Saturday, April 9, 2011

Game Review: Silent Hill Homecoming

I’ve heard a lot of bad reviews with Silent Hill Homecoming, but I really like this game. Call me a graphical snob, but I find it far more scary to fight things that look like monsters when, compared to say, Silent Hill 1, when I fought a bunch of eight-bit pixels.

Fighting is the key word in this review, and this is a big aspect of the game that most critics and I will disagree with. Unlike other Silent Hill games, you can actually fight in this one-and win. I like the new combat system. Most critics don’t, their reasons being that Silent HIll is a horrible town filled with monsters, and to have a fighting chance diminishes that fear. It is far more atmospheric to run from the monsters than to actually fight them off.

Well, unfortunately I like to actually be able to play the game. I like to survey my surroundings. I don’t like running from room to room without having a chance to explore it, and having to respawn every ten seconds because a swipe from one monster took three quarters of my life bar. That’s not terrifying. That gets really annoying very fast (and also coincidently why I have not reviewed Silent Hill 3 yet). 

Anyway, this game takes place in Shephard’s Glen (yes, not Silent Hill again, but there’s actually a legitimate reason this time). You play as Alex Shepard-

Okay, seriously, how many games need to have a main protagonist with the name ‘Alex’? I can think of six now off the top of my head:

Alex Munro-Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Elite Force
Alex Mercer-Prototype
Alex Mason-Call of Duty: Black Ops
Alec Mason-Red Faction Guerilla
Alyx Vance-Half Life 2.
Alex Shephard: Silent Hill Homecoming

Anyway, Alex is a returning soldier, and is looking for his missing brother, Joshua. And here is where Silent Hill Homecoming fails the most: the plot. Joshua is seen plenty of times in the game, and he either runs away from Alex or watches him die and doesn’t help him. This only makes sense in the context of the ending, which doesn’t make any sense in the actual game (I won’t spoil it, but think Silent Hill 2). Which is really a shame, because all the characters are actually pretty good with mysterious intentions. When those intentions are revealed, however, the characters make no sense and become meaningless.

So why do I like Silent Hill Homecoming more than other games in the series? Well, despite being able to fight there are some scenes in this game which are really atmospheric. The game difficulty is a little uneven-really difficult in the beginning and really easy towards the end (seriously, I beat the final boss in one try without taking any damage at all), but I like the voice acting, the characters, and some of the ideas Silent Hill was trying to convey.

FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 5. I really like this game, but there are things I just hate about the Silent Hill series which rears it’s ugly head before too long, such as the constant misdirection and the repetitive levels. How many times in this series do I have to see a foggy town without anything happening?

Sorry for the lack of updates everyone, but I should have exciting news soon!

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