Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rain - Final Round Review

Rain is more of an experience than a game; it is light on story but heavy on emotion, and throughout your journey amidst the rain slicked streets and abandoned buildings you will form an unspoken bond with the young girl you set out to help.

When the game begins the young hero is bed ridden and can’t leave to see the circus he wished to visit.  As he gazes out his window he sees the silhouette of a young girl being chased by a towering unknown creature, and stumbles out of bed then out the window to help her.  There is no dialog, instead story shown through text that appears on walls and surfaces around the environment.  It’s a simple method of storytelling, but it builds off the games atmosphere and really causes you to feel the loneliness portrayed.

Getting around in Rain is simple enough; running, jumping and climbing are the only buttons you require, and are all responsive during tense moments where you need to act fast.  The most essential ability in the game is the skill to disappear into places not affected by the downpour.  This helps you hide from the creatures that hunt you, and are obvious enough so you don’t miss them in a crucial moment.  The real challenge you face is sneaking past monsters that have walked into the sheltered area, as the also become invisible, however their footprints are visible so it’s mainly about caution and timing.
The biggest threat in the game is a creature called The Unknown that acts very much like Nemesis (from Resident Evil 3), it is never too far behind and is a constant looming threat as to where it will attack next, which turns some levels into a tense game of cat and mouse.

Creature designs are strange but fit the part nicely; they follow the silhouette trend, like the boy and girl, but the few details are strange enjoyable to look at.  The cityscape and the later abstract version look great, rain slicked and dark as a rainy night should look.  Levels have a few enjoyable variations, the factory being especially tense to sneak through.  Some of the city pieces can feel a little repetitive, each level is in a different location but it all takes place in the same town/city; though, the later stages do take a surprising twist.

Unfortunately Rain does suffer from some frame rate issues at times, and its simplistic style can make the game feel very easy at times.  Once the game has been beaten, collectables become available, which adds to the replay value and chapter select (with checkpoint select), allowing you to jump straight back into the parts that you loved.

When Clair de Lune begins to play as you run through the empty streets, the beauty of the game really shines. Rain is one step closer to making video games an art form (if you don’t think they are already) and is well worth anyone’s time, gamer or otherwise.

Final Round Rating - 4.5/5

- Will Flynn

Note: We at Final Round Gaming believe that Downloadable and Indy games should be rated on a different scale to that of Triple A titles/disk releases.   Because of this, our ratings for this category are out of 5.

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