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Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3)

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3 Reviews

Published by: Konami / Genre: Action & Shooter / Release Date: 2009

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    3 Reviews
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      01.06.2010 23:07
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      A great game

      Silent hill homecoming have brought out some great games and this is their sixth edition of the horror video game which is truely all about survival and terror.

      The story is that you play a guy called Alex Shepard who was in the specail forces. He comes back from his duties from overseas to find out that his brother and father are on the missing list. The mother also has a disease or a more of a psychological disturbance. So it is up to you as Alex to firstly search your home town and with no joy then you move onto the scary a dark sient hil looking for your family.

      The game play is very challenging of a detective point of veiw as you have a journal which you can check anytime you wish. So going through these different environments and areas you pick up clues for examples photographs and they go staright to your journal this is to help you overcome the task you first set out to acheive. The ammo and weapons are easily found in the game as they glow up so this is pretty easy to find what you need. There are plenty of puzzles which you need to enter codes and stuff keypad entries and this is were your journal comes into play as this helps you throughout the game. I love a challenging game and this game is daunting challenging and exciting and highly addictive once you endue in the game. The new thing from other editions is that you have a choice on what to say when talking to other charcaters and this has a different outcome for each response so it is a tough game to play and you do have to concentrate a bit. The combats you have are against monsters and you do have a god skill of combat after all you are a soilder.

      The game is very dark and it is well put together it is very unique with a few improvements made to this edition it has got harder and I am really happy with my purchase of this game and again the graphics are good nothing to complain about. So overall a good challenging game and you get so ingrossed and addicted to it. I really enjoy playing this game. For me this game gets a four star.

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      28.12.2009 00:55

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      For the most part very engaging

      I am a huge fan of the Silent Hill games; I own every major canonical title and so was eagerly awaiting the fifth entry, Homecoming. However, I was a little perturbed by the lukewarm reviews, and so didn't want to set myself up for a disappointment. While flawed, this is still every bit as creepy and atmospheric as the previous games, and is a solid addition to the series, even if the last two titles haven't lived up to the greatness of the first three.

      The plot is quite simple and familiar; you are Alex Shepherd, a Special Forces soldier who has just come back from war and finds out that his father and brother are missing, causing him to head to Silent Hill in search of answers. Of course, we know that the town is full of nasty monsters and the town itself has a personality of sorts, but the game does level a few new ideas at the player, some that work and some that don't, but it's at least clear that they're not just going to adhere to the now rigid conventions of the series.

      Whether you like the new plot elements or not, the bosses are uniformly brilliant once again, with them each being wonderfully grotesque and having a few little quirks that you'll need to work out in order to beat them. The action has been changed a bit, and is a tad more arcade-ish with the aiming and gun elements, but it's still firmly rooted as a survival horror, and trust me when I say that ammo is as scarce as ever!

      Although it is a lot easier than the previous games, fans will probably enjoy it, and it keeps the good Silent Hill name of being highly disturbing and very moody.

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      31.08.2009 17:35
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      Lacking sparks and scares - a missed opportunity for a PS3 Silent Hill

      Dense fog. A cheap torch that leaves you straining to see through a suffocating blanket of darkness. The freakish monsters, and the static-spitting radios that warn of their presence. The harrowing Otherworld... It's fair to say that few series are as distinctive and striking as Silent Hill, and despite ten years having passed since the original outing on to the PSOne, the series remains an alluring venture, with few survival-horror games proving as visually unique or as emotionally destructive. But as pleasurable (though perhaps that's the wrong word) as each return trip to the cursed backwater town has been, the series has been in decline since Konami started shifting development duties around, leaving the series unsure of how best to channel its potential, and unfortunately Homecoming is symptomatic of such troubles.

      Most of Homecoming actually takes places in the town of Shepherd's Glen, where you take control of the token troubled-hero Alex Shepherd, who is searching for his missing kid brother Josh. Double Helix, the third different development house in as many games, opted for a third-person perspective that remains fixed behind Alex for the duration of the game. Whilst this doesn't quite kill the atmosphere, it's fair to say the absence of the awkward, voyeuristic camera angles of old reduces the set-piece scare potential, as well as the general feeling of vulnerability. It means you no longer fear what might lie in wait because you can always see in front of Alex, though you are at least challenged to keep a cool head when aiming firearms.

      The purpose of the view change is to aid the new battle system, which for periods of the game is, for better or worse, the focus of attention. For some reason, Alex opts to carry a piteous amount of spare ammunition for his guns and instead lugs around knives, pipes and axes, meaning lots of melee action awaits. Locking-on to targets allows you to perform horizontal and vertical strikes as well as a dodge manoeuvre, the mastery of which is imperative to the preservation of your health. Unusually, Homecoming's opening few hours are far more challenging than the final few. This is partly due to the excellent enemies, almost all of which require specific tactics to beat; the Smog creatures for instance have damaging, smoky breath, but can be shot down when they expose their lungs, whilst the spindly Needler creatures sport razor sharp bladed arms but are susceptible to attacks from the side. The Feral (dogs) and knife-wielding nurses are dangerously unpredictable, capable of causing large amounts of damage in no time at all with their aggressive tactics; however walking slowly with your flashlight turned off is a good way of avoiding conflicts with the latter. These clever foes can also withstand a good few hits, making the early faze of the game uncomfortably tricky as you find there's significantly fewer health drinks available than in previous outings.

      Fortunately, the difficulty relents after a while, leaving you to enjoy some of the games best sections. Most notable is the excellent Prison, one of the few large locales in Homecoming, which gauges the mixture between exploration, combat and problem-solving really well. The obligatory trip to a strange church is abruptly followed by the blatantly-Hostel inspired Underground Lair, making for a chilling though stylistically-questionable final area. It's particularly disappointing to see Double Helix have included the mining suit/gas-mask wearing figures from the film, as their appearance - both in terms of gameplay and the story - makes no sense at all. The varied and imaginative monsters are put on the back-burner in the latter part of the game as for the first time the series resorts to making you fight humans - a task that I suspect is made unintentionally easy by the lumbering cretins inability to dodge attacks from melee weapons, meaning they're a minimal threat.

      It's an atmospheric gameplay experience even if many of its themes are well-trodden, and the boss fights are an enjoyable challenge. There's still the satisfaction of finding keys, decoding puzzles and ticking off rooms on your map, but clumsy design harms things. Alex is the first Silent Hill character without the ability to run, as you're never given the option to break out of a jog even when chased by quicker enemies and at times, his flashlight is poor to the point of useless. Double Helix could also have been considerably more economical with their inventory system, which is unnecessarily fragmented; items and weapons are selected with different shoulder buttons, which is fair enough, but then to view your objectives (mostly useless as they tend to fail to update after you finish a task) you must go through the map screen, whilst Alex's Journal of clues and notes is found via the pause menu. A bit of a palaver, all in all.

      The story opens up nicely as you progress and on the whole is fairly engaging, but you get the feeling that the developers lack of subtly and invention means certain themes are used without any genuine reason; it's like Double Helix have attempted to pay homage to the classic Team Silent games without really knowing how to build on the subject matter. Having Alex fall unconscious only to awake somewhere else could have been taken as artistic licence had it only happened once, but it becomes such a recurrent feature that in the end it seems like a crude, unimaginative way of shepherding (pardon the pun) Alex between unrelated locations; for instance between the atrium of a Silent Hill hotel and a holding cell in a Shepherd's Glen police station. The Pyramid Head monster (or 'Bogeyman') makes two fleeting appearances that are little more than fan-pleasing cameos that, as in the film, apparently come out of nowhere and have little discernable link to the main narrative.

      To look at, it's still undeniably a Silent Hill; environments are detailed and the fog proves as claustrophobic as ever, but it's not as attractive as it probably aught to have been, with some graphical discrepancies that, given the hardware, shouldn't be there. Cut-scenes are beset by horrible lighting effects that see shadows flicker and wobble across characters faces in awkward and ugly fashion, as well as some of the facial features being spoilt by some blocky texturing. Unlike in the previous games, you can pass through many doors and rooms without loading times or fade-out/fade-in breaks which is good, though the trade-off in some of the larger locations - particularly the cemetery - is a noticeable reduction in the frame-rate, which also effects certain battles, making firing a gun frustratingly hit and miss. The trademark horror graining effect has also been overcooked, meaning certain areas appear rather blotchy around the edges. The standard, fog-ridden streets of Shepherd's Glen and Silent Hill are very good, though the once gruesome 'Otherworld' locations are too short and don't appear grimy, dingy or dark enough to achieve their full scaring potential.

      But whilst the visuals aren't up to the series usual incredible standards, other aspects of the package remain impressive. The major plus point as ever is the fine soundtrack by series mainstay Akira Yamaoka, as his haunting refrains remain superbly affecting even if they are less prominent than in the early Silent Hill's. The voice-acting has also come along, with more or less every character of note being dubbed in a serious, competent manner to lend credence to the sombre mood.

      It's a short adventure, with many of the main locations proving all-too brief, as it's more likely to be the tough puzzles that take up your time than combat or exploration. Once again it falls to the games five endings to keep players interested, though aside from the main 'best' ending, the other finales are only around a minute in length and not worth the hassle of unlocking, even if you are given a new outfit when you manage the feat.

      Whilst new combat elements, monsters and settings will encourage fans back for another solid slice of survival-horror action, Homecoming is the least impressive Silent Hill game yet and next to the revamped Resident Evil and the recent Dead Space, feels increasingly dated. There is the odd positive here and there, but on the whole the scares feel tired and the settings half-hearted, leaving the series in need of some fresh impetus and perhaps a return to its Japanese roots.

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    • Product Details

      Silent Hill: Homecoming marks the debut of the renowned psychological horror series on next-generation consoles. Building upon the series' trademark foundations of atmosphere, adventure and storytelling, it introduces a frightening new and standalone gameplay experience destined to haunt the dreams of both first-time players and those with some experience wandering the famously fog-shrouded streets of the town of Silent Hill and its new sinister sister city Shepherd's Glen.