Silent Hill Downpour Review

by Ben Salter Featured

3 Comments 18 Votes 6036 Views 23/04/2012 Back to Reviews

Silent Hill tells a new tale.

I’ve never been a massive fan of the Silent Hill series, for no reason in particular, other than the fact that I was in the Resident Evil camp. Now that Capcom has jumped into bed with the action genre, Silent Hill emerges as the saviour of the true survival horror game. And emerge it does, as I’ve gone from hardly playing any titles in the series, to getting stuck into three simultaneously (more on Silent Hill HD Collection next week).

What Silent Hill Downpour Got Right

A new adventure - We join prisoner Murphy Pendleton as he is being transferred for unknown reasons for a crime that is equally ambiguous. Naturally, everything goes horribly wrong when Murphy’s transport bus careers off the road at speed on the outskirts of Silent Hill. He soon discovers that something sinister is afoot and that all roads leading out of town have been destroyed.

Even with a somewhat limited Silent Hill history, having only played the first three games in the series and a dash of Homecoming, it felt different. Not different in the sense that Resident Evil 4 revolutionised a tiring series, but different enough to reinvigorate fans with an entirely new story.

Survival horror atmosphere - Downpour is at its best when operating in mysterious, poorly lit buildings full of puzzles designed to melt your brain. The severity of your liquid grey matter is determined by a separate difficulty setting. It’s nice to have the option to ramp up the difficulty of puzzles, while keeping combat relatively rage-free.

A bunch of side-quests and an open-world of sorts to explore all add to the eery atmosphere of Downpour, leaving remnants of a once thriving society in this now desolate land. Don’t expect to spring for a fresh pair of pants, but developer Vatra has done a commendable job of making Silent Hill’s foggy streets a scary place to wander.

The “Otherworld” makes a return, sending players to a hellish parallel universe for some additional scares. These sections are more or less about running away as fast as you can with some frantic button-mashing. The Otherworld components are an intentional change of pace, but end up rewarding luck and trial and error more than skill.

Awesome soundtrack - I, for one, was impressed by the soundtrack that could be described as minimalistic. When it’s there, it’s great, and when it’s not, it’s still successful. While other Silent Hill games have relied on brilliant soundtracks to make even the most tame of encounters scary, Downpour implements a mix of great tracks with silence. There are going to be haters, and I can see why, but on the whole it’s effective.

Get the Adobe Flash Player to see this video.

What Silent Hill Downpour Got Wrong

Disappointing combat - Combat is the demise of Silent Hill Downpour. It’s cumbersome and far too awkward for a game that relies so heavily on surviving tense atmospheres.

Some of the ideas are good, they just aren’t executed as well as they are theorised. Murphy can only carry one melee weapon at a time, for instance, and they tend to break fairly easily. It’s totally realistic -- in a fantasy game -- and meant to bring your attention to the dire straights that is desperate combat. That sounds nice and everything, but all it really does is make the weaknesses more profound.

Murphy is forced to make do with anything he can scrounge up, and often starts a fight with a bat or a knife, but that quickly breaks and he ends up with a stick so weak that it’s a miracle it doesn’t disintegrate upon being handled. That’s if he’s lucky. More often than not, he’s fighting for survival with his bare-hands. It wouldn’t be so bad if they actually did anything. You’re better off with what’s left with the paper-thin stick.

Gunplay isn’t much better and the camera decides to do its own thing at the vital moment. Overlooking these faults, the biggest problem is that it’s just plain boring. I found myself prematurely tire of the game due to lack of engaging combat. There are hints of greatness, but it's let down by uninspiring degrading weapons. Think Dead Rising, only not fun.

Repeating enemies - You’d be forgiven for thinking there are four enemies in Downpour stuck on continuous loop. There are marginally more than that, but don’t expect much in terms of variety. Repeating enemies is a common fault of survival horror games, and I’m dumbfounded as to why. It totally ruins the otherwise impressive atmosphere in one foul swoop. Fighting off the same old crone 27 times diminishes the effect of making any forwards progress. We want to be rewarded for success with a sense of accomplishment. That's impossible if there's an invisible clone factory pumping out hordes of these things.

Looks dated - Despite developing a fantastic atmosphere, Downpour is marred by frame rate and technical issues. While there are glimmers of brilliance, the overall package looks like it has been pulled directly from 2007, which is a long time ago in the world of game development.

The Final Verdict

Silent Hill fans should enjoy Downpour. While it’s far from being the best game in the series, it opens up a new story with a fantastic atmosphere that delivers a few scares and some tricky puzzles. Unfortunately, poor combat and technical issues undo much of the good work, which makes it hard to recommend for anyone just looking for a survival horror game without prior ties to the series.

By Ben Salter - Tweet @Ben_Salter

Silent Hill: Downpour

Platform: PS3 / Xbox
Developer: Vatra Games
Similar to: Silent Hill HD Collection, Resident Evil
 
Vote for this article Log in with Facebook

More Info on Silent Hill: Downpour

Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour Silent Hill: Downpour
Game Profile: Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: Downpour Australian Release: Out Now

Silent Hill Downpour Review Comments

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
LMA0
+
I like the combat to be hard because 1. I like the challenge and 2. It adds the suspense and fear to the game.
I had no idea this was out until I saw it in the shops this morning.

I'll wait until it is cheap. I rather enjoyed Homecoming.
very harsh with the review, finished the game today and found it to be awesome loved it from start to finish, thought the graphics looked great not dated at all not as good as uncharted but still very good, highly recommended to anyone who love this type of game

Post a comment

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: Downpour
  • Silent Hill: DownpourSilent Hill: Downpour Video
  • Silent Hill: DownpourSilent Hill: Downpour Video

Recently Read

Featured PS3 Content

The Last Of Us: Remastered - Picking it up?

The Last Of Us: Remastered - Picking it up?

29/07/2014 Polls 18 13
Watch Pierce Brosnan play N64 GoldenEye 007

Watch Pierce Brosnan play N64 GoldenEye 007

Gryllis 14 hours News 6 17
UnoTelly SmartDNS review - Access US streaming services

UnoTelly SmartDNS review - Access US streaming services

Gryllis 15 hours Articles 0 15
Ubisoft will abandon PS3, Xbox 360 in 2015

Ubisoft will abandon PS3, Xbox 360 in 2015

Tano 20 hours News 5 15
Call of Duty: The Movie? It might be closer than you think

Call of Duty: The Movie? It might be closer than you think

Tano 20 hours News 2 18
Kojima

Kojima's Silent Hills could be open-world, out in 2016

Tano 21 hours News 1 1
Alien: Isolation on PS4 adds more immersion

Alien: Isolation on PS4 adds more immersion

Tano 21 hours News 2 4
The Last Of Us Remastered helps PS4 sales increase 50%

The Last Of Us Remastered helps PS4 sales increase 50%

Tano 21 hours News 0 2
Dragon Age: Inquisition dictated by Frostbite Engine

Dragon Age: Inquisition dictated by Frostbite Engine

Tano 1 day Articles 2 19

Community Content

Awesome Gaming Stuff of Tomorrow, Today!

Awesome Gaming Stuff of Tomorrow, Today!

01/08/2014 Blog 5 0

MMGN Updates

Status
Updating..
Username

maxiboy, tsubibo commented on Watch Pierce Brosnan play N64 GoldenEye 007 with Jimmy Fallon

maxiboy 5 hours ago
Username

commented on Fez creator to fans: 'You don't deserve a sequel'

sjt333 5 hours ago
Username

commented on Anime.MMGN heads to SMASH! 2014

DarkJibTEC 7 hours ago
Username

winga26, Homedad commented on The Golf Club hits Xbox Live and STEAM

winga26 10 hours ago
Username

commented on Ubisoft will abandon PS3, Xbox 360 in 2015

punk 10 hours ago
Username

maxiboy, Pilkingbod commented on Fez creator to fans: 'You don't deserve a sequel'

maxiboy 17 hours ago
Username

commented on PS3 Error Codes and You!

Chris986 18 hours ago