Silent Hill Downpour
|a game by||VATRA Games s.r.o|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, Playstation 3|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.7/10 - 6 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Silent Hill Games, Horror Games|
The Silent Hill series has a history of being intimidating to play. The atmosphere, ambiance, soundtrack, and gameplay are all presented in a way that gives the player some power while also making them feel incredibly powerless. Silent Hill: Downpour is no different in this regard as an interesting installment in the series. Though it still follows most of the traditional control scheme of old Silent Hill games, it now allows the player to move the camera freely, making a transition similar to that of the Resident Evil series. However, this is where the similarities end, as you assume the role of Murphy Pendleton, a prisoner of Ryall State, just as he discovers the unbecoming town of Silent Hill. Though this installment arguably captures the true essence of the franchise, the controls and overall story make it a bit difficult to trudge through at first.
Most other Silent Hill titles are a linear experience, offering a highly condensed, meticulously woven story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Downpour gets everything right when it comes to a Silent Hill game, especially concerning immersion/setting. It manages to capture that innate, primal fear of the unknown once again with some decent scares, but isn’t too obnoxious about it.
That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the story progression. Despite this being an open world title, a bit of a departure from previous games by including side quests, I wasn’t blown away by how little they seemed to impact the game.
However, it was nice to get a better feel for a previously unexplored section of the town – side quests helped flesh out what could have been an underwhelming reveal. Murphy isn’t the most complex character around, but he is someone that you’d root for in a horror movie not to die (at least not first, anyway). He’s the perfect candidate to help old and new players of the series to (re)capture that feeling of despair as he tries to survive the nightmare that is Silent Hill. Finally, and I won’t linger too much because spoilers are no fun, there are six distinct endings to the game – decision making during cutscenes will determine your outcome almost exclusively. One even takes a second playthrough to achieve.
Survive Silent Hill
I think that the gameplay presents the weakest link for Downpour. It isn’t exactly unfun, but it lacks a lot of polish, nuance, and necessary quality of life improvements to keep up with other games of the time. The best parts are definitely the various puzzles/riddles to solve throughout the town. None are exactly difficult, but a few are certain to give you a run for your money. The combat is what causes the most problems for other players and myself. It’s a bit clunky, aiming or moving/dodging is a hassle, and you’re only able to carry one weapon at a time. Considering the survival element, having access to only one weapon isn’t a dealbreaker, but it is unrealistic considering the insane circumstances. Even just one more would help.
Finally, I actually enjoyed the rain mechanic for this game, which here means that rain=enemies spawn more frequently. It provided that last bit of clever spawning that made navigating during the rain a real choice.
If you enjoyed older Silent Hill titles, you may very well enjoy this one for the effort put in. Or maybe not. It can honestly go either way depending on how into change you are. Just be sure you know it tries its best to combine the best of the old series staples and new era innovations, but its not always done well.
- Tight storytelling
- Terrifying setting/ambiance
- Some neat new mechanics and puzzles
- Graphics iffy for the time period
- Combat nearly insufferable at the beginning
- Story influenced mostly by cutscene, not world interactivity