy Rain is a problem in itself. It's a misery simulator, pretending to be a mystery. It's pretending because it can't handle the scripting problems it creates. It's lazy story design with lazy game design. It's a lazy critique to call it art, and imply people are too stupid to understand it if they don't like it. A bad game can have moments that are unique as entertainment, it's not hard. The Metal Gear games have been doing these "breaking the fourth wall" gimmicks for ages, it doesn't make it art. Why is it so unnerving to cut off Ethan's finger- because YOU're doing it, and you have no choice. That's unique. A no-win situation... but all videogames ARE is situations where you're lulled into thinking you're controlling a situation, but really aren't. In ANY game, everything has been taken into account by the designers to fool you into thinking you're acting freely. Heavy Rain fools you by not giving you it's story 'rules'. You get them when you finish the game. In story writing that's a cheat, and you don't create a compelling narrative by cheating the audience.

Anyway, people can blow hot & cold all day about Heavy Rain. I personally decline to call it a game.

RandomRob wrote: Anyway,

RandomRob wrote:

Anyway, people can blow hot & cold all day about Heavy Rain. I personally decline to call it a game.

Yeah, that's where i am undecided on HR despite of how much i liked it. Still thinking about this a lot.

On the subject of Madison

While I have not played Heavy Rain (once The Last Guardian finally forced me to buy a PS3, I'll grab it) I will note this: Consider the treatment of Carla Valenti in Farenheit. She gets a nude shower scene, and is forced into a really uncomfortable and implausible romance with Lucas.

David Cage has a history of wanting to get hot naked chicks in his games, and a history of having a tin ear for romance stories.

Just sayin'.

well

I have read an interview with David saying all the characters have deep back story that he wrote that go way before the game begins so the characters definitely have motivation, whether he shows it or not.

He also said indirectly that things could not be changed due to the voice recording, acting and motion capture all being done and even if they noticed say the 5 points you mentioned there was no way they could afford to rewrite the game, get new motion capture and so on.

An author of a film screenplay has a luxury that maybe David Cage did not, one of them being not having a different outcome based on every action in the game.

I think your words on Heavy rain being most definitely true, although i found them quite easy to overlook as they did not ruin my experience in any way, nor affect the core ideas in the game, but that's just me. Although i can see how the plot holes can annoy people, as in film i would usually have the same reaction. I am not sure why, but in this game they did not bother me.

yeah, I remember upon

yeah, I remember upon watching 2001: A Space Odyssey I really wished they had explained the obelisks completely... removed the ability to question it and totally spoon fed the plot...

2001 gets confused with

2001 gets confused with 'art' alot. But there's no hidden meanings in it. The Monolith accelerates evolution. Dave Bowman's journey is of the ideal human who will battle the thinking machine (ie-the ultimate of tool-using man's creations, the golem) to reach the Monolith and evolve.

The story is self-consistent with it's own logic. There's no weird loose ends in it or characters who violate their own motivations.

RandomRob wrote: Perhaps

RandomRob wrote:

Perhaps THINKING about Heavy Rain is a problem in itself. It's a misery simulator, pretending to be a mystery. It's pretending because it can't handle the scripting problems it creates. It's lazy story design with lazy game design. It's a lazy critique to call it art, and imply people are too stupid to understand it if they don't like it. A bad game can have moments that are unique as entertainment, it's not hard. The Metal Gear games have been doing these "breaking the fourth wall" gimmicks for ages, it doesn't make it art. Why is it so unnerving to cut off Ethan's finger- because YOU're doing it, and you have no choice. That's unique. A no-win situation... but all videogames ARE is situations where you're lulled into thinking you're controlling a situation, but really aren't. In ANY game, everything has been taken into account by the designers to fool you into thinking you're acting freely. Heavy Rain fools you by not giving you it's story 'rules'. You get them when you finish the game. In story writing that's a cheat, and you don't create a compelling narrative by cheating the audience.

Anyway, people can blow hot & cold all day about Heavy Rain. I personally decline to call it a game.

Oh come now. I don't see anyone calling stupid those who do not like the game. Nor do I think it's fair for a distinct choice to be called lazy. It may not have worked for you, but that doesn't make it lazy.

Bringing the "art" debate in here may just push us to a place we don't want to go. Personally, I don't think there is some universal definition of art. If it's art to you, then it's art to you. No need to go much further than that. That I found Heavy Rain to be emotionally affecting and moralistically engaging--in story and gameplay--does not make it or not make it art to me. As a creation of a sensory sort, any game can be or contain art for me, no matter how dumb or intellectual it is.

That being said, the question of cheating in storytelling is interesting. Is it cheating the audience in Uncharted or God of War to force them along one, unchanging path? Or is it worse to give the illusion of choice, as you think Heavy Rain does, and allow us to realize the illusion? In a created, designed piece of interactive media, even in pure proceduralism, there is a set of rules, as you said, that create a boundary of possibility. At no point does Heavy Rain tell you that you can make the story do whatever you want. David Cage's descriptions are not a part of the art, if we approach the story from a formalist perspective. No story really gives you its rules; you just assume them, and, in many linear games, you're used to being right. This isn't cheating. It's just something different that doesn't fit the usual assumptions.

So would you recommend a

So would you recommend a person throw down 50$ to play it once?

Yes, I would recommend throwing down $50!

RandomRob wrote:

So would you recommend a person throw down 50$ to play it once?

No, I would recommend them to throw down $50 to play it several times and read it several ways. However from the earlier post you made,

RandomRob wrote:

Why is it so unnerving to cut off Ethan's finger- because YOU're doing it, and you have no choice. That's unique. A no-win situation... but all videogames ARE is situations where you're lulled into thinking you're controlling a situation, but really aren't.

... I can see that you have only played the game once, or at the very least have only played it through one way. That is because you can actually chose to not cut off Ethan's finger, the result being you don't get the clue for that section and can't replay it. Instead you have to move on and hope that you gather enough evidence from the other challenges to find the boy's location.

Worth thinking about?

D

whoa

although that reading of 2001 is valid, to think that the film could be summed up in three sentences is absurd.

And while I understand that there are no "loose" ends in terms of the logic it presents, it is pretty clear (ha) that 2001 is far from clear cut...In terms of HR, numerous commenters here have provided reasonable readings that demonstrate there are no loose ends in it either (or that its loose ends work toward the game's logic).

That you don't agree is one thing, but to "state" what 2001 is as if absolutely no ambiguity exists (or that somehow it shouldn't contain any ambiguity--your post reads as if any hint of ambiguity would somehow be detrimental to it as art, or product, or whatever) is a little much.

You then shift the question more directly to "is the game worth $50" which, while I understand that answering this question is the true objective of a review...what I find fascinating about this site is that often case this doesn't feel like the overall goal...and it certainly hasn't been the goal of the comments being made regarding this post...

I played it through twice,

I played it through twice, and cutting off or not cutting off the finger made no difference. And that wasn't the only 'choice' that had no impact on the story. Like I said earlier, I don't consider Heavy Rain a 'game'. It's a misery simulator. I don't think it's worth anything more than a rental. Try to understand, I loved Indigo Prophecy, and wanted to love this game, and bought the hype, but everything fell apart after I played it once.

goatart wrote: You then

goatart wrote:

You then shift the question more directly to "is the game worth $50" which, while I understand that answering this question is the true objective of a review...what I find fascinating about this site is that often case this doesn't feel like the overall goal...and it certainly hasn't been the goal of the comments being made regarding this post...

While this comment wasn't directed at me, I will say that for the game review philosophy of the site is not to say whether or not a game is worth your time or x amount of money. On our About Us page, in the first of several points, we state: "Game criticism is about elevating the appreciation and understanding of video games."

this is why i like the

this is why i like the site...should of put true objective in quotations.

RandomRob wrote: 2001 gets

RandomRob wrote:

2001 gets confused with 'art' alot. But there's no hidden meanings in it. The Monolith accelerates evolution. Dave Bowman's journey is of the ideal human who will battle the thinking machine (ie-the ultimate of tool-using man's creations, the golem) to reach the Monolith and evolve.

The story is self-consistent with it's own logic. There's no weird loose ends in it or characters who violate their own motivations.

just because something has hidden meaning or not doesn't mean it's not art.

art is anything created by man and the techniques he use to create it.

I brought up the 50$

I brought up the 50$ question to illustrate that Quantic Dream shortchanged me on this game. I can tolerate loose ends and Lars Von Trier subtexts all day, provided the game offers me more than one ending. And yes, I know there are multiple endings, but they're fragments of an incomplete whole. The whole games is made of fragments of an incomplete whole. With only one murderer possible, it should not have been a big deal to tie up the loose ends. You can call loose ends and bad writing art.

And I can sum up 2001 in 3 sentences. I've watched it backwards and forwards, loved it, hated, loved it again. It's not a deep movie. People don't feel comfortable with the ambiguous nature of the monolith, the long takes, the crushed emotions. But taken as a piece of film from it's time, it's meant as cinema verite of the human journey to find god, or what passes for god, and showing off (presumably to the USSR) a great deal of pride in the technological achievements of the US space program. It was a box office bomb. The only reason it gained popularity was because college students started watching it on LSD, and it gained cult status.

Anyway, I thought bringing up 2001 as an example of acceptable ambiguity in a narrative to support the clumsiness of Heavy Rain's story a pretty weak comparison.

I think Richard's comments about the game are fair. Fairer than mine anyway. I felt cheated after having such high hopes. That's all I've got to say about it.

agree that it's not the best

agree that it's not the best comparison to HR.

But speaking about 2001 alone, it's wild that the film seems so cut and dry to you, or that you're convinced that it being cut and dry to you somehow seems to mean that it can't be cut and dry in a completely different way to someone else.

While it can be read as how you put it a critique/analysis of the technological tennis match the US was having with the USSR at the time (cinema verite is a pretty problematic term regarding 2001, not sure what definition of it you are using, but an explanation of that would be enjoyed and appreciated)...this cannot be the only interpretation. Therein lies the ambiguity I love about it (I went thru the same love/hate relationship with it and Kubrick by the way).

and while its popularity was instigated by tripping students, it's definitely come to be regarded as a staple of cinema art. I'm sure you know this...not really sure why I'm pointing it out...

Interpretation by nature must be multiplicitous. I personally think 2001 is a deep movie, but then again, I don't really know what deep means. Everything is potentially deep. And Richard's comments are more than fair, but discourse is still fun! Yay to conversation

Sorry, but you are incorrect.

RandomRob wrote:

I played it through twice, and cutting off or not cutting off the finger made no difference. And that wasn't the only 'choice' that had no impact on the story.

Sorry, but you are just flat our wrong. There is a difference in how the game can end depending on what you do in that challenge, AND in relation to its other challenges. It impacts whether Ethan ends up finding the end location.

Please understand I am not disputing your enjoyment of the game ("misery simulator"), or weather you felt you were "short changed". I am merely disputing your claim that the challenges have no consequences to the characters or to their paths towards multiple destinations. They do.

D

hrmm

There is nothing abstract about heavy rain aside from Nathan's maybe dream sequence and some unclear motivations.

I would say you are confusing ambiguity with plot holes which were unable to be fixed due to the being far into production. It happens with story driven games.

p.s. 2001 was actually a large box office success when it was first released in cinemas. That is a fact, well before it gained cult status.

Trial 4

I didn't chicken out on the fourth trial, I shot him. I felt bad but I was immersed and determined. Yet, when I finished the game I got the good ending... and no one ever arrested Ethan for murdering someone?! How did nobody find out about that?! Did Ethan plead self defense or something? What's going on in this universe?

I'm also curious if anyone can tell me why Scott let Ethan drink fake poison but then was about to shoot him when his back was turned.

There's no poison that will

There's no poison that will kill you in precisely 60 minutes. Though Ethan didn't know it, it had to be a dud. For Scott, the poison was a symbol: would Ethan sacrifice himself to save his son? After Ethan proved himself, Scott was going to shoot him, almost certainly let Shaun drown, and disappear. That part made sense to me. The only way it could've made more sense is if Shelby had shot him in the front of the head, point-blank, to make it look forensically like suicide.

As for your first point, I do agree, it's disappointing there were no rammifications for murdering the guy. (I chose not to.) However from a legal point of view, there's no reason why anyone would've found out Ethan did it. Were there witnesses? Prints or DNA evidence they could actually link back to him? I doubt it; it would've looked like a random, drug-related shooting.

For me, the most gaping plot hole is the origami figure in Ethan's hand.

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