As a work of art – exceptional. As a game – woefully inept.

Game Name: Rain

Platforms: PlayStation 3

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer: SCE Japan Studio

Genres: Adventure

UK Release: 

Rain is immensely depressing. It’s only fair to warn you that like the sodden world you’ll spend a good few hours in your joy will be dragged to the bottom of the well, crippling even the most stringent optimist with melancholy. No matter how hard you try, how far you run, you’ll remain alone. The darkness never relents, attempting to engulf you at every possible moment. The monsoon pours down continuously in this miserable world and the fleeting moments of hope are dashed faster than it takes for a drop to hit the ground.

There are glimmers though, those cursory junctures where all does not feel lost and solitude is dispelled for the briefest of occasions. When you, the boy, and the girl you so desperately try to find are together it lights a spark in your heart, one that promises that everything will be okay. Yet, those promises are swiftly extinguished time after time as you’re separated by an Unknown entity – something is hunting you and it just will not let up.

Other than creating the right atmosphere Rain’s visual positives end there. Animations are clunky, textures are poor, character models vastly too simplistic and graphically it never impresses. This wouldn’t be a problem if the gameplay was something to shout about but it’s a facile attempt. Misdirecting baddies with sound by jumping in puddles, becoming partially visible thanks to mud and hidden enemies attempt to give an otherwise droll interaction set some live but never muster more than a whimper.

Rain has to polarised sides. On the one hand it’s an emotional tale that, upon completion, is clever and expertly executed despite its dispiriting nature. How friendship, fear, hope and grieve were all created using so little is mightily impressive, but almost everywhere else Rain disappoints. There is no depth to the gameplay and little enjoyment to be found from it – and despite unlocking “memories” for a second run there’s little incentive to do so.

As a work of art, Rain borders on exceptional. It keeps pushing you until you feel as though you’re going to break before hitting you with a punchline that sets it all into place. As a game though, it is distinctly lacking, woefully inept and vastly outdated. There is little that holds your interest to play and it sadly would’ve been far better without a controller of any sort.