Might have to pick this game up now after reading this review Han! Still planning on playing some of the older titles though! :)
Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 8:18 PM by Guest
Silent Hill: Downpour is a title that immediately captured my attention when it was announced. Following the completion of Silent Hill: Homecoming, I swiftly became engrossed with the series and another installment triggered my interest once more. The revelation that water and weather would play a primary role within the title heightened my curiosity further. So, did Silent Hill: Downpour, conjure the perfect storm or was it simply a wash-out?
The beginning of Silent Hill: Downpour allows you to take control of the protagonist Murphy Pendleton within a federal correctional facility. The story is gradually introduced to us throughout the introduction and integrated tutorial. This allows the player to grasp both the basic controls and narrative present within the title. The introduction reveals that Murphy will be transported to another penitentiary along with some other cellmates. They board the transportation vehicle only for it to detour off-road and inevitably crash owing to treacherous weather conditions and the road mysteriously coming to an end. Murphy regains consciousness to discover that the crash site has been abandoned. Alone, he traverses the desolate environment making his way towards Silent Hill. Murphy innocently explores the eerie town of Silent Hill seeking an escape route. Little does he know, his time in Silent Hill will become a harrowing journey of self-discovery and torment regarding his past.
The protagonist reacts to his surroundings immensely which conjures tension for the player in abundance. His reactions often prompt you to discover things you may not have observed previously. The desolate environment present within the game is extremely effective in keeping an individual on edge. If the town possessed an array of sprawling enemies, the eerie environment would not be so evident. The utilisation of sound when traversing Silent Hill often escalated my fear as opposed to an enemy lunging at me. The weather alerts the player that something dangerous lies ahead. Enemies are also stronger when it begins to rain. The player is then required to either combat the enemies or enter a building until the rain subsides. For your protagonist, Silent Hill: Downpour includes moral choices during certain events within the game. Negative and positive responses to these choices will alter the ending received. There are six endings based on two central narratives within the game.
Silent Hill: Downpour includes an array of side-quests which are scattered throughout the town of Silent Hill. The inclusion of side-quests to this title attracted me immensely, as it provides an optional extension to your experience of Silent Hill. The player will meet a diverse range of people whilst undertaking side-quests within the game. Side-quests and locations throughout may require you to complete puzzles and utilise code inputs. Clues will be present within the environment owing to the difficulty level you select. Along with rewards for completing the side-quests, the player will also gain intricate insight into Murphy and Silent Hill. Finding the side-quests and objectives related can be an arduous task upon occasion. The player may lose their way frequently within Silent Hill owing to waypoints not being included in the game. To traverse the town of Silent Hill, you may find yourself relying on the map within the journal more than you would like to.
Whilst traversing the town, equipping a weapon is vital to survive the enemies that lurk the streets. The town is littered with an array of weapons for the protagonist to utilise. The vast selection of weapons included within the game are crucial as the weapons eventually break and become useless. The elevation in tension when a weapon breaks whilst combating an enemy is immense, as you desperately attempt to flee seeking another weapon. Players have access to an inventory which allows you to store a weapon and items you collect along your travels. Silent Hill: Downpour allows the player to carry one melee weapon and one firearm which adds to the suspense and tension when combating enemies. Various weapons will aid you in bypassing obstacles throughout Silent Hill. A downside to the weaponry within Silent Hill: Downpour is that it can often be lost in various cutscenes and moments within the game. The inventory will store important items you retrieve in relation to the plot and side-quests. Scattered across Silent Hill, the protagonist will discover first aid kits. These are a mandatory item when traversing Silent Hill and infinite amounts can be stored in your inventory.
Silent Hill: Downpour grants the player discretion regarding the method in which they utilise to defeat an enemy. When combating an individual, the player has the ability to incapacitate, kill or flee the enemy. Fleeing is an extremely useful option when a group of enemies pursue the protagonist. The combat system is somewhat flawed when attempting to combat numerous enemies simultaneously. Whilst fleeing, the player is able to glance over the protagonist’s shoulder to observe the surroundings behind them. This is especially effective when an enemy is pursuing you as it conjures a high level of tension for the player. Something I observed upon occasion when traversing the town is the frame rates dropping. It was not a regular occurrence but I can understand this revelation being slightly off-putting for a player. I found it tolerable as I became engrossed in the storyline and overall experience the game provides.
Overall, Silent Hill: Downpour provides intricate survival horror experience that on the surface most people could appreciate. Delving into the realms of this eerie title, the way the story is unraveled entices the player to progress. The inclusion of side-quests may broaden the target audience as it allows the players to explore and complete optional challenges/objectives. As with many games, Silent Hill: Downpour possesses some issues such as frame rate drops, but for the most part they can be overlooked owing to the quality of the gameplay and content. Fans of Silent Hill who were apprehensive about this title should at least try it before writing it off. I found that Silent Hill: Downpour was a much more immersive and powerful title as opposed to Homecoming. With a powerful storyline and countless opportunities to explore the desolate town of Silent Hill, what are you waiting for? Unleash the downpour for yourself and immerse yourself in the vapours of Silent Hill and Murphy’s troubled past.
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