Silent Hill: Homecoming Review
- Posted November 1st, 2008 at 21:46 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 24 Comments
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It has its flaws, but Silent Hill: Homecoming is a solid entry in the franchise that any self-respecting horror fanatic should snap up.
- Unrivaled atmosphere
- Evocative soundtrack
- Improved gunplay
- Underwhelming puzzles
- Frustrating melee combat
Picture the scene, if you will. You’re walking down a deserted, fog-bound street in the middle of summer, flakes of snow falling to the ground all around you. The sidewalk is littered with abandoned vehicles and boarded up shops; the whole town is conspicuously devoid of life. Then, all of a sudden, you spot something lurching through the fog. Or so you think.
Wrecked with panic, your state of mind teeters precariously as you wrestle with your conscious, assessing the situation in a series of blurred, incoherent musings. By then, however, it is too late. Before you can even collect your thoughts, the skinless canine lurches, fangs bared as it rips at your flesh, howling for blood.
Welcome to Silent Hill.
It’s no surprise that a lot of fans were slightly miffed about Homecoming upon its initial announcement; it is, after all, the second title in the franchise that hasn’t been developed exclusively by Team Silent. Instead, the reigns have been placed firmly in the hands of Double Helix Games, an amalgamation of former Foundation 9 studios, Shiny Entertainment and The Collective. Despite the shift in gears, Homecoming manages to do an admirable job at maintaining the series trademark psychological thrills and spills, as well as introducing a few tweaks of its own.
Homecoming stars protagonist Alex Shepherd, a soldier returning home from an overseas tour of duty following a series of disturbing nightmares concerning his younger sibling, Josh. Upon arriving in his hometown of Shepherds Glen, Alex – in typical Silent Hill fashion – discovers that all is not right, with his brother and father missing, and his mother reduced to a rambling, catatonic wreck. The town appears to be all but deserted, with the entire area coated in a thick, ominous fog. Seeking clues as to the whereabouts of his family, Shepherd ventures out into the mist in an attempt to discover what evil has befallen the town.
Double Helix hasn’t deviated a great deal from the basic Silent Hill formula in this latest installment, though Homecoming clearly feels like a logical extension of its predecessor’s decidedly more combat-heavy take on the franchise. Fundamentally, however, the basic gist remains the same. Playing as the young Mr. Shepherd, you’ll venture to a series of locations both throughout Shepherd’s Glen and Silent Hill, solving various riddles and battling against a variety of warped, grotesque creatures. All the usual refinements are here – flashlight, radio (to warn you of approaching enemies) and an array of deadly melee weapons and firearms.
As mentioned previously, Homecoming draws much of its design philosophy from Silent Hill 4: The Room, which offered a slightly more refined combat system compared to previous installments. As such, Double Helix has taken a shambling, bloody step forward and applied its own tweaks to this system in order to accommodate Shepherd’s extensive army training. Players can now perform both light and heavy attacks by hitting either X or Square, the latter of which is able to stun opponents, allowing you to finish them off with a single blow. Furthermore, Shepherd can string together various combos by mixing up light and heavy attacks with a few button presses to keep your enemies at bay. More significant, however, is the revised dodge mechanic, which allows you to quickly evade your foes by hitting the Circle button in conjunction with a direction on the analogue stick. This also forms the basis for counterattacks, where a successful dodge will allow Shepherd to strike back with a powerful blow while his enemy is recovering. Meanwhile, firearms are used in a Resident Evil 4 style over-the-shoulder perspective, allowing you to target specific body parts to deal out major damage to enemies.
Still, don’t be under false impressions that Shepherd’s army training gives him a distinct advantage over his foes. The creatures that stalk the streets are also adept at combat, and will pummel you into submission if given the opportunity. As a result, you’ll have to work to exploit their weaknesses and strike when they’re most vulnerable – simply equipping a steel pipe and hammering away at the attack button won’t cut it with these foes, and you’ll likely end up in ... (continued on next page)
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- 6:25pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
the game look alrigghhht...but maybe dead space is better? anybody care to put thier 2 cents in
- 6:32pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
Good review, but with so many games coming out this christmas I can't see this selling as well as it should.
EDIT: Please don't compare This to Deadspace, they're completely different games
- 6:42pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
Just so you guys know, I'm editing Dave's Dead Space review right now. It should be live in a bit.
- 7:04pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
Good game. I got it, and I finished it. I also agree with the review. I've been coming to this site all year and there isn't a review I really disagreed with yet. I LOVE how long it takes for them to do one, because it means they're actaully playing the games. Other sites can't really be playing that long, especially sports titles. Good job PSU. I said it before and I'll say it again, PLEASE DON'T SELL OUT!!!!
- 7:40pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
i beat the first game, and i just want to say it was one of the worst games i've ever played. on the other hand dead space has an amazing game except maybe the last 10 minutes...
- 7:51pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
You are basing your opinion of Silent Hill 5 on a PS1 game? Seriously? Choke yourself.
- 9:24pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
i dont like silent hill i like more resident evil lets hope resident evil get better score dead space got 9.0
- 9:26pm EDT - November 1st, 2008
This game went way of target, and yes I agree, the first silent hill for ps1 beats this game into the ground. The new american team really screwed up, the whole point of past characters was that they were helpless and were probably as afraid as the player, not like g.i. joe here.
- 1:11am EDT - November 2nd, 2008
Odium, Bigger sites like IGN play the game too, but they have Press credentials, even get the finished title a week or two before release and they have a team thats dedicated to playing and reviewing the title. Same goes with movies too, But, you never know, IGN started with a site like this at one point. Everyone starts somewhere.
- 2:41am EST - November 2nd, 2008
Bah ! Death to the Dead Space hype ! While Silent Hill 2 is still my fav, SH Homecoming is a pretty nice game. The 8 out of 10 review is spot on.
- 3:47am EST - November 2nd, 2008
I'm a big silent hill fan but this one missed the mark for me. its like they got the formula right but it just wasnt the same. not near as scary as the old ones. 8 out of 10 is about right
- 7:08am EST - November 2nd, 2008
gilems what do the first silent hill have to do with silent hill: home coming
- 7:26am EST - November 2nd, 2008
am srry guys but i bought like 2 3 silent hill games and i didnt finsh one even its a weird game and i am not going to wauste my mony on this game and thier are a lott of games coming new like dead space mirrors edge and price of persea a lot of other games soo srry
- 7:40am EST - November 2nd, 2008
Looks good..but i think the 3rd silent hill was the best....hey sony stop messin around and release killzone 2...im tired of this xbots..halo3 is this..halo 3 is that..xbox is all about halo..nothin else..!!!
- 8:45am EST - November 2nd, 2008
Sorry, double post.
- 11:40am EST - November 2nd, 2008
I love Silent Hill games, but the controls always blow, I don't understand why Konami can't make decent controls.
- 12:02pm EST - November 2nd, 2008
Wow. You guys really gave it an eight!? I bought this game, and after I was done beating it I felt it was so horrible that I had to return it and get my money back. I used that money to pay in full for Resistance 2 and have no regrets.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the series. It was literally my favorite series before this garbage came out. I still have the PSone version, I have both versions of SH2, and I bought SH3 and SH4. SH4 was the odd one that I didn't enjoy as much as the others, but compared to SH5, part four is leaps better in every way.
Graphics: Really? Can this even be considered next gen? The shadowing itself is DISGUSTING. The character models look poor, SH3's character models looked ten times better and it was on PS2. I guess that's what happens when you get lazy devs that work on the 360 as well. I have a 360 that I've had to replace twice because of the RROD, but come on, there have been games on the Xbox that look amazing too. Textures are horrible, fog looks like c r a p, the game is too grey, the detail that was there on previous titles is gone. Graphics, 3 out of 10.
Style: This is what killed it for me. Even before I played the game or before shots were shown, I knew the American team was going to F it all up. Japan is known for its crazy $ h i t and creativity. I got sad when Team Silent Hill was no longer making it. I KNEW the American team was going to use the F i n g movie!!! The nurses look exactly the same, Pyramid Head looks exactly the same, the other monsters as well, even the insects. They even ripped off the church and a bunch of other countless things. There wasn't even a point to Pyramid Head in this game. He came out what? Three times? Walked, walked, Killed someone, thats it!? Wasn't PH a delusion of James!? Even the bathroom transformation got stolen. This is just a c r a p p y movie to video game port. There is nothing good about this game EXCEPT that its, regrettably part of the SH universe. The worst part about just taking EVERYTHING from the F i n g movie is that it saved them time about thinking w t f to do about the style cause they ripped everything off, and they still didn't improve on the rest of the game *cough graphics cough* This is just a lame attempt of trying to milk the franchise and movie of gamers money by recycling material. 3 out of 10
Story: It was okay. Probably the best part of this game, yet they didn't go deep into it as other Silent Hills. 7.5 out of 10.
Controls: I thought the controls for the other games s u c k e d. This game just makes the other games so much better. Sounds like a great idea sure, but when you actually play it, it's VERY frustrating, especially with the insane difficulty of some monsters. *Caution, will make you break your controller* 4 out of 10
Feel of the Game: To be honest, it feels like a c r a p p y PC game that they took two months to make and ten seconds to plan from back in 2002.
Sound: Bad voice acting. Music was really good, but it doesn't fit with the game. Not much else I can say about this. 8 out of 10
Lasting Appeal: I wish I had that time I spent on it back. 1 out of 10
I can agree on all the reviews on this site, but D A M N 8 out of 10? I know this is a PS site, but that doesn't mean you have to give great reviews on a game just because it defined the PS itself. The glory days of my favorite series appears to be at an end. All I can hope for is that the Japanese get this franchise back ASAP. I am American by the way.
The puzzles are r e t a r d e d if you can even say they're puzzles, sure the game picks up about 80% of the way but then it just drops the ball. I was never scared, whenever I saw another movie to game character or place I just said LAME to myself.
This game is a COMPLETE waste of time. If you're a fan PLEASE rent first! You're not missing a thing! Play Dead Space if you want to play a good Horror Game. Buy Little Big Planet for Fun, or Wait for Resistance 2 for the greatest time ever (almost certain, haven't played it cause it's not out) or for you Xboxers just wait for Gears 2!
I've wasted enought time due to this game and the only reason I post this quick review is to save you guys a headache and help you keep $60+ in your pocket. Please BUY SOMETHING ELSE, RENTAL AT MOST!!!
- 3:36pm EST - November 2nd, 2008
I LOVE THIS GAME!!! Really good indeed
- 10:08pm EST - November 2nd, 2008
@1:purchased both dead space and silent hill. would recomend dead space to you over silent hill. my rating: 7.5 dead space: 9.0
- 5:46am EST - November 3rd, 2008
@17, WOW, that whole thing you wrote and yet no examples or anything to back up anything that you said throughout that whole friggin review. You didn't back up one thing that you said at all and basically just repeated the same stuff over and over again. It seems to me the game isn't the problem at all. The probably you have with this game is the fact that it was made by different people and not the original. I am starting to wonder if it's the same game we both played because I got this game and played it and haven't run into all the problems you have had with it. Sure the game could have been better but it was no where near as crappy as you made it out to be.
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!