Developer: Double Helix Games
Release Date: 9/30/2008
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Silent Hill was one of the first survival horror series that was 3D along with Resident Evil, Clock Tower, Alone in the Dark, and Parasite Eve. While Resident Evil and Silent Hill became more successful Silent Hill still remains the most frightening survival horror series ever made. Homecoming is no exception with lots of fog and lighting effects, unbelievably freaky creatures, a great story with lots of plot twists, and a new and improved combat system. I have to first mention that there are so many little things in this game for hardcore SH fans such as homages to the movie (which most of this game is based on) such as the “Otherworld peeling” effect, barbed wire in the church, ash/snow, the Grand Hotel, and the nurses. There are references everywhere that mention famous horror authors, horror movies, etc. Most people may never find these but they are there such as the streets being the last names of famous horror authors.
This is really great and thankfully Konami kept all of this in mind for fans, but what if you’ve never played an SH game before? Well, then you came in at a great time. Most people’s concern is if the game has the same creepy atmosphere and it does. There are fewer “out of the closet” scares however because the game concentrates more on the sheer atmosphere. Everything is dark and creepy, and we have the same spooky unnerving sound effects and music that we’ve grown to love. The combat system is what I was mainly concerned about. Gone are the fixed camera angles and tank controls. The game controls very well in a third-person-style action game. You lock on to enemies and use light and heavy attack combos to kill them. This may be very repetitive and simple, but it’s better than being broken. Shooting is easier as well because you know to control the gun in a Resident Evil 4 way.
Also introduced are button pressing sequences and this helps to the intensity because if you don’t do this properly you could die and the game is totally up to you. Also new is a way to control the outcome of the story. Certain moments in the game have you make a choice and this will decide your ending (there are 5 altogether). There are a good amount of weapons to pick up such as knives, pipes, axes, shotguns, pistols, rifles, etc. Nothing we haven’t seen in an SH game before, but you have to decide which weapon is best for which enemy.
If you want to go the story side it’s good and it’s here. You are a man named Alex Shepard who comes home from being in a war and everyone in Sheperd’s Glen is missing (just outside Silent Hill) and his brother Josh is missing. You must find the deep secrets of Silent Hill and why your brother went missing. There are tons of plot twists and it’s probably one of the better less confusing stories. The puzzles in Silent Hill are still weird and confusing as ever. I had to get a FAQ for almost every single one because they require you to write down stuff and rattle off riddles in your head and…well…they’re still confusing. The game is a bit short, however, and you can beat the game in about 8-10 hours depending on how you play.
There is plenty of replay value thanks to the multiple endings, different costumes, and new weapons you can find after you beat the game. There are also collectibles to find such as drawings, photos, and serums to unlock achievements. The game is just very well put together, but you can tell the developers didn’t do anything risky with the formula. It’s pretty safe and basic, but you’ll want to visit Silent Hill again thanks to the excellent story, voice acting, graphics, atmosphere, new enemies, and the button pressing sequences and not to mention the humongous disgusting boss fights! If you love survival horror this is probably the best one of the year so far (Alone in the Dark was almost a disaster).