Game Review: Silent Hill: Homecoming (Xbox 360)
Release: September 30, 2008
Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Double Helix Games
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Players: 1 Player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Silent Hill Homecoming is the sixth story in the successful survival horror series from Konami and developed by Double Helix. Double Helix has remained true to the Silent Hill series without coming up with different aspects of the game to help sell this new title.
Alex Shepherd a war veteran, returns to his hometown Shepherd’s Glen (town next to Silent Hill) to find his brother Josh, after having disturbing dreams that plaque him during his waking moments, many that revolve around his brother. When he arrives in his hometown he finds it deserted and in a thick layer of fog. When he finds his mom in the living room half insane babbling about her missing son and husband (that has gone to find Josh). The story unfolds when you start learning about the history of Shepherd’s Glen. He discovers people have been disappearing in large numbers and strange creatures roam the town. Also he learns the connection to Silent Hill and how his family plays a role in these events. In the mean time before he gets answers from his mother she is kidnapped and is knocked unconscious by The Order (a cult that worships the Silent Hill gods). When he finally finds his father he is told the truth and begs for his sons’ forgiveness you may chose to forgive him or not but by doing so you will effect the outcome of the game. As you make your way through the Orders underground facility you find the sacrificial chamber and find out that a pact was made 150 years ago when the founding fathers moved to Shepherd’s Glen from Silent Hill and they where allowed to move on the condition that they where to sacrifice one of their children every fifty years. You will be lead through different areas of town maybe by walking there or by waking up in a different location where you will find out more information about the strange happenings in town. On the way to all this action you will face a variety of creatures and each will have there own finishing move. There are numerous puzzles that you must solve in order to progress in the game, which some prove to be challenging and sometimes frustrating. You will also meet a variety of lead characters throughout the game and you will have to make decisions about them that can also affect the outcome of the games final story.
The overall graphics of the environments are visually appealing, and the soundtrack tends to send chills down your spine just at the right time. They have added a dodge move to help you get out of the way during a melee attack which proves to be helpful in certain situations during combat. The flashlight is a handy piece of equipment, but sometimes you have to have it off (so you don’t draw attention to yourself) and that will leave you in the dark and that adds suspense to the story line. I like the way certain characters have certain roles in the game and the way it will affect the outcome. The story line I found to be very enjoyable and made me want to keep playing to see what was in store for Alex next.
I would have liked to have seen a few things improved upon, such as the characters details; Alex seems to be highly detailed but the other characters just all seem to have the same qualities. Also when you have to use the action button to open a door or push a button you have to be in a exact spot to perform said action to be performed. I would have like to see a HUD just for the ease of finding your way around. Also in certain spots if you where to pass over them again the same creature would spawn in the same spot no matter how many time you defeated them. Also save spots are far and few in between and if you die you will respawn at the last save location.
This game at times really caught me off guard and scared the crap out of me. I enjoyed the overall game play. The controls for the most part where smooth and easy to use. If you have enjoyed any of the other Silent Hill titles you will find this one the most appealing and fun to play. The twist and turns keeps you on your toes and sometimes you are afraid to turn the corner not knowing what will be in store for you. This game is for anyone that is a fan of survival horror or just plain horror. I guarantee you will squirm in your seat. Homecoming is also good if you are looking to collect achievements some are very easy and will boost your overall score quite fast.
So Scott says go buy this one, you can chose different ways the story will end by the decisions you make in the game, so the replay value is there. The game is overall fun and scary all in one and is a great addition to your library.