Elle Reviews: Silent Hill Downpour

Elle Reviews: Silent Hill Downpour

Where to begin?

How about here. I had four articles written, and I thought I was all set for a few weeks. Turns out, I ended up losing ALL THE DATA...So, now I have none. So please bear with me while I try to get my life in order and write a bit!

Once I discovered what happened, I was so angry that I couldn’t bring myself to write again for a while. I had to figure out what I could write on, that wasn’t something that has been beaten to death with Let’s Plays and whathaveyou.

So here we are. Let’s review:

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This little gem from Konami released in March 2012 and it was the seventh installment of the series. Generally hailed as one of the worst in the series, it opens up on a prisoner. We don’t really learn his name until a little later. However, the intro doesn’t stop us from engulfing ourselves in the gore. First order of business? Beat another inmate to death.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

As far as the graphics go, the game is pretty. Not up to today's normal standards, but for it’s time, it really was the top.

The music is very ambient and pretty. However, I find myself left wanting. The music was produced by Daniel Licht, a trip away from the usual Akira Yamoaka who had helmed music for the first six games. Unfortunately, it shows.

Differences made to the series are very apparent – the first thing I noticed was the fact that weapons regenerate if you happen to lose them. Camera angles are pretty strange, but that’s always been something different about Silent Hill. The game uses autosave, something never seen before in the series. Enter the “choice” system. While Silent Hill has always used the choices you make in the game to drive your ending, it’s always been in the background and hasn’t always been completely apparent. Very blatant indication of “Press A for yes and Press B for no” come on the screen, which takes away from the choices you make. Why not just let the player make the decision without a quick time? And what the hell is with the black hole monster that you have to run like hell to avoid? Also, Murphy, for the love of GOD please stop looking over your shoulder! It’s killing me!

All of this aside, the story line seems pretty solid. The small cast of characters are all intertwined in different ways, and depending on the ending you get, you get more information to the story.

In most of the Silent Hill games, the main character is a good guy stuck in the midst of bad choices or something they couldn’t avoid. This game is different. Murphy is not necessarily a bad person, but he has made some poor choices, starting with the inmate we are forced to kill in the beginning of the game, George Sewell, who is a convicted pedophile and child murderer. I can’t say I wouldn’t make the same decision if my child was murdered and I knew who did it. The reason given for why Murphy went to prison is that he “stole a cop car and drove it across state lines,” which sounds shifty to me. It doesn’t sound like something you’d be sent to prison for, but maybe I don’t know. He is then in cahoots with one of the other prison guards to have access to and kill George.

I didn’t care for the system of shiny items. I know that there has to be some indication as far as where things are to be picked up, but the system here kind of fails us. It doesn’t really tell you if you’re picking up a weapon, or a rock, or a rake. There’s no difference between them, and I feel like tossing down a wrench for a stick wasn’t a good use of processing power.

Now in the middle of the game there’s your usual mix of monsters, and after two games with no combat, it took a bit to get used to having a fighting system again. The “static” on the radio that you usually hear in the other games is gone, replaced by what Konami called a “rain system” in which it starts raining to let you know that enemies are near. I think this was definitely a terrible direction to go. Although intuitive, all of these items taking away from what the series is all about was distracting at best. Not knowing when the enemies are going to be around was also frustrating, as it got to the point where they were just coming out of nowhere and it wasn’t scary or exciting, just old.

I did appreciate keeping the old map system, with squiggles for where you’ve been and where you can’t go, as this map system has always been solid in my opinion. I also appreciate the fact that there are still many endings you can get and what the actual story is, is based on those endings. (Do yourself a favor and look up the Surprise! Ending.)

Speaking of endings, I would review them as I got three of the six, but there is so much information to review. Feel free to check out http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Silent_Hill:_Downpour and look for yourself. There’s so much information at this website for all the Silent Hill games. It’s a really wonderful site!

IGN gave this game a 4.5 out of 10 stars, and I fully agree. After playing through again I can definitely see why they didn’t like the game. It really wasn’t a Silent Hill game, other than the story taking place there. I think I would give this game 3 out of 5 stars. Definitely not my favorite, but overall, not the worst Silent Hill I’ve spent time playing.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading!!

All pictures copyrights owned by Konami. None are owned by me. No copyright infringement was intended.