Heavy Rain is a cinematic adventure game where players can interact with events as they unfold through controller inputs and motions when prompted. Some sequences unfold as quick time events, requiring players to enter the correct buttons in a time limit. The player does have control over each of the four main characters outside of these events, allowing Heavy Rain to combine features of adventure and action-adventure games.
The game is set in a city along the east coast of the U.S., gripped by paranoia over a serial killer dubbed by the public as the "Origami Killer"; the killer's victims are discovered drowned by heavy rainfall no less than four days after they first go missing. The player is thrust amidst these events, experiencing the story through the viewpoint of four different protagonists. The choices made by players throughout the game will effect how the story ultimately ends; players can replay earlier chapters to explore different story paths.
This game is also known as Heavy Rain: Kokoro no Kishimu Toki in Japan.