8 Dramatic Story Games Like Heavy Rain

Image credit: Quantic Dream

Before The Last of Us, or Life is Strange – there was Heavy Rain.

This game set the standard for using video games as a storytelling medium, and nothing else comes close. It’s fair to say that games like The Last of Us wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Heavy Rain.

Heavy Rain set the standard for cinematic, interactive narratives, blending together the best of games and movies into one. If you’ve played it, you’ll know how satisfying it is to work out every twist and turn in the story as you explore the world.

If you’re looking for more video game experiences with a heavy focus on narrative and branching paths for multiple endings, we have you covered. Our list of games similar to Heavy Rain will find you a new story to lose yourself in.

Here are 8 dramatic story games like Heavy Rain to check out today.

The Quarry

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Grab Heavy Rain’s psychological thriller elements, and dial it up until you have supernatural monsters. This is what you’ll find in The Quarry, backed by amazing, realistic visuals and atmosphere.

The Quarry comes from the expert writers over at Supermassive Games, who have incredible cinematic storytelling skills. It’s a spiritual successor to their earlier Until Dawn.

It draws from slasher classics, like Halloween and Friday the 13th, as you take control of camp counselors—sound familiar? It’s the final day of summer camp, and the group is ready to party…

Except there’s something sinister stalking the teenage counselors at Hackett’s Quarry. You’ll take control of the nine of them, and your decisions will decide if they live or die. Every choice in the game has weight, and will impact the outcome of the ending. If you loved the branching paths in Heavy Rain, The Quarry is like a forest in comparison.

Even friendly or flirty banter can affect the in-game relationships between characters, and have consequences later. The game has a similar style to Heavy Rain, with quick-time events.

It also has options to adjust your gameplay experience. If you’d prefer to mostly sit back and watch it unfold with friends, there is a Movie Mode. What would a cheesy, frightening horror experience be without friends? The game can be played with 7 other people, either online or in a couch co-op experience. Everyone controls one counselor.

This is one of the most powerful horror games on the PS5, and if you’re a fan of games like Heavy Rain, you’re going to love it.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

Who hasn’t heard of Telltale’s The Walking Dead? The game took the world by storm, allowing players to explore the popular TV universe through a video game format with an engaging story and cast.

The game was a major success, and spawned all the other Telltale cinematic point-and-click adventure titles. If that isn’t enough to convince you, maybe the game’s excellent writing is. When it comes to writing, this game still has some of the best in the entire industry. It’ll get your heart racing, and also breaking over the characters.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead is split into seasons, with 4 available plus spin-off stories. Each season carries your decisions and progress into the next.

The game’s cartoon-esque visuals are iconic and make it feel like a comic come to life. The developers did an incredible job at making a thrilling, terrifying atmosphere.

Where it really shines is with its cast. The narrative mostly follows Lee Everett and Clementine, and did the whole apocalypse father-adopted-daughter dynamic long before The Last of Us did.

The game’s writers just really understand what makes a zombie apocalypse narrative good. It shouldn’t be about the undead, but about humanity.

It also plays similarly to Heavy Rain in terms of controls and quick-time events. There’s also a heavy emphasis on quick-time events and decision-making.

If you want more apocalypse-themed titles that explore humanity and their psyche when backed in a corner, read our article on games like The Walking Dead.

Alan Wake

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch.

If you wanted more from the action-adventure elements in Heavy Rain, this title has you covered. Alan Wake is split into day/night cycles—and when the dark creeps in, so do enemies, known as ‘The Taken’.

Alan Wake has a bigger focus on combat, and you’ll need to defend yourself from monsters that have been taken over by ‘darkness’. Which, turns them into one of The Taken.

The story of the game feels like a Stephen King novel come to life. Alan Wake even uses King’s signature move, making the player’s character, Alan, a self-insert bestselling author suffering writer’s block.

The game takes place in the mountain-side town of Bright Falls, following Alan and his wife, Alice, on vacation. Their holiday, however, goes awry when mysterious forces take Alice.

You’ll take control of Alan, as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance and the town. It also seems like his latest novel is coming to life, however, he can’t even remember writing it.

If you loved how Heavy Rain explored psychological thriller themes, you’ll be swept away by Alan Wake. It also mixes in survival-horror elements, reminiscent of games like Silent Hill.

Alan Wake balances both of these elements well, making it a must-play in the story-driven genre. Also, a small town setting with unknown dark forces? Very Silent Hill-esque.

The game’s combat segments are engaging and adrenaline-pumping. If you want more games like Heavy Rain, this is perfect. Alan Wake easily rivals it when it comes to cinematic storytelling and masterful writing.

Until Dawn

Available on PS5 and PS4.

Until Dawn is a game that really puts a capital H in horror, and delivers on every front. It is also from the brilliant minds at Supermassive Games, but came out before The Quarry.

The game has you assume control of a group of eight friends. They’re reuniting at a secluded lodge on Blackwood Mountain, a year after their last party, which resulted in tragedy.

Love branching paths in the story? There are 6 main endings—with hundreds of possible variations, ranging from great to terrible. You have complete control over who survives or meets an untimely end.

Why should you play this if you’re looking for more games like Heavy Rain? The Until Dawn development team actually cited it as one of the bigger inspirations, along with Resident Evil and films like Evil Dead.

Heavy Rain’s influence is prominent, especially with the storytelling structure, themes, and gameplay. Until Dawn controls similarly, and also has quick-time events for the action-packed moments.

It also delves deep into the psychological thriller aspects, too. In-between game chapters, you even consult a psychiatrist, and your decisions in the sessions impact the story.

If you want a dramatic story, don’t overlook Until Dawn. Its narrative is also backed by a cast that is voice-acted and motion captured—with performances from huge names, like Rami Malek.

If the survival-horror inspiration in Until Dawn sounds fascinating, you should read our list of titles like Resident Evil. The game has you facing off against a psycho-killer, and a more mythological, horrifying creature of legend.

Life is Strange Series

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

Take your pick: Life is Strange, Life is Strange 2, Beyond the Storm or True Colors. Each game in the series is fantastic, with gorgeous visuals and a heartfelt, eloquently-written narrative.

Each game in the series is standalone, with their own characters and self-contained story, aside from Beyond the Storm. That title acts as a prequel to the first Life is Strange game, but isn’t essential to play beforehand.

While the Life is Strange series covers darker themes, especially surrounding mental health, it’s great if you need a lighthearted break after Heavy Rain. The art style is also filled with vibrant colors and personality.

In most of the Life is Strange titles, you’ll assume control of the main character that also has a special power. This ranges from being able to turn back time, or even tap into other people’s emotional states.

This has a direct impact on the story, and is a unique storytelling tool. Make a bad decision? You can turn back time and try again.

These special powers are what make Life is Strange one of a kind and a standout in the interactive, story-driven genre. The games’ plots are also very character-driven.

The writers did a phenomenal job with the characters, with believable story arcs and relationships. They are also one of the few games I’ve played where the teenage dialogue is realistic and not awkward.

Her Story

Available on PC, Android, and iOS.

Her Story really takes the whole criticism ‘it’s just a playable movie’ of the interactive story-driven genre, and makes it a positive. This game is an interactive film, and has you solving the case of a missing person.

If you loved the crime elements in Heavy Rain, as well as police procedural shows, Her Story will be heaven for you. This game will have you sorting through police interviews to figure out the mystery.

The gameplay has you interacting with a desktop user interface inspired by old-school Windows and macOS. You’ll use this to search through clips, watch the interviews, and even read text files.

The story follows a woman called Hannah Smith, whose husband, Simon, has gone missing. She’s the woman in the police clips.

From the information you discover during the short clips, you’ll have to deduce what happened to Simon. The actor for Hannah is the British musician Viva Seifert.

She does an incredible job in her role, and gives off a very down-to-earth, believable performance. Her character is the main suspect in the disappearance.

Her Story comes so close to being a police simulator. The developers spent so much time researching existing police interviews to create an authentic experience.

The game’s stellar writing, amazing acting, and unique gameplay make it worth checking out. If you want more games like Heavy Rain, this is an unconventional and innovative option.

L.A. Noire

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

When most people hear Rockstar Games, their mind goes straight to either Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption. They’ve actually delivered one of the best story-driven experiences in the industry, L.A. Noire. It’s one of the most impressive detective games on Steam.

The game is a detective action adventure, set in the crime-filled city of Los Angeles, in 1947. You play as the up-and-coming detective Cole Phelps, as he’s rising through the LA Police Department ranks.

The story follows Cole as he reluctantly teams up with his former comrade, investigator Jack Kelso. The main plot of the game has you progressing, and solving different cases in the police department.

You’ll need to investigate for clues, follow up on leads, and even interrogate people. This is where the game really shines. It allows for players to approach interrogations how they want.

Whether you want to play good or bad cop, literally, the choice is up to you. This is made better by the well-written characters, and animations.

L.A. Noire used top-of-the-line motion capture technology that realistically captured the actor’s facial expressions and translated that to the game. It has a level of detail that’s still cutting edge and unseen anywhere else.

The game draws heavily from the neo-noir genre, and you can see it bleed into everything from the visuals to narrative and even music. It also features a rich open-world environment to explore.

If you really want to feel the fantasy, there’s even a black-and-white filter option to go all 1940s film noir. There’s also a virtual reality port that lets you play in first-person.

Vampyr

Available on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

From the minds behind the Life is Strange series comes the dark and gritty Vampyr. It offers a very different, innovative take on interactive story-rich games compared to Heavy Rain.

The game throws you into the early 1900s, in London, where the Spanish Flu is running rampant. You play as Jonathan Reid, who awakens in a mass grave and is torn between worlds.

His newfound blood-hungry nature as a vampire conflicts with his occupation as a doctor and the Hippocratic Oath. Whether you give in to the thirst, or continue to help others, it’s all down to you.

Unlike most narrative-driven titles, this game features a semi-open world to explore. It isn’t on the rails, and provides you with the freedom to interact with the people and environment.

Vampyr edges almost into simulation territory due to the depths of its mechanics. As a vampire, you’re free to feed on whomever you want, use your vampire powers, and even turn others.

If you decide to go down that route, nourishment from blood is also what unlocks more skills. However, you’ll also need to research your victims and make sure to cover your tracks.

The game goes as far as respecting vampire lore—for example, you can’t go into a house without being invited. Of course, there’s also combat.

It really shines, however, with the worldbuilding, lore and story. There are multiple endings, allowing for a range of playstyles. The game is also just as character-driven as it is plot-driven, and you’ll form deep relationships with the citizens.

The world and characters react to all the choices you make, and it really explores the dualism between Jonathan’s life as a doctor/vampire. The story is also backed by an incredible score, meant to evoke emotion but also the primal side of vampires.

Honorable Mention – Detroit: Become Human

Available on PC, PS5, and PS4.

If you haven’t played Detroit: Become Human yet, what are you doing? It’s by the same team behind Heavy Rain, the developers Quantic Dream.

Detroit: Become Human features gameplay similar to Heavy Rain, and takes everything it does—refining it. Quantic Dreams has taken everything they’ve learned to deliver a gripping Blade Runner-inspired narrative.

The story follows Connor, whose job is to hunt down sentient androids. Sounds like Deckard in Blade Runner, right? As well as Markus, who wants to release all androids.

It explores themes such as humanity, and the age-old question: can robots be human? Ever read ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ because this game draws on it heavily.

It’s such an interesting topic to cover, and as technology advances—it becomes increasingly more fascinating. With all the recent advances in AI, it really makes you question it…

In Detroit: Become Human, our future is their reality. Androids have become commonplace in day-to-day life, working in servitude for humanity.

David Cage, the founder of Quantic Dream, has some amazing ideas, and executes them well in the game. He is one of the front-runners when it comes to interactive storytelling.

Detroit: Become Human is just as much style as substance. While it isn’t cyberpunk, it features a futuristic world that you’re sure to fall in love with.

Its visuals are also absolutely gorgeous and help enhance the entire experience. If you want games like Heavy Rain, you can’t go wrong with this.

0 comments

Leave a Comment