March 06, 2013

Heavy Rain Areas of Concern

I tell you if the quest to find "SHAUN!" is a worthy journey, or one filled with HEAVY content. (See what I did there? Never mind.)

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg

Name: Heavy Rain

Developed By: Quantic Dream

Genre: Interactive-Drama/Action-Adventure/Psychological-Thriller. *Gasps for air*

Release Date: February 2010

Platform(s): Playstation 3


Players experience the story of Ethan Mars, a man who hit rock bottom after his son Jason died in a tragic car accident, leaving him scarred for life.

When his other son is kidnapped by the mysterious Origami Killer, Ethan has to go through a series of trials set up by said killer in order to find his son. Ethan is put to the test, both mentally and physically, and to get his son back, he'll have to make a series of difficult decisions, in which there is no turning back.

Along the way, we are introduced to the likes of Norman Jayden, an FBI profiler with a funny accent and a drug addiction, Madison Paige/Page, a reporter suffering from insomnia, and Scott Shelby, a Private Detective hired by the victim's families to solve the murders.

Heavy Rain is an adventure that promises to provide us with a deep and compelling story, filled with memorable characters and thoughtful set pieces. Does it succeed?

Well, I'll get to that, but before we do, there is an unfortunate amount of objectionable content included in Ethan's journey, so please proceed to read the Areas of Concern, which may burst your bubble if you were looking at getting this game.


--Green is for mild content.

--Blue is for moderate or very brief intense content, provided that it isn't too graphic.

--Orange is for intense content.

--Red is for very graphic or prolonged intense content.

Areas of Concern:


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

Storyline Violence:

--The whole story of the game revolves around a mysterious killer, whose victims are children. In one scene, we briefly see the dead body of a child, but this is not focused on for long.

Relating to it, three children die during the course of the game

One in a car accident: We see his father jump and grab the boy, but a car hits them. We see the car stopping and the upset reaction of the boy's mother.

Two by drowning: One is shown going under water, and we see him there in the water, dead. The other one is just implied to have drowned. (His death is optional, however.)

-Not really violent, but early on a pet bird is shown to be dead, so that may be upsetting for some.

--During the course of the game, there are several very intense and violent moments. The most intense examples of violence are:

-There is one section where a man has to cut off his own finger. He can do so in a variety of ways, but however you choose to do it, the moment is highlighted by intense cries of pain, and we see him going through the motions of cutting his finger off, but it's not graphically shown. He also chops a few times to get the finger off. (ouch)

Afterwards, he stumbles around, and clutches his bloodied hand whilst screaming in pain.

He can cauterize the wound by heating a metal bar, and jabbing the wound with it.

-A woman is tied to a bloody table, and a doctor says he's going to perform an "Operation" on her.

The woman then tries to escape, but the doctor comes back. They have a scuffle, and she slices him with a blade a few times, with bloody cuts being seen. He also tries to impale her with electric tools, but if you do it right, she dodges it. Eventually, he seemingly knocks you out, but your character suddenly impales him with a drill, blood leaking out and he jerks around.

He slumps over afterwards, dead.

-A man can fall into a grinder off-screen. We hear a crunch, and we see some blood on the grinder afterwards. 

--We see a few gruesome wounds during the story, such as when a man crawls over shards of glass and we see his clothes with bloody cuts going through them, and a woman bandages a man with graphic red burn marks on his body, and a bloody cut on his arm.

--There are several sequences where people fight each other, punching, kicking, throwing each other onto objects and breaking them, and slicing with sharp objects. 

There are also scenes where people get stabbed, (One instance with a woman getting her throat slit) with cries of pain and a bit of blood being shown. People also get shot and struck in the head with objects, resulting in blood pooling out from beneath their heads.

--We see a woman lying in a bathtub, with blood in the water, on the sides of the tub, and bloody cuts on her wrists. It is implied that she tried to commit suicide, but a man bandages her up and she doesn't die.

Player Deaths:

--If you fail to get away from a doctor, he will take a drill to your character's crotch off-screen. (ouch) Only her scream is briefly heard from outside of the building.

--If you don't manage to fend the doctor off in a fight scene later, he will slice you a few times, and impale your character in the back with a power drill, slicing being heard. She slumps over afterwards. He can also slit her throat; we see him slice, and your character grabs her neck and slumps over dead.

--If you fail to fend off a man, he grabs a katana, slices your character a few times with bloody cuts being shown, and impales you through the abdomen with it, a slice being heard and some blood being seen. One death shows him quickly pushing the sword deeper, and then removing it, your character's dead body slumping over and hitting the ground.

--If you fail to escape from a burning building, your character can catch on fire, and flail around whilst screaming, flames being seen all over her. After a while, she collapses, dead.

--Your character is tied up in a car, and if he fails to escape, he is thrown into a grinder, and the car is crushed, his screams being heard for an extended period of time. A similar thing can happen when he is caught under the treads of a construction vehicle; you see him fall over whilst struggling and hear his screams as he goes under.

--A man can commit suicide in two different ways

One by shooting himself in the head: We see him put the gun to his head, and he falls over when shot with some blood on his head.  

He can hang himself: we see him climb up on a chair, wrap a noose around his neck, and we see his feet as steps off the chair, and kills himself.

--A man can overdose on a drug; we see him during the process, lying on the ground and shivering violently, before rolling over, dead, with blood coming out of his nose. 


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--Several examples of sex and nudity occur during the story. The most graphic examples are:

-A man and a woman start to kiss, and they kiss more passionately, and then they take their shirts off, the woman's bra can be taken off, with brief shots of topless nudity, they fall over onto a bed and kiss more, and we see flashes of them "in the act", and the man's rear end can be seen as well.

This scene can be avoided by selecting "Don't Kiss" when the option comes up.

-There are two other instances of nudity: A woman can be seen taking a shower, rear and topless nudity are shown in detail, (This is optional. You can simply leave the bathroom.) and at a scene near the beginning of the game, we see a man showering, his rear end fully visible for a brief while. 

-A man puts on some "funky" music with a woman making suggestive noises on the soundtrack, and he forces a woman from the previous paragraph to strip for him. She unbuttons her shirt, we see part of her bra, and she starts to do a little dance for him.

You can cut the dance short by hitting the guy with a lamp, or you can make her remove her shirt and bra, with female nudity being shown for an extended period of time.

The woman can then interrogate the man, and when his bodyguard comes around, she can make "certain noises" to make it sound like they are busy.

-We also see women in shorts and bikini tops dancing suggestively at a club and at a party.

-We see two women kiss passionately on a coach next to a man.  

-A woman, who is a prostitute, mistakes a man visiting her as a "client". She tells him that she "doesn't do any weird s**t", and tells him to take off his clothes, but he refuses. (He's only there to ask questions)

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

Swear Words: Uses of F**k, S**t, A*s, P**s, D**n, B**t**d, H**l, B***ch, B**ls, and C**p.

Racial Slurs: A single use of cr**ker.

--God and Jesus' name are used in vain.

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--One character is called a "God-Fearing idiot" by a cop, and we see his apartment is filled with crosses and Roman Catholic paraphernalia. The cop mentions that he is waiting for the end of the world, and that he believes the cop is the "Antichrist".

We later see the religious man, and he mentions that he is praying all day, and so on. It's also implied that he is schizophrenic, because he heard voices.

The cop is shown to be a bit rash, however, as the man is accused of being a child murderer, but he actually is not. 

--A Bible salesman shows up at a man's house, and asks him if he wants a Bible, and when he refuses, he asks how he could turn down the "Word of the Lord" in times of violence and hatred like this.

Eventually the man invites him in and tells him he will buy the Bible, but he gets a baseball bat instead and knocks the salesman unconscious.


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--Drugs: One character takes some sort of medicinal drug, and he experiences withdrawal symptoms a few times. He is seen snorting the liquid drug once or twice.

As mentioned in the Violence category, one of the possible scenarios has him overdosing on the drug.

-One minor character is a drug dealer, and he asks your character a few times if he wants "dope".

--Alcohol: A few times in the story, you can drink various alcoholic beverages, a character is shown to be drunk, various other characters consume alcohol at a party and at a club. One minor character is implied to be an alcoholic as well, and he is shown sipping on whiskey, obviously drunk.

--Tobacco: A woman lights up a cigarette and smokes it.

Gross Stuff/Gore:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

--At several points during the game, you can go to the toilet, with realistic sound effects, but nothing is shown.

-A man throws up after committing a murder, this is shown in detail.


Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

The whole story is about "How far will you go to save someone you love?", and depending on the player's choices, the protagonist can be selfless and determined, even if he can make a rather immoral choice to save his son. It is touching to see him so committed to saving his son, in spite of the aforementioned content.

Thoughts & Impressions:

Quality Verdict:

Heavy Rain is a story with moments that work VERY well, and moments that DON'T work at all.

Whilst the main story, that of Ethan Mars trying to save his son Shaun, is very compelling and features excellent moments, the other characters' storylines have several flaws, especially when it comes to the reveal of who the villain is.

The game is also well known for some of it's plot holes, which are too numerous to feature here. (There's a lot of them.)

Heavy Rain tries to solve a supposed problem with games: Storytelling. It doesn't get it right however, mostly because it's trying to make games more like movies, which they shouldn't be, and in doing so, the developer's added a lot of objectionable content from contemporary films.

Video games have had their fair share of compelling stories, so Heavy Rain is highly unnecessary, and it's a rather mediocre attempt regardless.

A better game is last year's The Walking Dead, which I reviewed on this here blog. While it features heavy violence and unfortunate misuses of Jesus' name, it does have an actual compelling story and you feel a lot more for the singular protagonist of those games than you feel for the four main characters of Heavy Rain altogether.

Summing it up: Heavy Rain has it's great moments, but it's bogged down by gaping plot holes and inconsistent characterization.

Moral Conclusion:

And not to mention, the game has it's fair share of Suggestive Content and obvious Anti-Christian Themes, so it's really hard for me to recommend this game to Christians, even if the story at it's core is touching.

KGR gives Heavy Rain a rating of:


Not Recommended, for Anti-Christian Themes and Suggestive/Sexual Content. (It features Good Morality, so it doesn't get a full-on BANNED)

Other offensive aspects:

Strong Bloody Violence, with intense sequences including blood and death being portrayed graphically, but these scenes are brief.

Strong Language, with misuses of Jesus' name and F-words and other profanities peppering the dialogue.

Some Drug and Alcohol References, with drinking being shown and some drunkenness is depicted. One character also uses a fictional drug, but it's portrayed in a negative light.


So......not exactly what you were hoping for, right? Unfortunately, Quantic Dream has failed to deliver the masterful story they were promising, and they loaded with way too much strong content.

Ultimately, you should pass up on this one. Choose something else.

Alright, that's all there is for this week! I'll be back next week with my Dead Space 3 Areas of Concern, so I hope you'll enjoy that.

God bless. :)   

Writer Bio:

Kyle van Rensburg is the Editor-in-Chief of Kyle's Christian Video Game Reviews. (KGR) He likes cookies.

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