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Silent Hill: Downpour (Xbox 360)
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available For: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Developer: Vatra Studios
Genre: Survival Horror
Age: 18 (PEGI)
ONE of the old boys of survival horror, Silent Hill is still to find its footing on the current generation of consoles. Its last offering Homecoming wasn’t a cause for celebration, but Downpour has come to wash the disappointment away.
Action kicks off with the opening sequence of convict Murphy Pendleton engaging in barbaric activities that raise strong questions of what his motives are. The storyline, although largely cliché, is told well with some great voice acting.
The adventure begins in a linear fashion, with action funnelling players through a comfortable learning curve before letting them loose in the unbelievably perilous town of Silent Hill. It’s a comfortable pace, one that is truly welcome for a game whose combat can get frustratingly difficult.
The combat stays true to old-school survival horror games by offering a decent array of melee weapons and a controlled amount of guns and ammunition. Emphasis lays heavy on the point of escaping from creatures as taking on more than two at a time can be a suicide mission.
There are times when it’s better just to run than to stand around to get torn apart limb-by-limb.
The sounds help to create an eerie ambience. As well as the squawking of crows there's also the series’ traditional Spanish guitar soundtrack which warbles through the air before ringing off into a beautiful but spine-chilling diminuendo of death.
Although I’ve only witnessed two of the six possible endings, they left me with mixed reactions. The first was interesting and the second left me disappointed. I’m intrigued to see a third, but with a playtime of 12-15 hours, a play through isn’t a quick affair.
With no multiplayer, Downpour will scare many gamers off, but those after something physiologically scary with plenty of atmosphere should look no further.
Silent Hill: Homecoming had plenty of shortcomings whilst Downpour showers players with greatness reminiscent of the series’ former glory.
PROS: The great cinematics and sounds help to envelope the player in a deathly ambience. It's also nice and long.
CONS: Not all the endings are satisfying and it would have been nice to see some multiplayer.
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