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.
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.