Details on how the game controls.
Quantic Dream's David Cage walked us through a Heavy Rain demo at Games Convention last week, giving us a taste of how the game actually plays. While much of the presentation touched on facets of Heavy Rain's "rubber band" storyline and little things, like motion captured eye movement, Cage paused often to talk up the PlayStation 3 game's control scheme.
We've already written about the driving game inspired character control -- the R2 button moves her forward, with the left analog steering her head and shoulders -- so let's focus on how everything else is done.
After discussing how the character walks, Cage showed us how to interact with objects. Outside of the residence that the protagonist was investigating were a pair of metal trashcans and a mailbox. Both could be opened with the right analog stick, using forward and back motions that translated to on-screen movement. Pulling back on the stick fully opened the mailbox door fully, pushing it forward closed it. You may have seen this interactivity showcased in the game's Games Convention trailer, with the character opening a refrigerator with a sweeping arc of the right analog stick.
Heading up to the house's front door, a context sensitive control scheme appeared in the bottom right corner, giving us two options — knock or ring the doorbell. Both could done repeatedly, with a side to side motion of the right stick.
Following that, another context sensitive control option became available, letting the player call out to whomever might be inside. This was done with SIXAXIS control, giving us three dialogue options. This could be done in concert with the knocking/doorbell-ringing for maximum annoyance to whomever might be at home.
As the character walked around the house's right side, we encountered a barrel. It wasn't of the exploding type, just a regular, non-combustible barrel that Cage wanted to use as a step. Pushing the object over with the square button, his controlling assistant pushed it forward with a thrust forward of the SIXAXIS. To right it again, he hit the square button.
Heavy Rain also gives players access to internal dialogue. Using the L1 button, we can listen to the main character's thoughts, giving players helpful clues about how to progress or simply to learn her opinion about the pros and cons of the current situation. There were two options when deciding whether to break and enter the house, one "daring", one "cautious."
Much of what we saw in the house was controlled via these methods, with brief Quick Time Events requiring randomized button presses. One, triggered by bumping into an overturned bottle, simply required a quick push of the triangle button.
Perhaps the most interesting implementation of the PlayStation 3 controller was during one of the stealth-action sequences. Forced to hide from the killer during the demo, the protagonist sneaked behind an open door, something that required the player hold X, then the R1 button, then the triangle button.
Another version of this sort of finger Twister game occurred when she sought shelter in a large wardrobe, requiring four consecutive button presses. We didn't actually see anyone from Quantic Dream fail at this, but it added a nice bit of tension to the scene.
Some of these control methods have been featured in Quantic Dream's previous games, but Heavy Rain looks to bring them all together into a cohesive package that feels thoroughly well implemented. We definitely look forward to going hands-on with the PlayStation 3 controller whenever Sony decides that's something it wants us to do.