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Scare Yourself Stiff with The Taxidermist

I got a chance to sit down with Heavy Rain Chronicles: The Taxidermist last night and boy is my heart tired.  In this prologue to the full game, you play as Madison Paige investigating a possible Origami Killer suspect.  Little does she know that, while he may not be the one she’s looking for, at least she’s good at finding murderers.

Loading screen for Taxidermist

Poor poor Madison Paige. She just can’t catch a break. Maybe if she stopped looking for serial killers, she would stop finding them.

The awesome thing about this little extra is that it still feels very much like Heavy Rain.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  The setting was moody, the characters were both relatable and terrifying, the quick-time events were beautifully executed, and all of the other things that made that game one of my favorites of the year so far.

The only major difference I noticed was how much more this felt like a game.  When I was playing the main story for the first time it felt like this expansive story that I was having a major impact on.  It even surprised me how I still have not met anyone who had a remotely similar ending.  With The Taxidermist, you can almost see the switches being flipped giving you the different outcomes.

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The ending checklist for Taxidermist

Part of this is because it outright dares you to go back and discover every last ending.  After the story concludes it presents you first with a newspaper clipping and then a set of bullet points with check marks next to the endings you’ve seen.  It is also much less forgiving from what I remember of my first outing with the game.  One or two hiccups and you’re done.  While in Heavy Rain this would simply mean that the story would move on, this presents you with what is arguably a “game over” screen.

While this made it a little more transparent, it also ramped up the terror quite a bit for me.  Knowing that I was half a second from death during most of the events really helped bring me into the moment and care whether or not I was succeeding.  The story may be short, but it is consistently fun and exciting to keep coming back.  If you enjoyed Heavy Rain, then you will most certainly have a fun, if not a bit terrifying, time with The Taxidermist.

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