Heavy Rain Chronicles Episode One : The Taxidermist Review
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation 3 only
Anyone who purchased the special edition of Heavy Rain will probably already have experienced the first of the (apparently) four chronicles to be released for this title, but those who opted to just buy the standard edition will have had to wait until quite recently to be able to buy it from the Playstation Network and play it themselves, is this a wonderful edition to a game that God is a Geek gave a coveted 10 out of 10 score to or does it fail in its attempts to give the gamer more fabulous Heavy Rain to experience?
The premise is simple, you play as Madison Paige before the events of Heavy Rain take place but whilst the Origami killer is still at large. Madison is following up a lead on the aforementioned killer and it leads her to a house in a suburban neighbourhood, where it is (obviously) raining. As per my previous Heavy Rain review, you won’t find spoilers here, but the story for this content plays out similarly to another Madison Paige scene within the game, she’s a nosy journalist and nosy journalist’s get in trouble in the Heavy Rain universe.
Sadly, the part of Madison Paige in this episode appears to be played by an entirely different voice actress, which, if you’ve played the game previously, you might find rather off-putting. Another complaint I’d level at this episode is that it is very short (we’re talking 15 minutes here), so much so that upon completion of the episode, the game even produces a screen telling you to play it again, because there are five possible outcomes to the scene you are playing.
Aside from those complaints, this episode does very much what it says on the tin, it’s more Heavy Rain, it get’s it’s narrative spot on again, the pacing is great again and it provokes emotional responses in the player just as strongly as the original full title does, though it fails slightly in that respect due to length. It’s hard to engage emotionally in something that is over so soon. It could be said that this is a fair bit darker than the Heavy Rain story though, you’ll be exploring but very quickly it’s apparent as to what is going on, and story wise, it’s fairly shocking.
Weighing up the positive and negatives we find ourselves in the quandry of what to score it, or indeed, if a score is neccessary at all! At times this feels like it was either an afterthought or something created early in the development process, perhaps it could even have been released as a demo instead of the one we got. The story is only relevant in as much as it lets you know Madison is a little unhinged, proven by her risk taking, but if you played Heavy Rain then you’d already know that.
The simplest way of putting it is that if you loved Heavy Rain, you should probably pick it up, but this won’t change the opinions of anyone who didn’t absolutely adore the game already. Hopefully the next episode will be better, though there has been no mention of when that might be released. The Taxidermist was released in all regions on April 1st, and cost £3.19, $4.99 or €3.99.