Hands-On With Rain
Rain was a diamond in the rough at E3 and really deserves a lot more attention than it has received. Its stunning visuals and intriguing character design initially caught my eye as I was passing by on my way to another game, and I just knew I had to give it a spin!
Rain begins with an opening cutscene set to an artistic Valse Musette song. Water-colour animations splash on the screen to tell the story of a boy, and how, one night as it begins to rain, he meets a girl. Their eyes meet, and he knows that she needs something from him… but before he can inquire, a transparent monster can be heard drawing nearer, scraping the pavement and roaring horrifically. The girl flees, and the boy follows, passing through a doorway surrounded by light and into the darkness beyond.
On the other side of the door, the boy finds himself back on the street in the rain. The girl is nowhere to be found, but he sees the monster again. It begins to chase him, and he tries to hide under a doorway in the street. This is when he realizes that he too has become transparent, and the only way that he can be seen is as an outline when in the rain.
Throughout Rain, you play as the boy, who is in search of the little girl that he saw, hoping to find a way to save her (and in turn, himself) from this horrible nightmare. The mechanics are fairly simple. When you reach a new area, you see a brief panoramic view of the path ahead, almost like in the Assassin’s Creed series when you enter an obstacle course. As you walk, information and storyline are displayed artistically in the scene in the form of white writing on the walls and walkways. If you see something of interest, you can interact with certain objects by pressing the X button.
I felt a little silly and let out a few good giggles when I was out of the rain, trying to make my way around. The developers saw fit to leave buckets, chairs, and even bottles lying about that get knocked over because you can’t see where you’re going. I predict that this mechanic will become incredibly important as you progress through the game, as noises can attract unwanted attention.
During the game, soft piano music plays to accompany the rainfall as you explore the area and advance through the stage. The demo was of the first chapter in the game, entitled “The Children and the Night”. The game is set in realistic downtown city streets, and a fog lightly covers the sides of the buildings, giving the game a dreamlike feel. The characters are invisible, and only their thin silhouettes can be seen when they are in the rain. I was awed by the detail put into the graphics, rain animations, and ambience, especially the way the light hit the pavement and made the ponds on the ground shimmer with wonder. It brought a sense of depth and contrast to the very dark, nighttime scenery filled with dark alleys, iron gates, and cobblestone – a theme that is sure to cover this entire game like a cold, wet blanket.
Developed by SCE Studios Japan and Acquire, Rain will be launching on the PlayStation 3 towards the end of 2013, and I suggest, despite all the confusion and large title releases, that you don’t let Rain pass you by!
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