Game: Rain Developer: Playstation C.A.M.P, Acquire, SCE Japan Studio Publisher: Sony Release Date: Out Now Available On: PS3
An amazing original game full of magical, original art and riveting gameplay that will have you totally captivated throughout your entire play through.
A young nameless boy is awoken to see a peculiar looking girl outside his window. This girl unlike any other can only be visible when the falling drops of rain out line her silhouette. The girl appears to be running from something; a large mysterious monster named “The Unknown”. As the girl runs for her life, chased by the monster, the boy takes chase hoping to aid the girl in any way he can. Only to find that he has become a transparent figure much like the girl that can only appear in the downpour of rain, helping the girl and discovering the reason for this bizarre turn of events is now his only goal as they both attempt to evade their pursuer The Unknown.
The control scheme for Rain is simple; run, jump, interact and move. It is all that you will need to survive this strange world. The movements are responsive and accurate which is exactly what you need when escaping “The Unknown”. The pitter patter of the rain drops falling on you is the only way that you become fully visible to the world. Throughout your journey you will utilise the rain and its effects, cover from the rain can render you invisible and you can only be tracked by the soggy wet foot prints you leave behind or objects you bump and knock over such as glass bottles, newspapers or coffee tables are used to track your movements.Puddles can be used to create a loud splash to lure monsters away from their guard posts and treading in muddy puddles can reveal your location as you leave dirty footprints behind that become an easily trackable trail.
These mechanics also have the same effect on the variety of monsters you are avoiding. You have to keep a sharp eye on their movements as they become invisible under cover from the rain and their movements can only be traced by keeping an extremely sharp eye as your pursuer splashes in puddles.
There are several puzzles throughout this game, including a variety of interactive objects you use to solve the puzzles such as toy clowns, ladders, blocks and lockers. At times the puzzles can take a few attempts to solve before you succumb to your untimely and quite upsetting demise which is appropriately counteracted by generous checkpoints and quick restarts. Whilst the game as a whole isn’t overly challenging, it can at times feel as if your hand is being held but that’s perfectly fine by me. Rain to me isn’t about the difficulty it is about having a beautifully artistic and extremely unique gaming experience, which has been nailed perfectly.
The opening cinematic is an opening of beauty and intrigue which sets the tone perfectly for the game ahead. Using water painted art pieces that vary ever so slightly picture to picture to reveal the outline of the story including small excerpts of text to divulge even more information. All the while a charming melody of music can be heard in the back ground. This is only the opening cinematic, one that tightly holds on and refuses to let go until you have seen this game through to the end.
Once you are given control over the character of the small boy you instantly find yourself immersed in a highly detailed world; that to me resembles an extremely charming French setting in the early to mid-1900. This world just cries out to be explored, all the nooks and crannies of all the alleyways and buildings as you explore this world. Brick for brick has been crafted with care. Accompanying it is a lovely soundtrack that highlights each individual situation you encounter throughout your journey using predominantly an elegant use of piano as it strikes at your heart strings every time a key moment unfolds.
Although there are no spoken words to this enchanting tale the story is illustrated through a clever use of design in which the text relevant to the story appears on the world around you. Never more than two sentences, your next story cue could appear on a buildings side, the roof of a car or even in the night’s sky. This is a charming way of unfolding the story which resembles that of a story book.
My biggest issue and perhaps I am looking too deeply into it is that the camera is always fixed to that of how the designers set it, which to get a view of the art design and the world as a whole, works exceptionally well. The problem lies when being chased by monsters and the camera shifts to a new location, at times leaving the player awkwardly caught out of position which can result in a cheap death at times.
Throughout the amazing mixture of tone setting and gameplay this experience produces a very bleak and at times depressing atmosphere which can only be overcome by completing this game to reveal the thrilling and heart touching resolution that makes this game truly remarkable.
Taking roughly 3 to 4 hours to complete, a first play through lets you become completely focused and dedicated to saving those children. A second play through opens up a number of collectibles through the eight chapters which reveal even more information into this obscure world that you find yourself in.
Whilst the games puzzles may not be completely challenging or the mechanics overly complicated, the beauty that lies within this game’s complexity is phenomenal. Rain to me is a game that takes those feelings of being a child and “The Unknown”; curious of the world around you and fearful of creatures of the night similar to that of a nightmare all the while being completely in immersed in a world of wonder and beauty.