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Silent Hill: Homecoming


gameplay.comPros:

–          Cool monsters

–          Lots of scares

–          New environments and old favorites

–          Tie-ins to previous Silent Hill storylines

–          Improved combat controls, including all-new strafing action!

Cons:

–          Lack of monster variety

–          Weak, irregular storyline

–          Typical bad ending on 1st playthrough

–          Tie-ins to the movie version

–          Battle is still a bit off

Silent Hill: Homecoming utilizes many conventions of the series and also breaks the mold in some areas. It’s an interesting blend of old and new, even in the basic plot: Alex Sheppard has come home to Shepherd’s Glen, a town with a mysterious connection to Silent Hill, and is looking for his missing brother (sound familiar?). Despite the cliché plot, expect some new monsters, new puzzles, and plenty of scares to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The graphics on the Xbox360 version are great, allowing you to immerse yourself in the detailed environments, featuring redone versions or different locations of traditional locales like the prison and hospital, plus an all-new haunted town. Akira Yamaoko’s music is still excellent, with another killer intro song by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and the atmospheric music is a bit sparse but still powerful. The plot is intriguing but nothing terribly new, and not much is revealed until very late in the game, though I’ll reserve all judgments until I’ve gotten the good/UFO ending(s).

ign.comA larger variety of monsters would have been nice, but that’s always been an issue with the game. They went with a nice mix of old favorites like the dog and nurse and newer enemies like Schism and the Needler. The boss fights are seriously freaky, though I think you fight the same boss 3 different times.

Homecoming’s battle system is generally an improvement, incorporating more interactions with the environment in and out of battle, but still uses the traditional elements of Silent Hill battle like auto-target and combos. There is now an auto-strafe function, which makes movement a bit easier, and finishing moves are more automatic for many regular enemy fights. The only problem is that enemies are smarter and the controls aren’t terribly responsive, which means battle is still difficult until you figure out the new controls.

maxiconsole.comOne of the things that bothered me was how they tried to incorporate elements from the Silent Hill movie into Homecoming. In general, movie canon and game canon are completely separated in many fans’ eyes. And considering the mixed reception of the movie, I don’t think this should be an exception. Some of the things they used were cool, like the barbed wire around the church, but some just seemed like arbitrary movie references, like the Cult members.

Overall: A step in the right direction. Takes what Silent Hill is bad at and tries to revamp it. Takes what the series is liked for and continues the survival horror tradition. My personal ratings for the entire series would be: 3, Homecoming, 4, 2, Origins, 1. Being a die-hard Silent Hill fan, I’d definitely say this game is a good addition to the series, and something worth picking up. Let’s just pretend Shattered Memories never even happened.

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