[Endrant] Dissidia Duodecim 012

I need to vent or I’m going to explode.  Seriously.

Everyone knows that I love Final Fantasy. I LOVE FINAL FANTASY.  The Dissidia games are a godsend to me: fanboy love that crams together a multitude of characters from every (main-series) game and allows them to kick each other in the teeth, hurl one another across the screen, and blast them into the next eon with a flashy light show.

But this game also drives me crazy.

More Features Than a Swiss-Army Knife

The Dissidia games boast what I consider to be one of the best examples of a polished, rewarding fighting engine: accessible, simple, and customizable.  It’s accessible because it takes familiar faces and worlds and blends them together.  It’s simple because characters perform attacks through the use of literally two buttons and the directional pad.  They level up over time, giving you new abilities and skills that you can map to the controls to suit your play style.  And there are dozens of characters for you to try until you find one (or ten, or twenty) you like.  Everything about the game is customizable: skills and abilities, music, armor, weapons, accessories, summons, costumes.  Freaking everything!  It means that you make the experience your own.  It also means that two players can use the same character in vastly different ways due to the sheer variety of skills and accessories to make you powerful.  Seriously, Street Fighter is a garbage heap next to this game.

When it comes to context, Dissidia crams more into that little UMD than any game I’ve ever seen.  On top of dozens of characters and environments, you have hundreds of weapons, armor, accessories and summon spells.  You have plenty of music.  You have over a dozen story campaigns (the last one is looooooooooooooooooooooooong), you have bonus modes, a playback option, a theater to review cutscenes, voice data and artwork.  You can create your own quests and send them to friends.  You have friend cards, and then you have multiplayer mode.  Other fighting games have less than 20% of the features packed into Dissidia.

I LOVE Dissidia.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  And I want nothing more than to tell everyone to play it.

But I can’t.  Want to know why?  Because the games are easily one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I’ve ever encountered.  I focus the majority of my comments in this post around Dissidia Duodecim 012, but similar sentiments apply to the original Dissidia as well.

Intent to Kill

(See how angry I look? Soon that’ll be you.)

I want to talk about cheap tactics.  You know, that monster that appears in every fighting game to devour your patience and make you scream bloody murder?  It’s a problem of AI programming.  Developers love to give players a challenge, but rather than program AI that is *cough* clever, developers choose to make characters “challenging” by doing any other number of things: increasing range and damage are the most basic.  But fighting games are awash with characters who have unblockable attacks, faster animations, unavoidable attacks, and a teleport ability.  (I will marry the game designer who invents a fighting game without the use of a teleport ability.)  Seth (Street Fighter IV) has all of those qualities.  Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat) has all but a teleport, just as a couple examples.

The developers of the Dissidia games go not one step further, but many.  With a level cap of 100, they introduce enemies that are level 120 and up.  Alternately, a level 90 character will have level 100 weapons and armor equipped.  Or better yet, if your character has level 100 armor and your opponent a level 60 weapon, your opponent will continually do more damage to you in a single hit than you can to them.

Really, Dissidia?  Your method for challenge is to break your own rules, which you yourself have imposed onto the game?  Seriously, this is a bold new stage of laziness when it comes to game design.  My characters can’t do that, so why can yours?

On the matter of AI programming, Dissidia “boasts” what is easily the toughest and most intelligent AI I’ve ever seen.  The “computer” knows your strengths and weaknesses and will try to exploit them, as it should.  Characters will kick your ass.  And by “kick your ass”, I mean they will jump out of the game, pull you out of your chair, turn you around, kick you in the ass, and toss you from your 32nd story balcony.  If that were the only issue, the game would be fine.  But add to that those cheap tactics I just mentioned and you have a recipe for high blood pressure, stress, hair ripping, and sentences that utilize every swear word in the English language.

Motivation, Such an Aggravation

“I’m gonna beat your face and look like a slut doing it! Teehee!

I mentioned earlier that Dissidia is plentiful when it comes to content.  It’s true: you’ll spend dozens of hours leveling up your characters and mastering their moves.  You’ll spend another dozen hours obtaining items to make the best gear for that character.  And after all of that work, guess what?  The AI will *still* kick your ass.  All of the evasions and dodges and accessories and attacks won’t help you: the programming in Dissidia is so unforgivably ruthless that playing the game can arguably become an exercise in self-inflicted torture.  I’ve put over 70 hours into my game already (I still haven’t finished the main story), and I’m ready to toss the game literally to the wind.  And I hate that feeling.

So why have I kept playing for so long?  Because Dissidia peppers you with treasure chests, free gifts, and motivational messages as you play.  It will actively encourage you to continue playing because the developers believe that the game is a fun experience.  And it certainly can be!  But for all of the work and effort that you put into it, Dissidia will find a way to prove that you’re still not good enough.

No game, ever, should motivate you into spending so much time and effort and then prevent you from simply completing the game. (Note: Dissidia does not “prevent” you from anything, but the indirect result of its programming is that many gamers will feel as though the game is intentionally keeping them from success.)

Endrant

Dissidia is, on many levels, what many fighting games should aspire to be: accessible, polished, and worth more than its price tag. On the flip side, Dissidia is also a game that should never be marketed to casual gamers. The Street Fighter crowd would love Dissidia because it requires such technical finesse that casual gamers will rarely be able to complete it.

And when I give up on a FF game, you know it’s a black, black day.

“See that? That was your face. Loser.”

Memories of an MMO: Setting the Bar

In my previous entry, I discussed my perspective regarding MMOs before having ever played one. There were many to choose from, but the style and world of WoW made me hesitant to want to play it–I knew it wouldn’t be for me.

I had spoken to many gamers in the community, and have friends, who played FFXI religiously and spoke very highly about it. They were all stoked about the spiritual follow-up title Final Fantasy XIV Online, and being the Final Fantasy whore that I am, I became more than a little interested. It would provide me with a new gaming experience, I was in need of a new computer, and I had friends who would be playing along with me. Why not test out the MMO waters?

And so, in September 2010, I took my first leap into the MMO pool with FFXIV.

Into the Deep End

Once character customization was over, I was dumbfounded by FFXIV’s, well… dumbness. They throw you immediately into a battle with no tutorial for how you attack, or in the case of my “Conjurer” (Black Mage), cast a spell. A friend was watching me during this moment and she said: “How do you attack?” and my response was simply “I don’t know.”

Really, really not a good start.

Without boring anyone with the details, I can summarize my first few weeks of playing FFXIV in a single word: frustrating. The game lacked comprehensive tutorials or instructions, the controls were unintuitive and illogical, the UI was the equivalent of a clogged artery, the gameplay was slow and repetitive, and the environments were too large and took so long to go through that I almost felt like I was playing Magna Carta: Tears of Blood. For those of you not in “the know”, Tears of Blood stands as what I consider to be one of the most atrocious RPGs ever made and a shining example of what NOT to do in a game (mental note: write a blog entry on this in the future). Each time I played FFXIV during this time I would call my friend and say: “What am I supposed to do? Okay, now how exactly do I do that?”

Never, ever force the player to figure out your game for themselves. If the game is not accessible, you’ll risk losing the player. Forever.

FFXIV, as I’ve written before, suffers from development holes that, upon the time of the game’s release, were bottomless. There was clearly a lack of communication and a holistic design concept among the developers as though 100 people had all been assigned to 100 different tasks with no leadership to tie them all together to form a coherent whole (something that an aspiring designer, for example, reflects upon quite critically). The game was a dog’s breakfast and the reviews reflected such. But it was my first MMO, so how was I to know where the bar had been set?

Treading Water

With all the pitfalls of FFXIV glaring me in the face like Mexican sun, how was it that I managed to stick with the game at all? Why didn’t I become one of those players I just described? There are two reasons for this: (1) I was sad to give up on a Final Fantasy game, and (2) I had the support of friends.

I’ve played all main entries to the FF series (and most related games or spin-offs). There are plenty of reasons why I like them and recommend them to friends. Conversely, there are plenty of shortcomings that I see in the series as well, elements of the game that are present or absent that help inform my experiences as an aspiring game designer. With FFXIV, I wanted to stick it out because I was certain that there would be a reward: the game had to include something, anything to remind me that, yes, this game was worth it (beyond the graphics which are, hands down, the best of any MMO I’ve played or seen to date). To this date, the game still struggles with this very idea, and I’m still not 100% convinced that the reward will be worth it at all. It is, however, an experience unlike no other. (Come on: how often do you get to play a game so horribly ill-functioning that the company reboots the development team who then has to nearly rebuild the entire game from the ground up?)

My friends were also there in my corner, inviting me to play and giving me direction. We were forming parties and completing tasks cooperatively, watching our characters evolve and exploring the world. Having a group of people in the game with you really makes a difference to the play experience. It’s no different than Mario Kart: it’s decent on its own, but when you have another human player in the room, the fun factor grows to levels of epic hilarity.

Making it to Shore

I’ve been playing FFXIV since the day of release, and while some things have changed (the learning curve is gone, the UI and control systems have been vastly improved, new content has been added), others have yet to evolve. Perhaps the most interesting element of FFXIV is not anything about the game itself, but how the game has been publicly received and how the game developers have had to react to the negative criticism. Since the time of release, the developers have been altering FFXIV to make it the game it should have been by listening to and incorporating player feedback. For all intents and purposes, the game, as it currently exists, is still in “beta” form. (What comes after a beta build? Post-beta?) FFXIV is, much like Magna Carta: Tears of Blood, a shining example of what not to do with your MMO.

And in entering the industry come September, the evolution of this game, the communication with the player community, and the media reaction to the decisions are what keep me informed. I see FFXIV as a game with massive amounts of potential, and as an opportunity to provide FF and MMO players with a unique and worthwhile experience. I think the development team feels this way as well. Square-Enix could have given the game the axe. Frankly, I’m quite impressed that they didn’t. It will be interesting to see what decisions are made in the future to allow the game to triumph over its many shortcomings and negative media.

That said, FFXIV set the bar, and a low bar it is–the equivalent of a high jump bar set so low that everyone in your phys-ed class can jump it with ease (just to get you warmed up). What does FFXIV do well? Beautiful graphics, excellent character customization and animation, and a world brimming with potential. But in this day and age, people don’t want a game with potential–they want a fully-realized game. The latter FFXIV is not, I’m sad to say.

Oh, and the other reason that I still enjoy FFXIV? Because my character is freaking cute.

FREAKING. CUTE! ^_^

Memories of an MMO: Part One – WoW, this is it?

I’m not big on MMORPGs. I’ve spent the majority of my gaming years playing RPGs, which are typically solo-only affairs where I can enjoy a story based on fully-integrated lore and discover the merits of the game based on my own personal play style. The game has a definite ending and a definite beginning. The game has an explicit purpose that it challenges me to discover, and mandatory conflicts that it requires me to overcome. And when all is said and done, a great RPG will leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment like no other: the reward that you lived a life and made a difference to a person, group or world of people and (normally) had a fun time doing it.

MMORPGs exist, in many ways, as a polar opposite to the RPG. The purpose might be there, but it can be unclear because the game, by its very definition, caters to the concept of complete personal freedom. The conflicts that arise are only those in which you choose to engage (minus tutorials). You interact with a community rather than NPCs for a shared experience rather than an individual one. There is no definite ending to this genre of game. Even after you’ve completed the end-game content, the game continues for as long as you choose to play.

Despite utilizing the same letters of the alphabet, the two genres offer extremely different experiences, gameplay and styles. They are not so much siblings as they are distant relatives. You know, the ones you talk to at the family reunion every ten years for the sake of common courtesy even though neither of you will exist in each others’ lives long enough to have any meaningful impact. You share blood, but that’s where the similarities end.

RAWR! You makey own character!

I’ll admit it right now: I was never swept away in the mass hysteria that came with World of Warcraft (WoW) many years ago. Why do I point to WoW? Because it revolutionized the MMORPG genre as we know yes. Yes, Everquest and Ultima Online came first, but WoW was the first game to make it into the ‘big leagues’, so to speak. It brought MMORPGs to a wide audience of people, appealed to hardcore and casual gamers alike, and remains disgustingly successful. Every MMORPG wishes it were WoW given its massive success. (Aside: yay for Blizzard!)

I never got swept into the sandstorm of WoW, mostly because the universe itself has worn off on me. Back in the golden days of Warcraft I and II, I played like an obsessive madman and enjoyed every second of it. Warcraft III came along with more races, more epic conflict and blah blah blah, and the fundamental aspects of the game, and the lore of the world, became saturated with so many elements that it was difficult to understand just what worldly issue required my attention and what issues were little more than minor tangents. WoW demands attention to the changes and lore within the game world, and since I’d lost interest there was no reason to pick it up at all. (The threat of losing my social life altogether was, I admit, a secondary factor in staying far away from the game.)

It’s all your fault, WoW.

As of September 2010, I had my first foray into the world of MMORPGs with Final Fantasy XIV. Since that time, I’ve made a point of trying many of the other MMORPGs to get a sense of not only what is happening within the genre, but to understand its popularity, appeal, sense of play, and storytelling. And to do a few “harmless” comparisons too, of course. :P

Next time: Final Fantasy XIV sets the bar.

MMO Madness!

Howdy folks! I know that I haven’t been frequent on the blog posts as of late, but I have good reason for it, I swear!

Some of you may know that Final Fantasy XIV is the first MMORPG that I’ve ever played. That’s right: I dutifully avoided playing World of Warcraft out of fear that it would destroy my meager existence. But the more I play FFXIV, the more curious I become as to what other MMOs out there are doing. A lot of that has to do with the fact that FFXIV is, as I’ve mentioned before, not a complete game and still very much in an extended beta phase in order for it to have any chance to compete with all the other successful games out there that demand money from you on a monthly basis.

So on my quest to see what other games in the genre are doing, and to expose myself to a new genre that I’ve never had the time to enjoy, I’ve been playing a number of free and trial games:

World of Warcraft (14-day free trial)

Vindictus

Runes of Magic

Rift (7-day free trial)

I’ve spent ample time with the first three games and I’m working on Rift this week. Once I’m satisfied that I’ve had enough time with all of them, I’ll be sure to write a post comparing my thoughts and opinions. Stay tuned!

Absolutely. UNBELIVABLE.

I haven’t written a blog in a long time (short reason: my brain needed a wee bit of a break). I tend to also have developed the tendency to report on factual information: that is, I don’t like to speculate about upcoming products in the video game industry and reserve such comments for when I am tossing out ideas or trying to provide a fresh perspective.

Why did I break my silence after a month? What has me so riled up that I just had to post urgently about it?

Less than a week ago, the PlayStation Network (PSN) went offline. And it stayed there. Since April 20 there has been no way for PSN users to go online and download media, play games, or participate in social networks. (It’s not a huge deal for me, but I’m sure it is for some.) Why? Because the PSN servers were compromised by third-party hackers. Today,  after almost one week of PSN downtime, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Sony releases this statement:

Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, we strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

I have two words Sony, and though they’re the title of this blog post, I think that they warrant repeating.

ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE!

Sony: you have 70 MILLION REGISTERED USERS on the PlayStation Network. 70 million!! And you’re telling all of us that our personal information, including credit cards, hasvebeen compromised due to a lack of sufficient security in your servers? And it took you six days to tell us this? Your PR is going to need serious help, Sony, especially on the heels of a recent law suit involving another PS3 hacker and this month’s shut-down of three development studios.

Absolutely. Unbelievable.

OMGZ0RZSQUEENIXILUVUAHHHHHH!!!!

Taken from GameSpot, one of my dailies:

Square Enix forming new Canadian studio

Square Enix’s Eidos Montreal studio has yet to ship a game, but the publisher is already considering setting up a second studio in the city, according to a report from French-language paper La Presse.

The publisher told the paper it is looking to establish a new studio that would employ roughly 100 people, with Vancouver, British Columbia; Montreal, Quebec; and Toronto, Ontario, all in the running as possible locations. Square Enix is hoping to take advantage of tax credits as well as government subsidies from whichever province lands the studio. La Presse reports Raleigh, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Orlando, Florida, had expressed an interest in hosting the new development house.

A Square Enix representative said the company aims to settle on one of the Canadian locations for the studio by May, with an opening expected next year. Once up and running, the studio will focus on development for the next generation of home consoles.

I have only one response:

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :D :D :D

Applied Philosophy: Heavy Rain

I’ve spent many months thinking about the role of a game designer. I’ve found some excellent resources online and much like my writing (which I barely talk about on this blog anymore :P), I find that the most helpful information comes from the pros: designers talking about game design.

Here’s a little article I game across today whilst perusing one of my dailies.  Now I haven’t played Deadly Premonition for the obvious reason that I don’t own an X-Box 360, but Hidetaka Suehiro, a Game Designer for the game, shared his design philosophy at last week’s Game Developer’s Conference. Here are his major points:

Point 1: Make gamers think about your game when they aren’t playing it.
Point 2: Make gamers actively “want” to play through your meticulously scripted story.
Point 3: Create a storyline for a free-roaming open-world game.
Point 4: Prevent players from quitting the game at the result screen.
Point 5: Make appealing characters.
Point 6: Characters should talk in a memorable way.
Point 7: Use all of your ideas while you can use them.

What I found to be particularly interesting about this article was that I had no interest in Suehiro’s own project but in how these design philosophies can be applied to just about any successful game. (I should note that I use the term “successful” here because one could argue that by not embracing the above points, a game would be less successful based on Suehiro’s own approach to Deadly Perils.) With that in mind, I thought it would be an appropriate (and fun!) exercise to apply Suehiro’s 7 points to another successful game: Heavy Rain, my current obsession and pick for 2010’s champion of gaming excellence.

Point 1: Make gamers think about your game when they aren’t playing it.

I’ve read a number of reviewers who’ve complained about the slow start to Heavy Rain: you set the table, you play with your kids, you go to the mall, blah blah blah. Yeah, so those tiny actions might seem insignificant to the average gamer, but Heavy Rain is telling a different kind of story. In fact, one could say that’s the only goal of Heavy Rain: to tell the story. Every element of the gameplay reinforces this concept–the story will go on until the game tells you it’s over. For these reasons, Heavy Rain dabbles in some of the more “mundane” actions that most games never detail and for good reason: to force you to think about the everyday. Heavy Rain is about actions and consequences: how every choice you make or fail to make will impact upon a future event. Only Heavy Rain takes something mundane, like shaving, and asks you to reflect on why it’s important that you shave in the first place. You may not understand why it’s important while you’re doing it, but when you go downstairs and your wife tells you that she likes it better when you shave, you’ll wish you had done it.

You might find yourself in the same position some day. “Should I shave? Would so-and-so like it better if I shave?”

And it’ll be that moment when you think of Heavy Rain. When you engage the player in tasks that mirror reality, you’re going to make your player think about the game when they aren’t playing it. Suddenly, all those tiny actions aren’t so insignificant anymore.

Heck, if you’ve already played Heavy Rain, I bet you’ll never look at a saw the same way again either.

Point 2: Make gamers actively “want” to play through your meticulously scripted story.

Another one that Heavy Rain accomplishes with ease. As I mentioned, the ultimate goal of Heavy Rain is to tell you a story. This isn’t an RPG, which plays like the same roller coaster every time, making you watch the same dialogue scenes and play through the same areas to get from point A to point B. By focusing entirely on the story, Heavy Rain ensures that you have no other choice then to play. And by telling you that all of your actions matter, that everything you do in the game has a consequence (however ultimate), Heavy Rain also tells you that you matter. Few other gaming experiences give you this kind of freedom, a godlike power to control the fate of the characters for good or bad. By engaging you in this way, Heavy Rain successfully makes gamers want to play because of a co-dependent relationship. It rewards you with story by making you play the story itself. After all, how many RPGs have you played where you slog through an area just to get to the next story scene?

The additional benefit to Heavy Rain’s approach? The story is meticulous indeed, and there is allowance for it because the story is the game.

Point 3: Create a storyline for a free-roaming open-world game.

The “sandbox” game is popular for a reason: give people the freedom to play and they will. Show Spiderman a tall building and he’ll want to scale it. Tell someone you can create lightning bolts and they’ll start blowing up cars. People love not having the restrictions of being forced into a scenario at a certain time. Sidequests have become a required staple of almost every video game for this very reason. Heavy Rain is the exact opposite in its approach, which is, at its core, on the rails like an arcade gun-shooter.

But Heavy Rain takes a different approach to “open-world”. Rather than give you a sandbox to play in, Heavy Rain places you in a room with objects, characters and words and says: “Go for it!” You may not be riding around on the city in a bike, or scaling tall buildings, or shooting lightning bolts from your fingertips, but Heavy Rain is giving you the equivalent. It doesn’t look flashy, and you don’t have superpowers, but you have the same freedom and control that you would in a sandbox game.

Point 4: Prevent players from quitting the game at the result screen.

Those clever little buggers at Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain, avoided the issue of a result screen by not only not having one, but by structuring their game to not need one. Ever. There is no such thing as a “Game Over” screen in Heavy Rain. Once you’re on the ride, there isn’t any opportunity to reload or return to a save point. You’re going to play, you’re going to make decisions, and you’re going to live with it. (Your characters may not live with it though. :P)

For this reason, Heavy Rain becomes a near-seemless experience. Why do I say “near”? Because in between chapters you will, every so often, see the following message at the bottom of the screen: “You’ve unlocked a new bonus!” Well that’s sweet and all, but it pulls you out of the experience just a tad. Like those cursed trophy notifications.

Point 5: Make appealing characters.

The easiest way to do this is to just simply design a variety of characters and ensure they are relevant to the story. Every game has a goody-goody and a bad-ass. That’s because some people like to play innocent while others enjoy engaging with their devil-may-care attitude.

Okay, so it’s not always that simple. Characters also need to resonate with the player. There needs to be a quality about them that the player admires or respects so that they can put themselves in the shoes of the character either mentally or emotionally. In some cases, a player’s attachment to a character can come through negative feelings of hate, resentment or frustration. But these achieve the same effect: you’ve successfully made the characters meaningful in the eyes of the player.

Heavy Rain emphasizes this more than most games through the use of clothing, action and, most inventively, internal monologue. At any time during the game you can press a button and hear the thoughts that your character might be having. That’s primo character development and allows for characters to talk in their own voice quite literally–there’s no need to police one’s inner thoughts. It all serves to add to the appeal the characters have in addition to the excellent dialogue.

He’s more appealing than he looks, I swear!

Heavy Rain also prides itself greatly on its motion capture and facial recognition. Quantic Dream pulled each voice actor into the studio and duplicated their facial movements as they spoke each line and then transferred them directly onto the in-game characters. (Interestingly, this is why most of the characters look almost exactly like their voice actors.) This adds immensely to the realism of the game and the player’s ability to really see themselves in the characters, right down to a distracted look.

Point 6: Characters should talk in a memorable way.

Okay, so I’ve kinda covered this one already. The characters in Heavy Rain benefit from two sets of dialogue: that spoken aloud and internal thoughts. Add this to what is some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in a game and you have appealing characters.

One gripe: at one (very important) moment during the game, a character says the following:

“Yes, I am the origami killer.”

But the line itself is spoken like this:

“Yes, I am the origarmi killer.”

Seriously. What a huge oversight in the voice acting, especially given that it’s so pivotal to the plot. But hey, even then the line is memorable (if for the wrong reason)!

Point 7: Use all of your ideas while you can use them.

I really can’t speak to this one, but I’m guessing that the downloadable content to Heavy Rain (entitled “The Taxidermist”) meant that someone had an extra idea or two that they wanted to incorporate!

Overall, I find it fascinating to see just how many of the 7 design points, all of which were utilized for a different game in a different genre by a studio with a different primary language, could be applied to Heavy Rain as another successful commercial product. It goes without saying that many of these ideas are ones that should be utilized for a number of different games in order to craft and present the player with a memorable experience. In fact, I can’t help but wonder how many other great games there would be if these 7 points were applied more fruitfully.

For now, however, I’m perfectly content with replaying Heavy Rain. :)