March 19, 2012

Review – Silent Hill: Downpour

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:52 am

Review Silent Hill Downpour
While the Silent Hill Tourism Board has long since given up hope, the collapsing town still attracts a few lost souls each year as stray individuals find themselves wandering the misty streets and confronting truths they’ve worked hard to suppress.

I suppose Silent Hill is a bit like the town Freud might have built, where the subconscious takes physical shape and the only way to survive the demonic torture chamber unleashed is to shine light on the darkest recesses of the mind, exposing what visitors have failed to resolve on their own and desperately tried to bury.

The earliest visits to Silent Hill began with physical searches, whether it was Harry Mason searching for his lost daughter, or James Sunderland chasing the chance to see his wife again. That latter search set the bar for a series about people burdened by the past, forced through a cathartic process while wandering those streets. It’s a legacy that frames Silent Hill as a twisted parental hand that isn’t really trying to kill people, but rather, attempting to heal them.

Silent Hill is a psychological meat grinder, with people going in one end and the crank slowly turning to show the raw meat at the heart of each. It isn’t surprising that the premise has created formulaic entries in recent years, such as 2008’s Homecoming, which seemed to create a patchwork quilt from previous releases. But 2009 saw the release of Shattered Memories, which attempted to include the player in the analytical process, and regardless of your feelings toward that release, that experiment created a Silent Hill title that was unquestionably unique.

There are times that Downpour appears to bridge the gap between those points, mixing familiar mechanics and mind games to find brief moments that feed on the player to create some space for empathy with the trials of convict Murphy Pendleton. But as the truth about Murphy comes to light, the complicated narrative misses any opportunity to truly create a character that earns enduring sympathy or comprehension.


August 27, 2011

Hands On with Silent Hill Downpour

Silent Hill Downpour Hands On
An over-turned prison bus gives Murphy Pendleton cause and opportunity to attempt a run through Silent Hill, and I was recently given some time with Konami to poke around the dilapidated buildings immediately awaiting him after the chance prison break.

Murphy’s arrival in the town where I’d like to build my dream house seems accidental, but then no one really ends up in Silent Hill by accident, do they?


June 16, 2010

Konami’s E3 Horror Show

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 9:52 pm

Konami's E3 Horror Show
Konami went to a great amount of trouble to demonstrate the concept of Zan Datsu earlier today, slicing through the second full day of E3 2010 to take time away from busy people – the jury quickly concluding said time could have been better invested elsewhere.

During an awkward stretch of time where industry professionals seemed to be watching the clock while talking, Konami did cough up a trailer for the next installment of the Silent Hill series, under the uninspiring working title of Silent Hill 8.

Silent Hill is a franchise near and dear to me, from the timeless accomplishment of Silent Hill 2’s psychological twister, straight through to Silent Hill Shattered Memories – a game I still insist is worth the investment. And yet my bias toward the series can’t survive a very simple trailer, full of atmospheric smog and flashlight frights that can be had from numerous other titles already available. It isn’t over yet, but I was expecting something more than simply tossing another stray soul into the Silent Hill snake pit while obligatory horrors ensue.

It’s a post Alan Wake world, not because that title was everything expected, but because it reminded us of just how well conceived and edited a suspenseful horror title could be.

Hell it’s even a post Shattered Memories world.

It was the trailer for Rebellion’s NeverDead that grabbed for more of my attention, not because there’s very much footage to go on, but rather that it was cut in that way that really doesn’t tell me anything, so I simply have to know more. Additionally I could use another third-person action title with a sense of humor.

Catch video for both games after the break.


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