"A Perfect Forecast"
Rain proves you don't need complicated mechanics to craft a compelling game.
As the nameless protagonist, you take on the role of a young boy, who sees a ghostly image of a girl from his bedroom window. She's being pursued through the streets by monstrous creatures. He follows them down rain soaked streets, until they pass through a doorway. Afterwards he discovers that suddenly he too has become ghostly and pale, just like the girl and her pursuers. Only when he steps into the rain does his shape become visible.
Therein lies the gameplay. Navigate a dark cityscape, evading monsters by hiding under awnings, in doorways...any place that gets you out of the rain. You'll spend a good portion of the game completely invisble, relying on environmental clues like splashes of water or a rustling newspaper to pinpoint your location.
Evocative in a way I haven't seen since Ico, the heady atmosphere of Rain practically oozes with melancholy and dread.
The etheral sensibility feels like a modern day retelling of something written by the Brothers Grimm -- childlike innocence and a sparkling facade hiding shadowy menace just below the surface, a menace made all the more terrible because the nightmare is almost always lurking just out of view.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward, and serves more as a vehicle to draw gamers in than an an actual incentive to play. Some of the puzzles are legitimately clever and engaging, but unfortunately this isn't always the case. Nevertheless, the story is the main attraction here. Picking up Rain because you like puzzles is kinda missing the point altogether.
Luckily, even when the puzzles don't add to the experience, they never really detract from it or break the mood. For all its simplicity, Rain offers a surprising amount of depth.
GameDynamo's Score for Rain (PS3)
A freelance writer, gaming fanatic, and technology enthusiast, Len lives in Long Beach, California with his dog.
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