BADGP Reviews: rain
rain (Sony, SCE Japan Studio)
Released: October 1, 2013
December 21, 2013
Review: Wet, but Not Wild
rain is a game about an invisible boy chasing an invisible little girl that is steeped in mystery. The narrative unfolds in front of the player in white text against the oft grey backgrounds providing a unique method of storytelling quite reminiscent of The Unfinished Swan or even Splinter Cell: Conviction. It is a dark story exploring the themes of agency in one’s life and how one comes to terms with loss against an ever present foreboding force. There is no voice acting present in rain, so the player should expect reading as one runs along the various platforms and rooftops as the story unfolds.
rain is an incredibly artistic game with a fixed camera that allows the developers to show off some fun angles for the player to enjoy as they progress throughout the brief 2.5-3 hour experience. The water-color cut-scenes at the beginning and ending of the game are beautiful. This stands in stark contrast to the not-so-beautiful grey city environments. One could certainly argue that the choice of the absence of color is to aid in the crushing, lonely atmosphere, but I found it to be taxing and even though the game is incredibly short I quickly grew tired of grey on grey. This does not excuse fairly poor texturing and frame rate hitches that are frequent throughout the experience. The game is similar in its feel and style to 2012’s Papo & Yo and there is some emulation of ICO, both use color to bolster and diversify their environments while rain does not.
Much like Papo & Yo, rain is full of remedial level puzzles and involves a boy chasing down a mysterious girl for most of the game. rain distinguishes itself with a focus on stealth gameplay. Most gameplay scenarios boil down to waiting for monsters to walk by and run to the next dry spot or cover. This leads to my largest complaint with rain, sadly, I found the overall experience to be boring. Sure, it is a slower paced game, but that does not make up for the gameplay that is largely composed of waiting (for monsters to pass, or the girl to catch up so the player can advance), and climbing up platforms and ladders. I also feel that it should be noted that the collectables in the game unlock upon completing the game once. I gave up on exploring early on in rain, feeling as though the game did not reward exploration, but it seems that the game does, but only after earning the credits.
rain attempts to pull at the heart strings very much like a Journey, Brother: A Tale of Two Sons, or Papo & Yo, and at least somewhat accomplishes this. The narrative is worth seeing through to the conclusion, but I was fairly bored on the path to the end of the game. rain is truly average in every sense of the word. It is a game okay in continuing with its inoffensive existence. If one enjoys emotional games then perhaps check this one out, otherwise one could do better with other games from 2013.
5 out of 10