Quantic Dream’s 2010 interactive drama is a harrowing tale centered around a father who has to make difficult choices in an attempt to save his son, but it isn’t without a few silly moments that have left players scratching their heads. Here is a list of a few questionable moments in Heavy Rain.
1. Jayden helping Ethan escape police custody.
Specifically, there appears to be a lack of consequences for Norman Jayden, our dear FBI profiler, when he engages in this activity. This situation occurs if Ethan Mars gets caught and arrested by the police as he is suspected to be the Origami Killer. He is then interrogated for some time by Jayden and Lieutenant Carter Blake. After a heated argument regarding Blake’s questionable interrogation tactics, Jayden storms out of the room, only to come back a short time later and find Ethan lying on the floor, bloody and bruised. At this point, Jayden believes Ethan is innocent and helps him to escape by shutting off the camera recording the events in the interrogation room and dismissing the officer monitoring Ethan. If these conditions are met, Jayden is not on the hook for Ethan’s escape. In fact, Blake doesn’t mention the incident at all after it occurs. However, if Jayden helps Ethan without shutting off the camera, Blake later confronts the FBI profiler as he knows that Jayden is involved in Mars’ escape. In all, it is interesting that although Norman is not confronted if he turns off the camera, it doesn’t change the fact that an authority figure committed a serious crime in helping a suspect to a set of major crimes escape. Despite the lack of video evidence, an astute observer could conclude that it was Jayden who helped Ethan. Did no one ever question what happened?
2. ‘Proper’ police procedure.
The police in Heavy Rain seem to have adopted a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach when it comes to their investigation of the Origami Killer. At one point in the game, Ethan is faced with a particularly tough decision in a decrepit building where he must choose to cut off a section of one of his fingers in order to get more information on the whereabouts of his son. Interestingly, if the player does not choose to cut off Ethan’s finger, Madison arrives to help him escape, and they do so by choosing to leave via a window and into an alleyway, where a cop immediately confronts them. The officer then shoots Ethan. Though I am no expert on the details of police procedure, I find unbelievable that a police officer would be trained to shoot a person who is not armed and who doesn’t appear to be immediately dangerous. Of course, Ethan is a suspect in some heinous crimes, but he did not present an immediate threat. In fact, he was shot from behind. Gameplaywise, having the officer shoot Ethan results in our protagonist being slowed down, much like he would be had he chosen to cut off his finger. This is likely why this was included in the game. Nevertheless, it is questionable.
3. Jason’s behavior in the shopping mall.
Early on in the game, as Ethan and his family are paying a visit to the local mall, he and his son Jason are spending some time together when Jason begins to wander off. Ethan follows his son and calls to him, but to no avail. It almost seems as if Jason is either intentionally ignoring his father’s calls or suffering from some sort of hearing issue. Even if the latter were the case, it seems to take Ethan by surprise. In fact, much of Jason’s behavior during this chapter seems strange given his age. Between his sudden preoccupation with acquiring a balloon from the mall clown and continuing to walk away from his father, Jason’s behavior is not that of a typical 10-year old. Perhaps there is some background regarding Jason that could have explained why he acted in such a fashion. However, as the game does not provide this background, the behavior is quite strange. Though this served as the cause for many of the events in the game, it is nevertheless an eyebrow-raising situation.
4. Ethan’s blackouts.
Specifically, what I am referring to here is Ethan’s recognition of his blackouts. Early on in the game, you see Ethan experience a situation shortly after he puts his son Shaun to bed where he loses consciousness and wakes up some time later several blocks away from his home. Did the thought never occur to him that perhaps he shouldn’t be taking care of a young child at least until he is able to control the blackouts? Naturally, of course, Ethan’s unwillingness to recognize this instantly results in him losing Shaun and setting off the main events of the game thanks to yet another blackout.
These are just few silly moments in Heavy Rain. Despite their presence, Heavy Rain still presents a powerful narrative and a unique gaming experience. Are there other moments in the game that made you scratch your head?