Silent Hill Downpour and HD Collection technical gaffes frustrating owners (Update)

Update: The Playstation 3 patch is now live. Konami has announced this news via its Silent Hill Facebook page. The patch only address the Playstation 3 version despite the Xbox 360 also suffering–albeit a bit less than the Playstation 3 version was. How’s it working out for you guys?

The latest games in the Silent Hill series are no strangers to graphical hiccups and glitches.  Long ago, when RoH first launched I noted in my Silent Hill Homecoming review, that the game suffered from some serious glitches that almost ruined the experience.  When a game stutters, it’s aggravating, but no big deal.  When it flat out freezes,  fails to load new areas or stutters to the point of unplayability, it’s causes controller-destroying frustration.  It appears that Silent Hill Downpour and the Silent Hill HD Collection have their own collection of technical gaffes.

A number of fans across the web are expressing that frustration (not with broken controllers) with Silent Hill Downpour on the Playstation 3 and the Silent Hill HD Collection.  Myself included – mind you that my console of choice for Downpour is an old launch PS3 and it might be reaching the end of its life span *sniff*.

Some major sites in their reviews of Downpour and the HD Collection have highlighted the game’s graphical hiccups while others might have glossed over them. So why the difference?  This is something people want to know about.

If you haven’t picked it up yet or are debating, here are some issues that you should know about.  In some instances the problems are pretty severe, in others just a mild annoyance.

Reported Issues – Silent Hill Downpour

At times when out in the town going from one area to the next lags the game up for several seconds.  Instead of having a loading screen between areas, the game is more open – unfortunately because the game is loading the new area, it glitches up and lags.  There’s no other way to explain this.  It lags like a crappy internet connection.

Some users have noted that this increases on the second and third playthroughs while others have noticed a much smoother experience.

"Freeze! Aahaha, just kidding!"

Additionally (and unfortunately) the game is full of small graphical hiccups like pop-ups and issues with shadows.  Sometimes they add to the experience, for example enemies animations freezing up to give them a much more freaky effect but for the most part they do not. In IGN’s review, they reported that the game would straight-up freeze, which is another glitch a lot of users are facing.  There was one instance where Murphy froze, but the rest of the game didn’t.  Enemies still attacked, but no damage incurred.  The game could still pause, and eventually needed to be reloaded.

Another glitch involved some collision detection, where when exploring a house Murphy was struck (you could hear the strike and Murphy grunt)  and instantly died.  Scared the hell out of me, but for the wrong reasons.

The following video shows off some of the glitches in the game, including a ‘chair geyser.’  Which is actually pretty damned funny.  However it also looks at a major Easter Egg after the chair geyser…so…SPOILER WARNING!

Reported Issues Silent Hill HD Collection

There are also issues in the SH HD collection with graphical hiccups and freezing, however a commonly found complaint is that the the graphics appear blurry and stretched.

One user on the Silent Hill Community forums went into detail on a number of issues s/he found.  Here’s a snippet:

The fog effect is questionable at times
When encountering the first Lying Figure, we can see through the end of the tunnel on the other side.  There’s nothing there except the ground clipping off and ending.  When first meeting Maria, the fog becomes disabled midway through the cutscene, allowing you to clearly see Toluca Lake and anything beyond it.  Problem is, there’s nothing beyond it so the world just kind of clips off and “ends.”  Related, the boating rope that cuts off and stops in mid-air (because we can see where it goes now sans fog.

No depth-of-field transition
The post-processing effect that makes things blurry based on distance has no transtiion.  It jumps straight from in focus directly to out-of-focus, making a seam where the transition should be.  A quick example is when the roller coaster comes towards Heather at the very beginning [of SH3]

Audio stops after meeting Claudia
If you stand still (or don’t progress further up the hallway) the music cuts off completely after about a minute or so.

Some users have complained of butchered sound, but this might be an instance of taste rather than a technical issue.  However in some instances the sound lags during cutscenes and the music volume doesn’t drop for dialogue.  Other music and sound effects have a rather short, noticeable loop to them that some fans found irritating.

According to Tomm Hulett, Konami is releasing a patch for the PS3 edition for the HD Collection that will the sync, framerate and sound issues. It is stated that it will be available shortly.  Unfortunately, there’s no news about any other patches being released at this time.

Have you had any issues with the game?  Make yourself heard in the comments section or head over to the forums to share with other fans!

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