Rain - PS3 Review
Announced over a year ago alongside Puppeteer, Rain is yet another SCE Studio Japan title that promised to offer something unique, something different and possibly something special. After playing through the game we can say that it certainly has its charms, and looks quite stunning in places, but we're not sure that it will be remembered long into the future.
|Rain has some stunningly gorgeous visuals.|
In his bedroom, sick with a fever, a boy peers out from his window at the pouring rain, wishing his illness had not stopped him visiting the circus with his family. As he stares out into the dark, wet night, something – or is it someone – catches his eye; a young girl runs past, stopping just long enough for their eyes to meet. But something's wrong; the girl is barely visible, outlined only by the rain that falls around her. And what's more, something is chasing her...
As the boy looks on, a sinister creature comes into view, a dark shadow made visible only by the rain that runs off its terrifying body. As the beast pursues the girl, the boy decides he can't sit back and leave her to whatever terrible fate the creature has planned and dashes out into the rain-soaked street. As he crosses the threshold, something unexpected happens – he too disappears from view, made invisible except for his outline in the downpour and his feet splashing in puddles. Now, to find some answers in this mysterious night, he must find the girl and stop the monsters that are stalking them...
|The mysterious girl crying in the rain.|
Rain is essentially a third person adventure/puzzle game with a pretty limited story and number of enemies. Actually, the story detailed above is probably more detailed then what you will get from the entire game. There are no detailed cut-scenes, no answers to what is going on, no answers as to why you are invisible, and very limited communication with the small girl. It's pretty much the exact opposite of very Metal Gear Solid title. Still, the levels are varied, and the environments often stunning to look at.
Where this game falls down is the simplicity in the gameplay. The first hour or so of the game will see you simply going from one location to another, following a mysterious girl and avoiding a couple of enemies - there really aren't even any puzzles requiring thought. When you do finally catch up with her the game has a feel not too dissimilar to ICO with the two main characters working together to solve puzzles and continue on their quest to find answers.
|Cut-scenes are brief, but watchable.|
The problem is that the gameplay never evolves much beyond what is seen in the first hour with the only issue being determining what to do next before the enemy catches you and with a 3-4 hour game (depening on how many times you die) there's not much time for it to ramp up either (which it does towards the end). On many occasions I missed a crawlspace only to be killed and have to restart the section. Fortunately you can press Select to get a hint, and the checkpoints in the game are quite generous and frequent so you won't backtrack too far - in fact quite often they will be mid-chase.
We also have to say that there was a bit of a missed opportunity here for the developers. It would have been brilliant to play the game has the little girl to see her side of the story, and then even better if a co-op mode had been included, either for online or offline play. Sure, it would have required some adjustment of the levels, but it would have added to the game significantly.
|It's possible to walk under these enemies and stay out of the rain.|
Naturally this game is often, well, wet-looking and the developers have really nailed the tone of the game perfectly. Actually this is a very impressive, often charming, looking game which aims for artistic style over polygon pushing power. As you would have seen from the surrounding screenshots Rain does contain a variety of environments from city streets (while a location is never detailed, the streets of Paris seem like a good bet), to a carnival, to a church, and many more. These environments are superbly detailed, and its a shame you can't pan the camera around or zoom in or out for a closer look - or indeed just stop to take in the beauty with enemies closing in.
Perhaps surprisingly it's the audio that comes across as the strongest aspect of this game with a delightful score which changes to keep pace with the game - suitably up-tempo when you are being chased, but rather more melodic during the quieter moments or when the two children are interacting. The story is told by text that pops up throughout the levels with no dialogue during the game while the audio effects, besides being predominantly sounding wet, revolve around the enemies but remains minimal.
|This is about as colourful as Rain gets!|
Ultimately Rain is a disappointment. Sure it's unique, and not terrible value at $18.45 on the Playstation Store, but it never really hits a stride beyond following a girl, escaping from monsters, or moving around an object or two. Perhaps with a little more fleshing out of the story, more refined gameplay and a less linear path this could have been something special. As it is, Rain has left us a little deflated and wanting. Perhaps worth picking up if it goes on sale one day.
Review By: Dave Warner
Talk about Rain in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||While Rain never pushes the PS3, it is an artistically gorgeous title.||80%|
|SOUND||Music is a highlight in an otherwise pretty barren game sonically.||55%|
|GAMEPLAY||It's basic puzzle solving, pretty repetitive, and overall somewhat disappointing too.||65%|
|VALUE||It's not a long game, and at almost $AU20 it's a little over priced for what you get. Still, might be worth picking up on sale.||70%|
|OVERALL||Rain isn't the great game we hoped for, but those that enjoyed titles like ICO might want to check it out and should get some enjoyment out of the gorgeous artistry and atmosphere.||70%|