Silent Hill is back and it’s all a bit new this time around. Not only is it developed by an American team called Double Helix, it’s also the first next-gen version and with that comes some lovely HD graphics and a tweaked control system that makes your character much easier to control. In Homecoming, you play as Alex Shepherd a soldier returning to his hometown of Shepherd’s Glen on the search for his missing brother.
The place is a little bit scarier than Shepherd’s Bush but seems to have the same number of weirdos in it. Of course, things turn all ‘Silent Hellish’ as everything goes all rusty and metallic from time to time – a change they’ve taken from the movie of the same name.
Just because it’s on an HD console, don’t expect things to be all shiny. The game’s still as foggy and murky as it ever was and there’s a dirty film effect over all the cut scenes. This adds to the atmosphere, and it’s worth noting that sometimes Alex’s character looks like a real actor in some cut scenes. The detail on his face is incredible.
It’s good to see they’ve changed combat a bit too. Weapons don’t break after use which was an annoying addition to Silent Hill Origins on the PSP. You can also lock onto targets, avoid attacks and counter attack and there’s now no need to step on downed enemies to finish them off. Annoyingly, you can’t go into the menu to heal if you’re knocked down which can lead to a sudden death if you panic when you’re low on health.
Silent Hill is also renowned for its puzzles and they’re not very well spread out in this game. There are plenty near the end where you must fetch objects and place them in the correct places, but near the start you’ll just be faced with a couple of easy sliding puzzles. There’s also the old problem of having to try every door in a building in case a room contains an item you need. Silent Hill could do with a locksmith as most of the doors have convenient broken locks. Why don’t they just remove the doors you can’t go through?
Although this is instantly recognisable as a Silent Hill game in terms of look, sound and soundtrack, there’s just something missing by not having a Japanese developer making it really creepy. Other games have given me nightmares after switching off the console but it’s not the case here. The monsters are suitably weird and even Pyramid Head makes a cameo in a couple of places but it just doesn’t get in your head as much as previous games.
Still, I enjoyed playing Silent Hill Homecoming and if you like Silent Hill games, you will too. You can finish it in a day but there are plenty of reasons to play through again with collectables to find, alternate endings depending on decisions you make and new outfits for Alex.
Silent Hill: Homecoming gets 7 out of 10.
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