Review: Silent Hill Downpour

The moment has finally arrived–a new Silent Hill game is here. It’s not a prequel, or a re-imagining, no, it’s a full blown sequel on current generation consoles. Arriving to players four years after Silent Hill Homecoming, Silent Hill Downpour has made its way to the world. Is it a worthy sequel to a franchise deemed as art by many of its fans? Let’s see.

Silent Hill Downpour puts players in the role of Ryal State convict Murphy Pendleton. Like past protagonists before him, Murphy is pulled into the town because of his troubled past. During mid prison transfer, Murphy’s bus crashes off road on the outskirts of the foggy and mysterious town of Silent Hill. This is where his adventure begins.

Once control of Murphy is given to the player, one can see that he plays quite fluidly. Murphy moves with ease and escapes the annoying control constraints that a lot of survival horror games use and feel like they need to use. Downpour’s over-the-shoulder camera perspective especially pleases me because of its placing and angle. I’ve always been a stickler for the idea that a perfect player-cam can give the sense of depth and scale of the videogame world to players. Downpour is one of the only games to do this for me. During the later levels in the town and the Otherworld, the camera lends to the aesthetics and design in such a way that many scenes feel significant, but I’ll go into that further later on in this review.

Murphy is also one of the most talkative and passionate of the protagonist in the series. Finally we have a character that’s more vocal about the nightmarish things he has witnessed. Heather did this in Silent Hill 3, and I’m glad to see it return. I would have liked more dialogue on his part when observing objects and things in the environment (a la Shattered Memories), but his personality is very apparent and it feels good hearing him be terrified. If I personally got attacked by 20 monsters on my walk through town, I’d be sure to tell the next person I saw.

Instead of being stopped by an immovable traffic stop like protagonists before him, Murphy has more options to get through obstacles. Nathan Drake he’s not, but Murphy can slide between objects, walk across platforms and hop over a small ledge. It’s nothing acrobatic, but it’s so welcome and needed in a game releasing in 2012. Supernatural shackles can only extend so far.

The mechanics of Downpour give the player an option to partake in either fight or flight. Being a survival horror game, taking flight is a wise tactic to employ. Damaging a nice weapon with an unnecessary fight or holding off using the only pistol one finds after hours of play, is a feature that rings very well with the survival aspect of the genre. The first time I found a gun, I was excited, but held onto it for a long time for those crucial moments, in fear of wasting its handy power on one enemy. Downpour heavily emphasizes survival. When exploring the town of Silent Hill, random rainstorms come and go. If one decides to stay outside during a storm, they can expect more monsters with even more ferocious attacks. The good thing about the rain is that it does not happen every few minutes, so there is adequate time to explore, undisturbed. 

In a feature directly borrowed from Silent Hill Shattered Memories are the Otherworld chase sequences. Thankfully, all Otherworld visits are not just chases, they’re either-or, or a mixture of both. This balance between the two creates a much needed frantic element to accompany the slow and disturbing exploration of a nightmare come to life. These chase sequences have Murphy running from a red light called The Void. If Murphy gets too close to the being, his skin and clothes start to burn away while time slows. It’s a very nice effect and thankfully not frustrating like some similar sequences in Shattered Memories ended up to be. In my time with the chases, I did not get lost or reach any dead-ends. These sequences are designed to be frantic but not troublesome to the player.

Combat on the other hand is a mixed bag. While I do like the idea of using everyday objects as weapons, the execution is not 100%. Murphy can block attacks by enemies to avoid damage, and running is an option, but I think my issue with it is the camera perspective that it uses. The camera retreats to show more of the ground and the game sort of takes a brawler look to it. It just doesn’t look right to me. I do like the flow of it to an extent. Fighting an enemy is a risky endeavor, and while one can learn the right patterns to be able to take on one or two enemies comfortably, it still remains frantic. Despite this, it doesn’t feel as tight as it could be. I found myself holding down the left trigger to keep combat up-close and personal. Perhaps this was an intended “feature” to remedy this such preference. Overall, I think this method works with the game’s core principals of survival, but some more tweaking would have made it better.

I don’t want to be the one to overlook clunky combat simply because of the genre of the game, but it’s not bad enough to make me warn against it. It works in more cases than not, and it can lead to some fun fights if left to one or two enemies at a time. My big issue with the combat is the shooting. Using a gun is cumbersome and feels weak. A tiny reticule appears when guns are used and it moves around a bit to simulate inaccurate aiming skills. I think the concept of someone with no gun knowledge seeped too far into the gameplay aspect and made gunplay a bit sluggish. Although, it’s worth noting that gunplay is quite thin and melee is going to be the primary means of combat if one chooses to go up against an enemy. That’s no excuse, but I noticed these issues only when I used guns—which was fairly rare.

What I found to be a nice touch to Murphy’s exploration was the use of weapons as tools. Some areas require the right weapon to be used as a means to break away an obstacle or pull down a ladder. This was also used in Silent Hill Homecoming, but it was specific to just one exact weapon, not a variety that could be used for the same purpose. No longer can an ax be the only way to remove wooden barriers. It’s a small touch, but it makes the player reconsider which weapon to hold onto because of its other uses.

A new feature to the series is the inclusion of side-quests. I know, the word makes them seem so out of place and troublesome in a traditional Silent Hill game. But don’t worry. These extra missions are based off of finding an item not tied to the main story and simply finding its use. They lend to town exploration by having players find locations or items and using them to find resolution to a problem. These missions have their own interesting story bits and give the impression that the town’s everyday dirty secrets live on in the Otherworld. As Murphy, players can resolve someones issues from beyond. One such sequence has Murphy relocating stolen items for numerous people in an apartment building. Sound cues indicate that Murphy’s help might have transgressed into the real world. It’s a well developed idea and really gives the town more life.

Let’s move onto the design of the game’s levels and town. Since Downpour has brought back that aspect of exploring Silent Hill, the developers put an immense amount of detail to the streets and homes of the town. Silent Hill is beautifully crafted in all of its misery and desolation. Garbage litters the sidewalks and entrance to buildings. Homes and other structures have realistic placements. The town is dense with detail. It simply feels authentic and living (despite feeling dead and miserable at the same time).

The same level of detail is brought to Downpour’s unique Otherworld. In the past we’ve seen Otherworlds with blood and rust, fire, mold, and ice. Downpour’s Otherworld uses water to initiate transitions to a massive, detail rich moving machine hell. The set pieces for Downpour’s Otherworld are amazing. The world becomes a living machine filled with mechanisms, moving parts, pipes, and other oddities. Water pours off the walls and pools collect on the ceilings. Some areas are not even right-side up. Murphy can transition from walking on the ceiling of one room, only to end up back to normal in another room. Coupled with the game’s camera perspective, a strong emphasis on visual symmetry carries throughout the Otherworld.

The whole design brings about images from the Japanese film Tetsuo: The Iron Man. That visual of organic machinery is very evident when Murphy begins to see more and more of the Otherworld. The aspect of time and imprisonment also ring very clearly. Clocks and gears can be seen moving, the interior design of many locations feel like they’re inspired by 1950′s to the 1960′s, and doors and corridors feel lifted from maximum security prisons. I was truly impressed by this interpretation of the Otherworld. It’s much grander in scale but also awe-inspiring at some points.

The game’s use of lighting and color schemes also compliment the Otherworld. Shifts in dominant color tones appear and vary between rooms. Downpour is clearly the most vibrant of the games in the series and it works well. Exiting a red-tinted hall into a blue toned room is subtle but a nice visual treat that kept me interested in the Otherworld’s design.

Downpour’s environments are wonderfully crafted. Despite my small aversion to The Devil’s Pit, I found myself enjoying the layout and pacing of every new location. The locations feel important, detailed, and once alive. Perhaps this is the camera perspective again, but many of the game’s locations feel accurate in such a way that’s a bit complicated to describe. Let’s just say you get a good grasp at putting yourself into these locations. Spatially, they work for immersion.

Over the course of Murphy’s journey, he visits new locations different from the last. Along with the town exploration, this gives one the sense that a lot of care and precision was put into the the design of the game’s layout. Levels feel well balanced and aid the horror pacing that has been somewhat rare in modern horror games.

To accompany these environments is of course sound. Downpour, being a horror game—more importantly, a Silent Hill game–has to use sound design to its full potential. With long time composer and sound designer Akira Yamaoka gone from the series, Downpour had to get someone new to fill the shoes of the creepy-ambient-sound-guy. Thankfully, Nathan McCree was put on the job. I feel like he needs a shout-out for his work.

I played the majority of the game in surround sound and I was really happy with all the subtle audio cues and underlying tracks. The use of eerie tracks at-tune to something found in an old horror film from the 60′s or 70′s. The absence of sound is also used in some scenes and I found it to work nicely.

I found myself very pleased with the sound design of Downpour–It’s incredibly atmospheric and well layered. Daniel Licht’s score also plays very well with the scenes they accompany. I mentioned in my review of the game’s OST that the tracks are good for playing during scenes but not necessarily on their own as standalone songs to jam to. This still rings true, but that does not mean they’re anything less than good. They work extremely well when in context. My only gripe with the music was the lack of vocal tracks. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn can only be heard within one track. Her absence was disappointing to say the least.

Now comes for my disappointments with the game. For starters, I feel that Downpour’s monster designs are not very good. They come off as very generic and not scary. They feel uninspired and simply try to be scary because they’re not human, or because they have sharp parts that can hurt you. I would have expect abstract designs that leaves one to question how such anatomy works and functions, but for the most part Downpour’s creature roster is the weakest aspect of the game. I am quite fond of The Doll, though. Although humanoid like the rest of the creatures, this monster has a nice design and means of attacking Murphy. The Screamer, the most prevalent enemy type in the game, are covered in low resolution textures and are simply not scary to me. I’m sure the designs will scare people, but I enjoy being disturbed by walking abominations that hurt to think about.

Without getting into too much detail about the story, I have say that I quite enjoyed it. The ending might be confusing to those who don’t follow the lore and mythos of the series very closely, but there is a nice, although underplayed, twist. I felt like it raised a lot of questions because I understood it, but would a newcomer to the series understand it? No, I’m not being elitist. It’s simply something that accentuates the game’s story, but requires some background knowledge to fully understand why or what is has been experienced. Figuring this out successfully leads to more questions. I felt like this could have been done better to accommodate someone who doesn’t understand how the town itself works (as much as one can confidently say they understand the powers of Silent Hill).

Out of the several characters seen within the game, I do think some are underused. While one’s appearances seem thin purposely to raise questions, I think there was room to further develop the personal experiences of some of the other characters. One such character brought up such compelling questions only to never return. Was this intentional? I hope so, because I’m very interested to see where that was going. There was also a sequence that accompanies said twist, but I felt that it was cut short and could have played as significantly as it felt emotionally to the story.

I’ve seen a few complaints about technical issues with the game, but I have not experienced many problems myself. Perhaps this is an unfortunate difference between the two console versions. The only glitch that bothered me was an odd framerate stutter when Murphy enters an area that needs to stream-load. The stutter only lasts for about a second, but requires you to avoid moving around too quickly back and forth between the load zone. It makes movement unrecognizable, but it lasts very briefly.

There’s one section of the game that is really questionable, because it pretty much forces you to fight enemies while trying to solve a puzzle. It goes against everything the game has been and taught you and feels terribly out of place. Thankfully it’s not very long compared to all of the good things about the game.

Silent Hill Downpour takes the cake. As a Silent Hill fan, I am so excited that this game turned out to be so good. I really feel that Konami now has the near-perfect mold to use to continue the series rather than starting from scratch for every new entry. The gameplay rings true to the survival horror genre that the series originated from. The game is tense, disturbing, beautiful to look and listen to, and feels like the worthy sequel that fans have been waiting for. Downpour borrows elements from throughout the series and combines said aspects into a wonderful package that I intend to replay numerous times.

It may suffer from some technical bugs and generic monsters, but the game has fulfilled so many things that I have wanted to see from this series on current gen consoles. Being allowed to explore the town really sold me. Filling that town, and the Otherworld, with striking ambiance and the glimmers of memories of both Murphy and residents of the town makes the game feel bigger in scale while remaining an isolated horror adventure. Despite the issues with the game, I feel they are outweighed by how much this game did right. This Silent Hill fan feels right as rain.

9/10

  • StuntmanSnake

    The wait is killing me!!!

    Great review, Carl’s Jr.

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Nope. 100th episode.

    • Sebastian

      awesome review, cant wait to get some downpour!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=534401298 Joseph M Crespo

    Awesome review man. I can’t wait to play this. What’s even more awesome is that it’s supposed to rain on Tuesday. How fitting!

    • Earthbound_X

      It was real foggy where I lived the day Homecoming came out, haha.

      • Bryan

        The day i beat homecoming, the next day i got up and there was thick fog outside….i had to walk to school, so i had to walk through it…:( it was dark out too, cause i lived in alaska…

  • http://silenthillhistoricalsociety.com/ Whitney

    GREAT review Cj! I loved that you touched upon the sound design and how a non Silent Hill fan might see the game. I’m a little sad you found the monsters less than great. I didn’t think I could be more excited playing this game but really your review has just made me more antsy for it to be Tuesday!

  • Arthur Ribeiro

    As a Silent Hill fan, I couldn’t be more happy with this review. I mean, a new Silent Hill game that is truly great, and a true return to the serie’s roots. This is so awesome, and makes me even MORE excited to play it! Also, this was a very good review, CJ! Keep up the good work!

  • http://twitter.com/MarlonReyes Marlon Reyes

    Very good review. Seems like Vatra really has touched upon the series roots with some small changes for today’s standards. I can’t wait to get my copy of the game!

    May I ask what console version you were playing?

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      I mention that in the review–xbox version

      • http://twitter.com/MarlonReyes Marlon Reyes

        Thanks for the heads up CJ! I was just curious because it wasn’t mentioned which version was reviewed at all; just up until now.

        I hope I’m not coming off as a jerk :(

        • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

          I had mentioned pressing the “left trigger”, guess you missed it. Yup, Xbox!

          You’re not! :)

          • http://twitter.com/MarlonReyes Marlon Reyes

            You’re right about that lol. My fault on that part x__x!

            I really hope that both versions perform really well, but knowing that it does has its hiccups (small ones to say the least), which don’t sound game breaking at all.

            Can’t wait to get mine on Tuesday :)!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cory-M-Goldberg/530810818 Cory M. Goldberg

    great review. But I always the found the sorroundings and music (or lack of music) to be scary rather than monsters in SH games some of time.

  • Xander

    I really can’t wait now. I’ve read a couple other reviews of this game, but it’s always good to hear the opinion of a fellow fan. I love that the world is so detailed and realistic. I felt that Homecoming was severely lacking in that department. I really look forward to playing and replaying this game for a long time!

  • Ahmad S. Al-Hamily

    fair review CJ. I like the way go about mentioning the ups and downs.

    Thank you so much for your effort

  • Levito

    Man I hope the technical issues aren’t ps3 specific….

    Great review CJ, for the longest time I didn’t think I would get this game, but your review along with some recently building excitement have convinced me to pick the game up.

    • http://twitter.com/MarlonReyes Marlon Reyes

      Seems that the technical hiccups are on both unfortunately from what I’ve read in some reviews, but me, I’m just worried about how each console version performs in general

  • Sad_mena

    I thinks it’s a stupid review

    • Spibmeister

      ok gollum

      • Virtual Visor (Mesmerizer)

        ok searching for bobby fischer

        • Spibmeister

          oh noes!

  • Ariessiren

    ive seen other reviews score it 7 or above so i knew it was going to be good. the game makes the town the main character in the game and thats how its supposed to be. vatra knew what they were doing. they understand the series. im very excited for tuesday and i havent been this excited since fatal frame 3 came out. great review!!! destructoid gave it an 8/10 and they are always accurate just like rely on horror. only 2 reviews that matter!!! :)
    im coming murphy!!!

  • Ryan

    nice to hear a review from a fan i’m stoked to get this tuesday , its gotten pretty good scores across the board so far (8,7,7.5) unfortunately ign gave it a 4.5 which. judging by the scores so far, is unjustifiably low.. hopefully this doesnt hurt the games sales

  • Ariessiren

    looking forward to your “i am alive” review too. that one is scoring highs and lows. looking forward to your take on it. thanks CJ!!

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Idk why everyone thinks that’s a horror game. It’s strictly survival last I checked. I won’t be playing it for review anytime soon, sorry.

  • http://twitter.com/yukishiido Yuki / Brandon

    Question: are the red flashes still present whenever you’re hit during combat? I found them quite distracting in the gameplay videos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/goku.bu Ahmed Hassan

    great review i enjoyed it gonna play the game in june after my semester exams but CJ u never told us about other characters :)

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Spoilers

  • Ty

    I’m glad you liked it. I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • Ross Ingram

    Good review CJ. I can’t wait to play Downpour, but won’t be until Friday going by the UK date.

    At least I havethe Metal Gear HD Collection to keep me going. Replaying Snake Eater has brought back a lot of good memories. I also just realised Young Ocelot was played by Spectacular Spiderman’s Josh Keaton :) Looking forward to the Silent Hill HD Collection doing the same.

  • Bob Terwilliger

    Very in-depth review. I’m glad SH fans seem to like the game.

    Did you try out the difficulty settings for the puzzles? Any chance you could describe how they work?

  • JORGWORLDCHAMPI

    cj, are you sure 9 is the right score for downpour? really? generic monster, graphics not-so-good but acceptable, weak combat…is not excuse for a game (a survival game) be mediocre in those aspects, this game for me, maybe not for you, is 7.0 or maybe a 6.5…seriously…i’m not a creepy hater or something like that, but if i love silent hill was for the first four games; keiichiro toyama is a real genius, only a person like him could make a freaky and scary game as first SH…and you know, the second one is even better, but i can’t understand why konami chance to another develop groups to do new sh when team silent do extremely well the past games….that’s insane!

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      The game did so much right in the appropriate categories that it really appealed to me as a Silent Hill game. It has its flaws, but it felt like a true successor to the series.

      Again, I prefer for people to hold onto the words of a review more so than a numerical value. I loved the game and am happy to see the right stuff finally return. I look forward to seeing them build off of these mechanics next time.

    • Earthbound_X

      Team Silent has been dead for over 5 years, they aren’t gonna come back.

      • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

        I’d be so thrilled if Ito came back for monster design. He’s perfect, and after Downpour’s lackluster monster roster, we could use him back again.

        • Earthbound_X

          I’ve yet to play Downpour, so I don’t have an opinion, I just hate it when people keep bringing up Team Silent, they are gone, they need to accept it and move on.

          • PaulSlater

            Actually a large part of Team Silent created Siren: Blood Curse just less than 4 years ago. I thought it was a great game. Really frightening.

          • Earthbound_X

            Yeah, Blood Curse was good, way better then the first Siren game.

            The first Siren was just too frustrating to be fun to me.

          • Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma

            We can do that, but I don’t get why do they keep calling games “SH”, if they’re not anymore!, that’s just lame!

          • Earthbound_X

            Since I posted that comment, I have played Downpour, and I loved it, great SH game. Team Silent is gone, and they are still SH games.

      • Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma

        Though we’d die to see Team Silent come back

    • Li

      I think this comment is INCREDIBLY sad. Really? You think “acceptable” graphics and monster design and combat (which has always, always, always sucked in Silent Hill) are reason enough to give a game the gaming world’s equivalent of two stars?

      Come on. Story, atmosphere, replayability, and general overall enjoyment trump the very shallow concerns you’ve listed as vital.

      Having beaten the game and loved, loved, looooved it, I’m with CJ on this.

      Also, lololol “Team Silent”. As if we’ve ever had more than three of the same people working on the Japanese-developed games anyway. There IS no “Team Silent” and the members all left on their own, not because Konami made any kind of decision.

      • Rely

        you dont have standards

    • Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma

      So true!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pablog19 Pablo Pabgo Gonzalez

    do you have credits so i can see who was in charge of the creature design?

  • PrematureBirth

    I personally think that Downpour’s monsters are a tad bit better than Silent Hill 4′s.

    • Li

      Agreed on this. I miss the monsters from SH2 and SH3, but they’re certainly not the way monsters were handled throughout the entire series.

      Oddly? I think color is part of the problem. The more monsters are all a generic fleshy color, the more they feel “like Silent Hill” to me. Even within SH3, I found the bandaged dogs a little weird.

      I think the all-one-color design has the effect of making the monster’s bizarre nature more apparent. “It looks like a man, it moves a little bit like a man, but that is no man.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Joestar-Miotto/1418588864 Marco Joestar Miotto

      You said right. In YOUR opinion. IGN is not able to rate this game expecially if we see that the reviewer thought the composer of downpour is still Akira Yamaoka. Good review CJ Melendez!

  • http://twitter.com/Nekroido Nekroido

    The wait is almost over. Thank you for such detailed review, CJ!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1230244270 Matthew Schlotman

    Awesome review, mate! Glad to hear your honest opinions. Sounds like a lot of effort went into the town itself, which is great, but a little to little for the monsters…..

    Looking forward to this. IGN be damned

  • Nick Greene

    your review is better than IGN lol (not surprised)

  • Johny K

    Great! Hope it comes tomorrow! IGN… LICK MY BUTTCRACK.

  • Henrik

    If one shall believe IGN review this game is a failure.

    Luckly I never payed heed to game reviews in the past of any sort.

    If had listened to all reviewers out there I probably had missed a few game gems out there.
    If I want a game I just buy it.

  • Hunting_games

    great review , but i have played the game as well and did not like it a bit silent hill is going down just like Final Fantasy and CoD, games arent what they used to be

  • Ty

    I’m glad I came here before I stumbled over to IGN. Jesus.
    I got to hurry up and get the game to see who’s review is more justified.

    I’ve got my money on CJ.

  • Ahmad S. Al-Hamily

    Got to played through it for a while and from what’ve experienced IGN is WRONG but I’m soooo damn tired to finish it at one go I’ll do that tomorrow XD

    And Murphy is really something everyone

  • MonkeyShadow

    Is it right that the game have tendency to make the Xbox 360 heat ?
    Nevermind, I’m gonna take it in day one (sorry for my english, I speak french ^^)

  • Bromeus

    The glitchyness and screen tearing really hurts the game. but if you can get past that it’s actually really quite good. Mind you I have the ps3 version, not sure how the xbox version is, but the ps3 has a lot of choppy moments and slowdown during some loading.

    7/10

    • Michael

      Xbox has a couple laggy moments, but i found that installing the game fixes it 100%

      • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

        On my second playthough that laggy thing is happening a bit moreso and it has always been installed. Might be a caching issue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cory-M-Goldberg/530810818 Cory M. Goldberg

      it happens in both versions :(

  • chris1138

    Can anyone confirm if the 360 version has surround sound? I bought it on the PS3 and it does not.

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Played on 360 with my Astros. Pretty sure that was surround sound as I put it on 5.1.

      How does the PS3 version not have surround sound? Woah.

      • chris1138

        My receiver only recognizes 2 audio channels, it forces it out of all the speakers, but that’s not real surround sound

  • Michael

    Silent hill Downpour is an outstanding game in every way in my opinion. Yes the monster design wasnt great, but you could easily see what you were about to fight better than any other game in the series. Not to mention the same techniques used in the other games (like fighting every enemy with the same methods) has changed. The enemies are great and you kno while playing this game that turning any corner could mean certain death. 9.5/10

  • Lightshox

    How does Konami dick taste?

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Ask my NeverDead review.

  • Ronald Delgado

    Hi, nice review. Is it true that the Otherworld almost never appears in Downpour? The Otherworld is one of the things I like the most in Silent Hill. Are the Otherworld moments cool? Thanks!

  • Ccrogers15

    Personally i did not like downpour. In my opinion its the worst SH ever made, and its got mixed reviews from all major reviewers, and IGN panned it totally.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marco-Joestar-Miotto/1418588864 Marco Joestar Miotto

      You said right. In YOUR opinion. IGN is not able to rate this game expecially if we see that the reviewer thought the composer of downpour is still Akira Yamaoka. Good review CJ Melendez!

  • Bro

    wow if this gets a 9 what the fuck does amnesia gets, get your facts right.

  • DieHardjagged

    This Game seems to have gotten mixed Reviews since it got around 65% on Metacritic i think.
    But I have in Mind everytime, that Godhand also got a super low Ranking on IGN and it was Super Fun to play it for me, so i cant rely on Reviews anymore.
    But first im gonna read this Review and then rent the Game to see it for myself.
    (If my local Rent Store even has it)
    Cheers

  • Li

    SPOILERS, WARNING, SPOILERS

    I think a lot of the stuff about how the monsters work is done very well — you’ve got an enemy that paralyze you, an enemy that is essentially invisible, an enemy that can ambush you and then leap away to hide out on the ceiling… I’ll agree about the low-res look to the Screamer, though. Don’t know what that’s about. And then we’ve got three separate prison-themed enemies, which seems like overkill even in a situation like Murphy’s. Plus, while it’s certainly very CONSISTENT and THEMATIC, it’s still a little sad that for the last hour of the game we’re in an area where almost all we have is prison-themed enemies; it makes the early game’s variety seem like a distant pleasant memory.

    …Anyway. I think most of the design elements are good, but that the visuals fall short. I imagine the design team had something in mind for the Screamer, the Doll, and the Weeping Bat, metaphorically, because even Homecoming’s team had metaphors in mind. But it’s a shame not to know what they are, especially when their shapes are so distinct and obvious.

    But yeah. _Vaguer_ monster designs would’ve been appreciated. I like the horrifying anatomy and weird fleshiness of SH2′s, SH3′s, and SH:Homecoming’s monsters. I thought the lame single-monster of Shattered Memories was disappointing, and doing all humanoid monsters is bound to evoke that in a game that also semi-borrows chase sequences (thankfully better-implemented, this time around, and generally much less confusing) and over-the-shoulder glances.

    END SPOILERS.

    Ah, well. I loved everything else. This game was such aces. If only the technical problems had been smoothed over, I just know it would be getting high ratings everywhere.

    • Li

      –Dammit, I forgot to add the rest of my thoughts.

      SPOILERS BELOW THIS LINE AHHH SPOILERS RUNNNN

      I actually don’t think the endings will be hard to understand for new players. (At least, not the three I’ve seen: “Reversal”, “Forgiveness”, and “Full Circle”.) I think the general trope employed is firmly ingrained into our cultural subconscious, and that the way other characters talk about the town helps. Anne Marie’s dialogue to Murphy on the boat is a good deal less ambiguous than Angela’s comments to James on the burning staircase. The idea that Silent Hill punishes the people who come to it — that everyone is living their own version of hell — is very clear by the end of the game.

      END SPOILERS

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1231556492 Ioannis Mproumas

    One of the best of the series.That comes from someone who has been playing the games since the first one came out,back in 2000-2001 and who loves Homecoming and the original trilogy

  • Asd

    I’m playing the game in a 55″ 3D TV, and believe me, this game looks amazing. There are places that are so real, so detailed, the lighting, the textures, the absolute attention to details is awesome.

    Yes, it has all the described issues, and flawled combat system, but I don’t care, I want to see ALL the scary places that this game has to offer.

    Oh, some puzzles are a wonder of twistedness ;) The Hansel & Gretel play is something you have to see to believe, so simple, so effective in create a scary, SCARY experience.

    Do yourself a favor and buy this game, you won’t be dissapointed. =)

  • Tenebrifer

    A friend of mine got this game. From what I saw, there was no psychological horror, just plain “jump scares” and for that alone, I would not buy the game. And the main character is no longer someone normal that the average guy can relate to, he seems very artificial, “fake” and just not convincing at all. And worse of all, he is a badass. Unlike James, who also committed a crime, but it was so convincing, so emotional and well written that SH2 is still one of the best games of the genre. What will people say about Murphy ten years from now? Nothing good. And also, the otherworld transitions seems to have been inspired by the SH movie and that’s bad too. The aesthetics of the game were also a problem for me. Sometimes it is just too pretty and stylish when it comes to otherworld environment… and the otherworld madness in those places seem artificial in some parts, very “stylish” and pretty…unlike the first three games. SH is still dead for me.

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      You should try playing it first.

      • Tenebrifer

        Yeah, you are right…I’m kinda willingly to be in Silent Hill again, you know…during the PS1 and PS2 era I “lived” in that place, lol. The thing is that I saw my friend playing it and felt like I was in the atmosphere of one of the Batman games for some reason…loved batman games, just dont like that feel in SH. Its better to give it more chances, yes.

  • Flauros

    Don’t trust a review from someone who classes their favorite SH games as 2-4, generic!

    • Oscar Iván Hernández Ledesma

      Why? I think SH4 was the best-alternative SH game … All the others after them, just didn’t worth the matter

      • Xoanon

        Silent Hill 4 is great; truly disturbing.

  • Peter Robertson

    I like this review, but the score at the end doesn’t seem quite justified by what you say about the game. With so many points against it, it still scores a 9? This doesn’t leave much room for improvement should the next game have none of the problems described.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Redsixer Andreas Ratzmann

    Cj your review is a little bit overdrawn.The Issues are to much and the
    Sound was not scary at any time of the game.Give a Game that have really
    many technical problems 9/10 points is stupid because next titles maybe have the same issues since guys like you give thoose games to much credit.Also i think your private time with the konami producers was a little bit to much ;-)dont understand me wrong.Downpour wasnt that bad but also it wasnt that good.Technical issues must be recognize in
    professional reviews.This cannot be because Publishers and developers
    need to get feel the angry of her owners.It is really a mess and
    unacceptable to launch unfinished games.You give them Money for failure to provide performance.Reviews like thoose makes me angry.Maybe you were paid
    for this unacceptable review.Also i cant understand many people like
    the sound.Akiras sound was really the most scary that i ever heard and
    than this game.Tomb Raider or Dead Space has scrarier sounds.Past titles
    was known for his creepy sound and now tz,i cant understand this.I m
    from germany,sorry my english needs improvement ;-) Have a nice day Cj
    and think about it.

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Think about an allegation of being payed, right. Because this site is that influential?

      Reviews are opinion. Like I have said before, my first playthrough with the game was in two sittings. The lag issue did not effect me that much (as I said in the review). It was only upon my second playthrough, post review, that the technical issues started to be more apparent. The second time was not in two sittings, I came back to the game on and off. The issues were much more apparent.

      If my opinion is unacceptable, then you’re free to disagree. Reviews are based on how much the writer enjoyed the game. In this case, I enjoyed the game very much. It delivered what I wanted in a modern SH game and more. It also provided a template which I think should be used for future games. It is a massive step in the right direction, to me.

      My review will not change sales, it will not tell you that you are wrong. It is just my opinion.

      Had the current technical issues that I face when I play the game on and off, had occurred, I would have mentioned it. It is far worse when played in smaller intervals. Perhaps a loading/saving issue. I don’t know. My review is based on my first playthrough and I had a lot of fun. That’s that.

    • Destiny

      With exceedingly few exceptions, I have not seen games consistently released without technical errors. However, this does not really count into the game scores that I want to read about, since the ones that focus on technical prowess generally give kudos to infinitely rehashed games like Madden 870, Halo 49, and Call of Duty: Nowhere Left to Invade. They do not see the inherent value in independent developers, new studios, or niche games with a cult following. If you are looking for a review that simply nods and agrees with you, please head over to GameTrailers.com.
      As for the sound, Akira quit. He was not fired, he was not replaced, he was not a victim. He has been doing Silent Hill for a decade, and he wanted to do something else. There are no bad guys in this story- he wanted out, so he left. Konami did the best they could to give us something new. If you are upset about Akira leaving, imagine for a moment how disingenuous it would have been to hire someone else to do the exact same sound profile. If Akira has to be gone, I am glad they went in a new direction. I would be offended if they had simply tried to recreate Akira without him actually being an influence in the game. If you are looking for Team Silent/Akira sympathizers, there is a “perfect” place for you, but you’ll have to find them on your own.
      Accusing someone of being a corporate shill simply because you don’t agree with them is childish. CJ was not paid to review this, or there would have been a disclaimer at the beginning of the article letting you know. I have never known CJ to be paid for any form of review on any product, so you;re safe in that respect. As for time with the studio? He is influential in the gaming community, has been a loyal fan, and has never suggested that Tomm go die in a fire on social platforms. Making asinine statements about how being rewarded for dedication by a game studio obviously clouds CJ’s judgement sounds petty and jealous. You are hopefully above that.

      I am not trying to say that you are an awful person, but I do hope that in the future you will not attack someone’s ethics and try to stomp out their enthusiasm just because you have a different opinion. There were plenty of reviewers that hated Downpour and are saving their kneepads for a Team Silent revival. Go find them if that’s what you want. No one here is joining their ranks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Redsixer Andreas Ratzmann

        I m not a i want team Silent back or i want akira back guy. but i cant understand why give games that have extremely technical issues so high scores.My problem is not that Yamaoka isnt back,my problem is that there are no creepy sounds or music in this game but this is silent hill,silent hill is a horror game and not only a drama game.Silent Hill is known for his great dark and creepy sounds and now that is also gone.No ambiente sounds,no noises no nothing when you walk in the town of silent hill.And i know that Akira is not fired ok that was not what i said and also i know that gametrailers review.Devin and Tomm talk about this game.devin said i hope you dont like the game because this isnt a team silent game and then they released a unfinished game.they talk and talk why is this and this and then they released a unfinished game and they wonder about the bad critics.Also the hd collection.This is a mess.Tomm said in some interviews that was not the final finished code for the game or something but that is not an excuse.Thoose games must be tested before launch.I ll payed money for this and i want a finished game.I m not going in a restaurant and eat a salami pizza without salami.thoose guys are assholes and nothing else.I dont hate downpour.i also have fun with that game but thoose things are not acceptable.Dont give them to much credit for unfinished things,that is my problem.This guy dont deserve this because they make us buy the game and know this game isnt finished.

        • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

          It’s not acceptable for games to be released unfinished, but like I said a few times now, the biggest technical issues with the game did not make themselves apparent until I finished my first playthrough and the review was done.

          I still enjoy the game a lot.

          I also reviewed the HD Collection on a lower scale because it was missing a lot of stuff than fans come to expect. But for a newcommer, the missing features would not bother them too much, only the few technical flaws (on Xbox).

          If I had reviewed the PS3 version of the HD Collection before the patch, I would have given it something around a 4 or 5/10. It’s a mess.

  • http://twitter.com/OVERLORD_RAHL Ross Ingram

    Just posting a comment here after linking with my Twitter. Most popular post :)

  • Angela

    THIS GAME IS FUCKING AWESOME !! YES PROFANITY NEEDED !

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.petrovas Nick Petrovas

    The funny thing is that I have just finished the game and everything you said is true.Congrats to your site and your great reviewers.The game was great and as you mentioned the series has gotten itself a great foundation before venturing into the next gen.I would suggest that they leave Vatra make the new one they deserve a chance to make up for the things they didn’t nail. If they take what we have here and make scarier less anatomically accurate monsters they have will have my attention.The atmosphere in Downpour with the scarier monsters of the first games would make get this on day 1.

    • http://relyonhorror.com/ CJ Melendez

      Thanks, Nick! I appreciate the comment. I agree, Downpour is a great game in a series that too many people want to fail or expect it to.