Silent Hill Homecoming Review

August 13, 2009 at 1:28 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Its time to bring the horror back home…

Were you ever afraid of the dark? The bumps, noises, creeks send shivers down your spine? In real life, its nothing to be worried about, but setting foot in Silent Hill? Well, get ready to fear the dark again…

Alex Shepard, a soldier wounded in battle has returned from hospital back home to rejoin his family in the town of Shepards Glen, all is far from well the moment he steps foot in town, and he soon learns that his true battle has only just begun.

In search of both his father and his brother Joshua, Alex searches the town of Shepards Glen in search for answers only to find that something a lot more deeper and evil is going on, which will in turn, lead him to the infamous town of Silent Hill, just across the lake from his home.

Silent Hill has always had a distinct game play style throughout the series, something quite close to that of the original Resident Evils, in the sense of exploration and puzzle solving were the main benefactors followed by combat usually favouring melee over ranged weaponry in order to keep the sense of survival horror to the cauldron of what makes Silent Hill as good as it is.


Hells not a pretty sight and hides some dark secrets…

This time round, the developers Team Silent handed the reigns over to Double Helix Games which first took a stab at SH with the PSP addition Origins, to ensure Silent Hill stayed as classic and as favourable as always composer Akira Yamaoka most famous for his work with SH assumed producer role to make sure nothings lost in the dev switch.

The games a little more combat based now this time round, with a more action style health bar and a newly implemented dodge button we see combat become a little more calculated and timed rather than just trying to beat your demons into a pulp as soon as possible, this makes confrontations all that more dangerous and all that more dangerous in atmosphere.

Confronting enemies has its pro’s and cons. In some areas it is possible to completely avoid combat to save either ammo and/or health. Attacking can be quite slow, and timing when to dodge can also be difficult as with each enemy, they attack and move faster than you. Its also possible to get stuck whilst fighting where they will constantly continue attacking you, giving you no window to counter, nor an opportunity to dodge any attacks which can be very frustrating when your wasting health just because your stuck and cant do anything about it, if your not on your guard you can also be treated to some rather gruesome deaths involving a lot of blood and usually some separation of limbs.

Having said that, melee is still the preferred choice of beating your way through the nightmares you’ll come across 3 melee weapon types and 3 ranged weapon types being your standard Pistol, Shotgun and Rifle. The melee weapons, your knife, steel pipe and axe will also play parts in making your way through certain obstacles like jammed doors and boarded up areas, each are upgraded a few times, but if you don’t find them on your travels you can completely miss them, so keep a look out, that goes for your guns too, and the ammo, which is scarce!

The game continues with its dark and sinister story plots, including creatures and diverse and nightmare invoking confrontations with creatures you’ll have to get up close and personal with in the game.

To keep your hunting skills toned, you’ll also have to keep an eye out for Polaroid pictures, children’s drawings and health serums, whilst the serums increase your health permanently, the pictures will explain some of the stories deeper plots.


Welcome to the grand hotel, heres your room key and heres your flashlight…

Whilst not pushing the barrier out for all current gen video games, the game certainly does take what the generation is capable of and really putting it to brilliant use. From the misty streets of Shepards Glen, the bloody halls of Achemilla Hospital or the devilish mechanical tone of your descents in hell, the game keeps up a full blown experience of horror and psychological thrills continuously from start to finish.

Points can be made about the uncomfortable looking mouth movements of cut scenes whilst talking, and perhaps the flashlight which really doesn’t light very much around you but it really can be overlooked compared to what the rest of the game brings.

Something film fans may also notice is certain things including the appearance of the Nurses and the visuals of the ‘ripping’ of the world as you transcend into hell are very much familiar to that in the scenes of the movie. The ‘ripping’ is an awesome thing to watch happen to the environment around you and when you first bump into your first Nurse or even any enemy, be sure to check out the real time damage you cause on their bodies whilst fighting.

It’s also worth noting that the visuals are what caused our EU delay of almost 6 months. If your not familiar with Silent Hill games, there definitely not shy from going all out on the gore, seeing areas pasted in blood is the least of your worries the most notable from this game would be the drill scene, a frantic and tense cut scene in the game, to say the least.


Dolls always were a little creepy…

With Akira Yamaoka as a composer, who really need to worry about sound? The game has a continuous atmosphere throughout the game which only play greater on the music and sounds generated for this game, the noises of creatures, the sounds of the environments, and the occasional industrial style music to get tension running when faced with enemies all work beautifully to create an intense experience throughout almost making you inch through the game step by step…because you don’t want to find out what’s making that eerie noise round the corner from you.

The game has 5 endings in tradition including the famous UFO endings, however the requirements for reaching this endings aren’t as complex as previous outings, meaning to achieve them all, all you need is 2 well placed game saves, which clearly removes a bit of replay ability depending on how much of a fan you are…or how scared you are.

Not saying the game is overly easy however, the puzzles will keep you stumped for a fair amount of time, and if you don’t pay attention to your health item usage you may find yourself in trouble later on.


Combat is pretty simple, but don’t let up, or they’ll rip you up…

Achievement side the game is disappointingly unshy about dishing out the points, with only 32; a majority of them are just for finding one of something or killing something once. Unlockables within the game include new weapons and lots of different costumes to play through with.

A fantastic game to add to the Silent Hill series, yet another dark compelling story that keeps the twists coming from beginning to end and as always one that always makes you think. Whilst it lacks replay ability with nothing rather than the 5 endings and 2 difficulties, the only sad thing about it is fans have to wait now for even more instalments of such a great series. Definately one of the scariest games we’ll see this year.

Rating 9.1

Published by: Konami
Developed by: Double Helix Games
Release Date: September 30, 2008
Genre: Adventure /Survival Horror

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