Rain (not to be confused with Heavy Rain) was a PS3 exclusive, download only game that caught my attention when I saw some news coverage of it on Japanese and Western sites alike. So, I decided to give it a try despite no playable demo beforehand.
It turns out to be quite a short but pleasant adventure game.
On a rainy day, a young boy catches the silhouette of a girl outside his home. He runs after her and finds himself invisible just like the girl in a deserted, dark, raining world. Visible to each other only under the rain, the two children soon find themselves helping each other out, trying to escape this unknown world while avoiding the relentless creatures that hunt them.
It's quite a touching tale which I think would translate well into a short story with a few fillers to fill in the gameplay parts such as character development.
Rain might have an ICO vibe to it at first because you're helping a young damsel in distress but, you won't be fighting monsters.
It kind of reminds me of the old school adventure games but with less puzzle solving and point-and-click parts.
You navigate your way through the city climbing, jumping, moving objects. There are the odd puzzles that involve doing things such as jumping around in puddles to create distractions with just enough variety to keep them interesting if the story itself doesn't captivate you already.
For the most part, you're either running away from the monsters or, you're sneaking around finding dry shelter to keep yourself from being seen. You can find yourself running over dirty puddles which make it harder to stay stealthy. Sometimes you're even waiting to be helped!
In short, the gameplay is simplistic but takes quite a bit of patience as you reach checkpoints, die and repeat the puzzles using trial and error which, I felt was the biggest shortcoming of Rain.
Rain is directed very well in balancing the contrast between moments of hope and despair throughout its short chapters.
Right from the start, you're greeted to an opening filled with water paintings. Lines of narration artisticly appear within the rainy environments as you make your way through the city rich with detailed European architecture. It's all rendered in such a way it's almost as if you're flipping through a picture story book.
From the screenshots and trailer you might be thinking it's all dull and dreary (kind of giving off a Fragile Dreams vibe) but, the little splashes of light in the environments, coupled with Yuugo Kanno's calming piano scores and the sound of rain makes it quite a relaxing experience when you're not being chased by monsters.
It's quite fun watching the the water splatter in puddles, objects being knocked over and little wet footsteps trailing along dry grounds.
I think what makes Rain a touching experience is it feels as if they've taken a short story and removed the character development and used it as the gameplay element.
Characters don't have any dialogue at all and it's one complete linear route though the game but, there are times when Rain makes you think you need to make a heart-wretching situation, deepening your understanding of what it must be like in the characters' shoes.
And, you're not always playing the hero unlike most games, allowing you to experience moments of helplessness too and then be very glad the characters got through safely.
While Quantum Dream's "Heavy Rain" an compelling story and tried to create an interactive movie experience, I felt it wasn't quite as captivating as Rain because there was too many Quick Time Events that rushed you through whereas here in Rain, most of the time you can play at your own pace, admiring the scenery or pausing to think about what that new line of narration would lead you next.
Rain is quite a unique little game with a wonderful presentation and short story to go with it. It might only take a couple of hours to finish but if you like adventure games and have the patience for trial and error, I highly recommend this game.
Time Completed: 4 hours
- Soothing rain sound effects and soundtrack.
- Rain effects, water painting art and detailed textures,
- Touching story.
- Quite a lot of trial and error.
- Fixed camera angle.