Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Welcome back to Silent Hill.

It's been a long time coming but Silent Hill has finally arrived on next-gen platforms. Was it worth the wait? Well read on and find out.

Silent Hill Homecoming follows the story of Alex Shepard a soldier returning from war to his hometown of Shepard's Glen. However not all is what it seems. The town seems to be in a state of disarray and Alex's younger brother is missing. So Alex sets out to find his brother and it's not long before he finds out Silent Hill's involvement in all the problems with Shepard's Glen. Now as far as storyline goes there is good and bad. The storyline is solid however Homecoming borrows alot more from the sub par Silent Hill movie then it does from past Silent Hill games. This isn't to say Homecoming doesn't have a good story because it does but if you disliked the film you may be offput by all the similarities such as monsters the way the hell state appears. There are many more things to mention however I may be entering spoiler country by doing so. So lets leave it at that.

Visually the game is a bit mixed. The creatures look great and there is real time damage in place so as you slash at a creature you will see real time cuts and slashes appear on them. Most of the time Alex looks very detailed and great however there are a few instances in which he looks unfinished but they are few and far between. All other characters models however look unpolished and rough when compared to Alex. The fact that you will often see them on the same screen as Alex makes it that much more noticeable. The environments look pretty good most of the time and they look downright incredible during the Hell state. The transformation into the hell state was also handled very well. It is all in real time as the world peels away and the Hell state begins to show it self. Again very similar to the film.

This time around the combat system really allows you to fight back against the horrible creatures of Silent Hill. You can combo and dodge attacks as well as Counter attack and the like. Fire arms also are easier to use as they are far easier to aim. The combat system does take some getting used to and at first may seem a bit clunky however once you get the hang of it you will have no problems at all. The classic Radio and Flashlight return again and believe me when I say you WILL need them as Homecoming is a very dark game.

When it comes to sound design you are talking about Homecomings strongest point. The Voice acting is well done for most of the characters with no one standing out as horribly bad. But it's the sound you hear while around and about that makes this game. There always seems to be a tension in the air and hearing the white noise of the radio often adds to this as you near a enemy. Creature sounds are also very well done. Akira Yamaoka again did the soundtrack and once again delivers great music that fits the game very well especially in some of the boss encounters.

Overall Homecoming is a solid entry in the series but doesn't approach the level of the first 3 games which I consider to all be equally as masterful and are very much my favorite. If you are a fan of the franchise or a fan of survival horror in general it's certainly worth playing.

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