I'm not big on absolutes, so my brain hates trying to determine 'favourites'. So, no 'Cha's Game of the Year', just a bunch of interesting games that were part of my year (including some older stuff). In alphabetical order:
Heavy Rain is like a painting best viewed from a distance. I could run with the emotions of the moment, as though it all made perfect sense. Once you analyse the details it's clearly full of holes and falls apart.
I will certainly stand up for Heavy Rain's potential and vision. But there is something more than just that. I'm an easy target emotionally, but it wasn't just sensitive people like me who were affected. I watched friends trying desperately to overcome a stressful situation. They were caught up in the moment just as strongly as I was. There's a power to that, however easy it may be to pick on the game's flaws.
There are many flaws I can't defend, and wouldn't try. But something I believe helped my Heavy Rain experience immensely was not interpreting everything literally. It's (mostly) a real world setting, yes, but I find it's more concerned with painting an emotional picture than a logical one.
I had some friends visiting the other evening who were interested in checking out Heavy Rain. I found it a slightly bizarre situation, with one person playing and another three watching. It's really not the usual way to play it. It was very easy to laugh at mistakes and diffuse the seriousness considerably. At the same time, I think they were surprised at how much tension the game managed to include, even while we were joking around.
I was a bit surprised, I admit. As someone who is rather easily drawn into game stories and emotions I have trouble gauging when something hits the level where it might actually work on other people, too. Judging by the comments I've seen online, Heavy Rain comes close enough to affect a fair number of people, but that still leaves a significant number of people who will find it clumsy and lacking in true maturity and immersion.
Last weekend there were crazy storms in Melbourne. There was flash flooding, and large hailstones fell in several areas.
This was also the weekend I chose to pick up a copy of Heavy Rain. Almost as soon as I got home the skies opened. Since I was lucky enough not to have any roof leaks or power outages, it was possibly the perfect time to curl up on the couch and give it a go.
Heavy Rain has its flaws, but I seem to be turning into some sort of pathetic David Cage fangirl, and I loved it anyway. I don't recommend it to anyone with triggers, mind.
I don't want to talk too much about the game itself, because I don't want to spoil the experience. Since most of game stores in Melbourne's CBD sold out on release day (unless you know where to look) there are plenty of people who haven't had the opportunity yet.