Coffee Talk #94: Playing Heavy Rain “Only” Once is Stupid

Yesterday GamePro’s Tae Kim posted an editorial on why you shouldn’t play Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain more than once. It’s an interesting argument that’s supported well. Check out what Tae had to say:

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Alex (not Adam) Lambert’s awesome dancing on American Idol, where Zydrunas Ilgauskas will end up, or the return of Fraggle Rock, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Yesterday GamePro’s Tae Kim posted an editorial on why you shouldn’t play Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain more than once. It’s an interesting argument that’s supported well. Check out what Tae had to say:

By choosing to let your actions stand, and by refusing to go back in an attempt to change things, you can better appreciate the turmoil felt by the characters in the game. You are also able to buy into the spirit of the overall game design more fully. It’s the fact that no matter how hard they try, they cannot change their pasts that makes the characters’ plight so much more meaningful; by applying the same sense of inevitability and immutability to your own decisions, you can impart more meaning to your time with Heavy Rain.

Before I get into things, I need you to understand that I like and respect Tae. If he wants it, he could have a long and successful career writing about games. He’s really good. Having said that, I think his entire premise is stupid and slightly pretentious. It’s easy to say that you should only play the game once when you got to do it for free several weeks ago. I spent $65.84 on my copy and I sure as hell want to get more than nine hours of entertainment out of the deal.

Fiscal responsibility aside, Heavy Rain is a great game and it should be enjoyed more than once. Would you listen to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul just once? Would you watch American Ninja just once (and deprive your life of the brilliance of Michael Dudikoff on a regular basis)? Of course not. Sure, those two examples are forms of linear entertainment and Tae is saying that the interactivity of Heavy Rain is more meaningful if you experience it just once (James Ingram?), so let’s try another example.

For some reason, Tae’s editorial made me think of my friend Karen, who is the queen of Las Vegas buffets. Playing Heavy Rain once would be like her paying $50 at The Bellagio buffet and only getting one plate of food. (That analogy was awesome if you know Karen or me.)

Yeah, I understand what Tae is saying and it’s an interesting point, but I vehemently disagree. What about you guys and gals? Do you subscribe to Tae’s dreamer stance on Heavy Rain? Or do you have a more pragmatic view?

Author: RPadTV

68 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #94: Playing Heavy Rain “Only” Once is Stupid”

  1. @topic

    Yes, you should play Heavy Rain more than once. They created the game with four playable characters. why would they have four playable characters if they didn't want you to play it more than once. If that was the case you would only have one character.


    Your analogy works whether we know your friend Karen or not. I know if i paid $50 for a buffett i would not just get one plate. I would get a plate for every meal i'm going to miss that day and if my room has a fridge i'm taking a plate to go!

  2. I agree in full. At $60 a pop, games really need replayability in order to justify a purchase. And games with multiple endings almost require multiple playthroughs.

    But the thing about this is that Tae is echoing the comments made previously by David Cage to G$ at GamesCom, and as a developer it seems even stranger to advocate only playing a 9 hour game once, because it's basically asking your audience to rent the game rather than buying it.

  3. I see buffets as a game of chance in their own rite.

    The house is betting you can't eat more than $7.99 (or whatever the price is depending on where you go) worth of what the food costs. I'm betting that I can. I put down my $7.99 and the game starts.

    If I know I'm going to a buffet one night (especially a more expensive one), I won't eat all day in an effort to win the bet.

  4. @N8R You should actually eat a little bit earlier in the day before tackling a buffet. If you go in totally dry, your stomach is a little smaller than normal. Karen Chu buffet technique #34!

  5. Why in God's name is curling such a big deal in the Olympics? If this is a sport, I want Bocce, Lawn Darts and Horseshoes in the summer games two years from now.

  6. @ R Pad

    That makes sense. It would probably make even more sense to keep that preparatory meal in the field of green vegetables and bread.

    @ Nightshade

    I think American Football should be part of the Winter Olympics.

  7. @N8R: I'm pretty sure we'd dominate that sport at the games even if we only sent our college kids, since no one else plays it except us and the Canadians (and maybe the Germans, since that's where 3/4 of the NFL Europe teams were). I think they oughta bring back Baseball since there actually is a large enough following elsewhere in the world to justify having it in the Olympics.

    I'm a huge hockey fan, and it really annoys me that the hockey games are relegated to CNBC, but I can't flip though the channels without running into curling.

  8. @ Nightshade

    The same thing was said about basketball and baseball (as you mentioned) when they first debuted at the Olympics. Hell, curling is pretty much a Canadian thing.

    There was the USA/Switzerland game on NBC yesterday, but it was delayed at my house. However, the Canada/Russia game was live on CNBC. As long as I can see the games live, I could care less what channel they're on.

    I've been extremely impressed with the goalkeeping at the Olympics (save Russia). Ryan Miller especially is on fire.

    I've been rooting for Canada because I'm still a Sidney Crosby mark.

  9. I was able to finish the game yesterday, and I guess I can understand the comment on a certain level. the first time through the game I choose not to go back and change anything that happened. I just took things as they came. I can certainly appreciate that all players should play the game in this fashion.

    But, ending the game gives you the huge "what if" factor which I just couldn't resist. In fact, knowing what I know now has caused me to start a second full play just to change my method of playing. Besides, trophies are only accessible with multiple plays.

    One problem though is you may realize the second time that most of your actions won't change much. you'll feel like your life is in danger every chapter but really it's only in danger on 4 or 5 chapters. playing the game again can be a let down on some chapters.

  10. Nabakov has never been a big game goaltender in the NHL, so I don't know why Russia decided to go with him in a knockout game. I mean, how many years in a row do the Sharks have to finish in the top 2 or 3 in the West and get bounced in the 1st or 2nd round before people realize that Nabokov lets in too many soft goals in big games?

    Hiller was standing on his head for the Swiss against the USA yesterday. No way that game should have been that close with the intensity the US was bringing. I like the US's chances agaist FInland in the Semi's, and if they do get through to the Gold Medal Game, I'll take my chances against anybody with the way Miller is playing in net.

  11. Heavy Rain should definitely get played more than once. Especially a game like Heavy Rain with multiple paths and endings. I ended it last night and I must say that it is brilliant.

  12. @Shockwave

    My friend said that he got someone killed and went back and changed it to keep them alive. I talked him out of it because the beauty of this game is just playing it through no matter what happens. Everyone's story is different.

  13. @RROD – *Minor spoiler* I completely agree. I managed to keep everyone alive. the only time I considered backing out was when I got arrested. but I remembered how much I wanted to play it as it came. and I am glad for that.

  14. @ Nightshade

    I missed the third period of USA/Switzerland, but from what I saw Hiller was amazing as well. The last (almost( goal of the second period was awesome. He bobbled it around, it hit off his shoulder, and he ended up throwing his stick up over the net.

    The important thing was, he kept it in play just long enough for the buzzer to sound. I was totally impressed.

    But I agree about Miller and team USA. That dude totally brought his A game.

  15. @RROD – While reading a review of the game on another site this week the writer of the article said this "note to david cage, when you have a plot point that hinges on two characters you should make sure they have met, or at least, have been made aware of each other by that time"

    I still cannot figure out for the life of me what the writer meant by that? Some people have cried plot holes but I can only think of a few small unexplained things. nothing egregious. I think a lot of people have been overly hard on the story. It's not hollywood worthy but it's better than some actual movies I've seen.

  16. Proof positive that curling is not a sport. One of the women on the Canadian team is 5 months pregnant. Any game that your Dr will allow you to play when you're 5 months pregnant is not a sport. Nor is any game than can be played with a beer in your hand.

  17. @N8R: As a Blackhawks fan, I'm really excited this year to see the 'Hawks near the top of the Western Conference, and the Red Wings currently out of the top 8.

  18. Holy crap Ray…you worked Dudikoff into an article. I can only watch American Ninja once a year, tops.

  19. @nightshade – that's crap, tabletop shuffle board is definitely a sport, and there's plenty of beer, haha

  20. @nighthshade – I think your premise is right on but I think the term "sport" has a different opnion to a lot of people. I'd never consider Nascar a sport and yet ESPN wants to ruin part of my day with it. haha.

    devil's advocate – I know of some pretty fat worthless NFL kickers and MLB pitchers. not every sport/position relies on health/fitness.

  21. @ Nightshade

    I hate the Red Wings. Not as much as I hate Philly, but close. I hope the 'Hawks destroy them.

    It's pretty obvious where my hockey allegiance lies. I'd much rather see the 'Hawks play us for the cup than the damn maxi-pads.

    If they were to take out curling based on that, then I'd argue that sailing should be removed from the summer program as well. Afterall, sailing and drinking go hand in hand.

    Either way, come 2012, I hope the US sailing team gets introduced to the tune of "I'm On A Boat".

  22. @ tokz

    In football, the ball has to completely cross the goal line in order for it to count. In basketball, it has to go through the net (obvious). In hockey, it has to completely clear the line in order for it to count as well.

    Now, I see what you mean about the clock thing, but I disagree. There can be so many instances where the goalie is not near the net come the end of the period that someone could make an easy shot at the end there. The end of any close game would rely on that if your suggestion was the case. I think the way it is makes the game more interesting.

  23. @ Nightshade

    Screw the Caps. I'm more worried about the Flyers trying to bite our fingers off.

    F#%kin' goons I tell ya!

  24. Yeah…. so not playing it just once. I can see his stance kinda, but then again going back and doing things different makes it even more fun. There's already a bunch of stuff I wanna redo just to see the differences.

  25. @Smartguy: The thing about hockey is that you have to be introduced to it at a game to truly understand how awesome it is. If you try to get into it on TV, you'll never get it. It doesn't translate to TV as well as most other sports because you just can't get a true appreciation for the speed of the game.

  26. @Smartguy: Anyone who goes to a sporting event for the food is an idiot. My friend Kevin and I were huge Whaler fans growing up and we always went to the games….and we'd always eat before we went to the games. Of course, it helped that they played in a mall and you could just go to Sabarro or something and then just walk down the hall to the arena….

  27. @hockey topic

    nightshade, that's how i was introduced to hockey. I went to a blackhawks game (first & only to date) in 1993 at the Old Chicago Stadium and i've been a fan ever since (i didn't even know the rules). I'm still dying to go again but they only have standing room only and the United Center is too big to be in standing room. I hate scalpers!

  28. @ Smartguy

    Have you ever gone ice skating before? I realized the level of sportsmanship in hockey after going ice skating with my wife for the first time in my adult life.

    I really got in to the game after playing one of the NHL games (I forget which year) but I loved the violence of it.

  29. @ Nightshade

    -"Anyone who goes to a sporting event for the food is an idiot."-

    Or your a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. That's about the best you'll get at PNC Park (the food is awesome, there's an Outback Steakhouse and a Primanti Bros. in the park).

  30. @Nightshade

    Food in the dome is good, but expensive. I don't buy it. However when I go to a baseball game, I always get a hotdog or something. Traditional as far as that sport is concerned. I also don't think Sabarro is a step above stadium food. Then again, I'm probably spoiled by things down here.

    I just like having a beer or 3 plus a hotdog at a baseball game. Enjoyable.

  31. @ Smartguy

    Ice skating isn't exactly easy.

    Sure, after a few hours you'll be able to make it around the circle, but seeing the things hockey players do?

    Also, when you fall, that ice is cold and hard as a rock. It hurts.

  32. @Nightshade

    I won't argue the price. i don't eat or drink at the stadium for a football game. Only when I get a chance to go to a baseball game.


    I'm sure it takes tremendous effort to skate, skate well, skate fast and evasive, control a puck, and dodge a check or random 200lb athlete.

  33. The only thing that hurts more than hitting the ice after being tripped while going full speed is the inevitable root canal that comes from the broken tooth. Trust me on that one…..

  34. Nightshade makes another good point.

    In hockey, players will dislocate their jaw, go into the back with the medical staff, get a quick cortizone shot, and be back by the next period.

    I once saw Mario Lemieux get hit in the mouth with the puck after a blistering slapshot, lost 2 teeth and most of his upper lip, and still didn't miss any ice time.

  35. @sports food. Personally I like to check the quality of a dog anytime I go to a new ballpark. The Colorado Rockie Dog would be good but I'm not so in to the footlong.

    So far the 2 best Dogs I've had were at Fenway – by a long shot (I think part of it had to do with the bread), and a close second is the dog I had at Wrigley field.

  36. @tokz, I'll have to check that out. I went to San Diego once but unfortunately was a little too drunk to care about food. long story.

  37. @shockwave

    I went to Petco Park last August. I wasn't impressed by the Friar Dog ( i think that's what it was called). I also didn't enjoy waiting in line for about 30 mins to get my food. I was really hungry as i was there for a tradeshow and went after setting up my company's booth.

  38. @rpad

    LMAO, that's hilarious. comedic timing at it's finest.

    Can you imagine what a 61 year old hot dog would taste like.

    Btw, this is the third time i had to post this comment. I.E. at work didn't post saying error 404 server issue.

  39. i think id only play heavy rain one time if i paid 20 bucks for it

    as it stands, it just isnt cost effective for me to buy this game right now

    and this was number 1 on my goty list (sigh)…this is why i never preorder games

  40. @n8r
    I have an issue with the goals before the period ends not counting.
    In basketball and football, if you shoot or pass before the clock expires the end result counts. i.e. 2 pt/3 pt in basketball or incomplete pass/int/TD in football.
    If the puck is still flying around and it crosses after the buzzer goes off i think it should count.

  41. @Shockwave

    Yeah, I don’t get that one either. I think these people didn’t pay attention to the story. This is a completely story driven game and if you don’t pay attention then you will miss some key points in the story and it will look like holes.

  42. @n8r
    For football the ball just has be still in play. That’s why we see all those hooks & ladders play at the end of college games and close NFL games.
    For basketball, if a shot is taken by the end of a quarter. the shot will be reviewed, I know this because the bulls lost a game where the ref reviewed the shot that brad miller made but did not count it because it was still in his hand according to the ref.

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