Heavy Rain Chronicles: Episode One – The Taxidermist

HRTaxidermistSet before the main game, Heavy Rain (required to play this episode), The Taxidermist (exclusively available as a PlayStation 3 download) offers engaging, tense add-on downloadable content (DLC) with high quality graphics comparable to the main game. Journalist Madison Page is predictably in danger again during her search for the Origami Killer, which brings her to Leland White’s home. As the title mentions, White is a burly taxidermist who likes his privacy … for some disturbing reasons.

For players unfamiliar with the main game, Heavy Rain, actions trigger events (a.k.a. quick time events), so fast reaction times and a large screen are prerequisites. Experience an immersive game world without the familiar extra lives or bonuses. Developers float possible choices in light-colored text next to the corresponding controller button or direction. Developers use a few button combinations, but only in basic actions like opening a window. Once your character dies, players must start again, or, in this case, try again to experience one of five different endings summarized by the next day’s newspaper headline. A status screen checks off each completed ending so players can track each one.

The character development side is low in this episode, as players must concentrate on their surroundings instead of the other characters. It is a basic good versus bad scenario here. Players will have to wait for the Heavy Rain sequel for more character development on Madison, which is lacking here. I’m looking forward to meeting some of her contacts she talks with over the phone.

Players would be wise to remember their directions as they explore the house. Once the subject arrives on the scene, then the action predictably kicks into a very tense situation. Events occur logically without over manipulating players and the plot pacing is perfect. The developers incorporate split screen visuals, so understanding the surroundings become even more important.

The short format puts increased focus on your decisions. Stealth and misdirection made my escape attempt surprisingly successful. The control response was smooth, but, most importantly, correct — strengthened by a pre mediated escape route. Players can also confront Mr. White for different results.

This shorten episodic experience obviously does not incorporate the multiple choice adaptations and various plotlines in the main game, Heavy Rain, but presents a high quality experience for $4.99. Players can replay the episode from three different progressive plot points – a great convenience option from considerate developers.

Heavy Rain Chronicles: Episode One – The Taxidermist is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for blood, intense violence, nudity, and strong language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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