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== SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING ==
The Silent Hill games have always been one of the best survival horror games and most notably one of the first real survival games. Silent Hill was first released on the PS1 and has since taken games such as Resident Evil right to the wire in terms of best survival horror game. Silent Hill Homecoming is definitely one of the best survival horror games available for the Xbox 360 and in my eyes its the closest the game has been to Silent Hill 1 & 2. Silent Hill Homecoming is also available for the PS3 and the PC. The game was developed by Double Helix Games and published by one of my all time favourite companies called Konami. Silent Hill Homecoming features a similar story to that of the other Silent Hill games but its what we like.
=== STORY ===
You take the role of Alex and the game starts with him in a nightmare and hes looking for his lost younger brother called Josh. Alex awakens from his nightmare and finds hes in a taxi on the way to his hometown of Shepherd's Glen. Upon arriving in his hometown Alex notices that something is terribly wrong. The town is covered in deep thick fog and is deserted from what Alex can tell. Alex sets off and also finds that many roads have fallen into disrepair or simply collapsed into nothingness. After returning home Alex is saddened to find that his mum is in a very bad way and he learns that his brother Josh has actually gone missing. Now Alex must enter the mysterious town full of mysterious things and he must find his brother before its too late. Can Alex save him and uncover the truth behind Shepherd's Glen aka Silent Hill.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
Silent Hill Homecoming has very similar gameplay features to previous Silent Hill games and to be fair there isn't an awful lot of difference between the games yet Silent Hill Homecoming is still considered a fantastic game. As usual there is only the one playable game mode which is story mode but there is different difficulty settings in which hold different endings to the game when you complete them. The game is also set from a third person perspective like many other survival horror games and it works really well. Also in Silent Hill Homecoming is a new playable character called Alex Shepherd and to be fair he seems exactly like previous characters from the game series. Hes an average looking character but for some reason he stands out really well in the game.
The basic aim of the game is to follow the storyline and solve what ever puzzles stand in the way. Also whilst exploring you have to be extremely careful and aware of the dangers in the game. Creatures like nurses are back and after your blood and there are also many other enemies that want you dead. Shepherds Glen is very much like that of Silent Hill and it definitely gives gamers a feel to the older Silent Hill games. Also in Silent Hill Homecoming is harder puzzles and harder bosses. You also find drawings, photographs and interact with numerous characters who could help on your story. You will also come across weapons such as melee weapons, firearms or other weapons. Most of the time its best to use melee weapons because of low ammo scattered through the game. There is also tons of key items but most are easily found. Alex also finds and uses his flashlight to help him see in the dark and his radio to help detect when enemies are close.
In Silent Hill Homecoming there are plenty of different environments to explore even more so than the previous games and to be fair this works perfectly. Along with new environments comes a new combat system for the game that has been worked on a lot. Instead of just doing the same strike over and over again you can now do combos with melee weapons and you also have the ability to dodge attacks. Different creatures do different attack and some could be weak to your melee attacks whilst some might be weaker to firearms. A lot of the game is centered around the town and involves running from most creatures unless you want to be ripped to pieces by them.
Silent Hill Homecoming definitely has a lot to offer in terms of gameplay and the game does involve a few scary bits that might make you jump right out of your seat. There are numerous different items scattered throughout the game and most of them you can miss so its always best to explore. Things like med packs and bullets become extremely valuable later because the game gets harder as you get further. Its also always best to try save ammo and health for the numerous bosses. There are a lot of different creatures in the game and a lot of different ferocious bosses. My favourite boss returns and if you've played a Silent Hill game you will know him by the name Pyramid Head. Overall Silent Hill Homecoming has a lot to offer fans of the game but it doesn't offer an awful lot of new stuff. I do like how they brought some of the old things back and in my opinion it definitely made the game better.
=== GRAPHICS ===
Each Silent Hill game that has been released has gotten better in terms of graphics over the years and Silent Hill Homecoming is by far the best for graphics. With some astonishing looking environments especially the town of Shepherds Glen and some beautifully designed characters. One of the better parts is the way the fog thickens in the game and you can always tell when something serious is going to happen. Also the design of the creatures is much better from previous games and definitely stands out a lot more. Pyramid Head and other bosses all look fantastic as expected. I have to say the graphics really surprised me to this game as I expected them to be a little shallow. I was also impressed with the colouring of the game as it gives a feel of darkness and Silent Hill is all about darkness.
=== SOUND EFFECTS ===
Silent Hill Homecoming features some really good sound effects that definitely benefit the game overall. the characters are voiced perfectly and fit right into the mix of the game giving gamers the full experience. By far the best part to the the Silent Hill sound effects is the Silent Hill soundtrack to the game as it features some brilliant tracks that are sure to keep you on edge all the way through the game. I also liked certain sound effects that stood out in the game. One being Pyramid Head dragging his massive sword as it always makes you aware hes around and not to be messed with unless you want to die a quick death. Overall the sound effects are really good to the game and its always great to have great music to go with that like this game has to offer.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
I always say for difficulty that it depends how good you are at games. However Silent Hill has so many difficulty settings to choose from at the start of the game. It doesn't add bonuses but the harder the difficulty the less items such as healing items and ammo it gives you and creatures and bosses are harder to kill. The puzzles are no harder which is a good job because some can be misleading to say the least with the way they are presented.Overall I would say its average in terms of difficulty and i would expect most gamers to be able to do this game easily enough. For me the game was a little easy on the easiest setting but caused a few problems on the hardest setting but when I got the hang of the combat system it was quite easy.
The length of the game is always the biggest disappointment nowadays and its no different here. However because you have to go through numerous times for different endings the game can be seen as reasonable in terms of length. However if you like many are playing just to finish the game once then your looking at around the 20 hour mark depending on the skill level of yourself. 20 hours isn't all that bad and I do believe these games can still be enjoyed on numerous playthroughs in which most games cant. Also it doesn't help that there is only the one playable game mode. Overall the length of the game is just okay.
=== ACHIEVEMENTS ===
Achievements for an Xbox 360 game is definitely one of the main points to many gamers nowadays because a lot of gamers are achievement hunters. Silent Hill Homecoming only features a total of just 32 achievements but don't let that put you off because some of them are fairly tricky to achieve and most are time consuming. You also cant get them all on one playthrough and some involve answering certain questions in the game to have a different affect on the games outcome. Some other achievements include killing certain creatures or finding certain items but overall there is a nice mixture of achievements available to acquire.
=== PROS ===
*The story is really good even though its similar to other Silent Hill games.
*Lots of puzzles and a new combat system.
*There are a lot of different weapons and tons of items to find.
*A lot of action and some beautifully designed environments.
*Ton of new features to the game which includes a fantastic soundtrack.
*Pyramid Head returns!!!!
=== CONS ===
*The game is a little short in terms of length.
*Could be quite difficult for some especially the bosses or puzzles.
*Contains a lot of disturbing scenes and a fair amount of blood.
*Might be a little scary for some gamers.
*Only one playable game mode available and of course no multiplayer.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
Silent Hill Homecoming is close to being one of the best survival horror games of all time and mainly due to the fact its very much like previous Silent Hill games but has more to offer. Also with new things like the combat system it makes this game even more so entertaining. Silent Hill Homecoming will for sure make you jump at least once through the whole thing. I have always been a massive fan of Silent Hill right from the very first one and its great to see similarities.
I would definitely recommend the game especially if you love a good survival horror game because its one of the best available and I would also seriously recommend it if you love the Silent Hill series. If you went off the games after the first few then fear not because it offers bits from 1 & 2 which will make you enjoy it a lot. Silent Hill Homecoming is definitely one that most gamer swill enjoy but if your not a fan of these games or have a weak stomach then this should be a definite miss.
The game manual to the game is reasonable as it offers all relevant information. The game also has an age certificate of 18+ because of the gruesome scenes of violence, gore and blood plus it also features very strong language throughout. I bought the game from my local Game shop a few years back for £17.99 which is incredibly cheap for such a fantastic game. Its now selling even cheaper for around £12 on Amazon. A great price for a great game.
One of my favourite survival horror games that gets a very solid 8/10 from me!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
Silent Hill Homecoming is the series first outing on the next generation machines, is it set out to beat Resident Evil 5?
The story follows our main character Alex Sheppard, he is an US soldier who gets injured and sent home where he stays in hospital, while there he has nightmares about his brother. He goes home to try and save his brother and uncover the mysteries that plague his hometown. The story is quite good I thought but it didn't really flow well and it was quite slow for anything to happen.
The gameplay has definitely been refined from previous outings, your main character no longer moves like a tank and he can beat the cr*p out of enemies pretty easily while dodging their attacks, while this is good it sort of takes away from the games atmosphere as each conflict is more fun than a desperate struggle to survive.
It isn't as fluid as a regular action game but its good enough. There are also quite a few puzzles for you to solve which involve fetching items and a bit of brainpower.
The graphics I thought were quite impressive everything looks detailed and the lighting makes everything look sinister and intimidating, the enemies which include zombie nurses and the even the legendary pyramid head look great too. The music in the game is worth a mention as it really fits the tone of the game and adds alot to the atmosphere.
Despite all of this the game failed to really scare me which is a little disappointing, it seemed to rely on the Doom 3 tactic of monsters jumping out at you to many times.
If the story was paced better and the gameplay tweaked to make it play slightly more like Silent Hill game this would be very good, its still worth a look for fans of the series or if you want to play something different.
I feel I should prefix this review with a warning - that this is the first Silent Hill game I've ever played seriously. I played the first one for about an hour on the original Playstation, but that's not really enough time to be any kind of authority on the series. And so I approach this review as something of a newcomer.
With that out of the way, I'll say that when I first started Homecoming I was a little disappointed. The control scheme is ancient - very reminiscent of the original Resident Evil, the graphics are just OK, the atmosphere isn't up to much, and the story is more or less nonexistent. At least, that's the case for the first half of the game. So often was I tempted to give up, but I'm glad I perservered, because the second half of the game is where it really comes into its own. The controls are still just as awful, but the atmosphere picks up and the story starts making sense. You're forced to make difficult choices that affect the outcome of the game, puzzles become more interesting, and the levels and story itself becomes at least as twisted as anything Resident Evil has to offer. The Bosses are very well realised, and pretty disturbing in and of themselves, and like any good videogame boss, they will punish you horribly until you figure out their weakness, but when you get the hang of them, they will offer minimal problems, and are very satisfying to take down.
All in all, if you can stick it out through the frankly soul destroying first few hours, then Homecoming does deliver a pretty enjoyable and twisted horror experience, which its counterparts have drifted away from in recent years, in favour of a more action-oriented experience, but the series seems to be in serious need of a reboot if it's to compete with the likes of Resident Evil.
Silent hill used to be one of those games, that you would lay in bed thinking about, worrying that triangle head would come in your room. Notice i used to term, "used". This horror genre, has become not only expected, but it is most definatley on its last legs. The writers have clearly ran out of ideas. The story starts with a guy, whos looking for his younger brother, and events in silent hill prevent it from running smoothly. The graphics, cant be faulted, the nurses look alot more realistic, however, you have to question why theyve given them more cleavage, its quite disturbing.
The game is insanley slow, and takes a while on each mission for action to begin. Youll find yourself getting frustrated, and when the action finally does begin, it is difficult and you will get stressed. It is nothing compared to the previous game, and if you are a fan of silent hill, i would not purchase it and tarnish its image for you. get resident evil instead.
Silent Hill Homecoming-Welcome Home (Sanitarium)...
The horror genre is on its last legs. With bad, scareless 'horror' games like Clive Barker's Jericho and Alone in the Dark flooding the genre with their mediocrity, only classics like Condemned and Resident Evil 5 keep the genre breathing. Just. It's a shame-a once thriving genre has now become near extinct, which in my opinion is due to the two top dogs being missing for a while-Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Back in the days of the PSone, these two games were competing to be the best horror game out there with dozens of clones following suit. However, Resident Evil has evolved into more of a shooting game about surviving the scary amount of possessed rather than Zombies, but just in time to compete, Silent Hill Homecoming arrives with a new developer at the helm as well as a new system. But does it compete with RE5's magnificence, or was it just released at the wrong time?
The story follows soldier Alex Shepherd, who after being wounded in battle, is discharged after he discovers his brother is missing. He returns home to try and find his brother, but all is not as it seems once he gets there. The town is almost deserted, bar a few people, his father is too missing and his mother has become a bit crazy. So now, Alex must search his home of Shepard's Glen as he must team up with dead beat cop Wheeler and fellow town folk Elle, however the story then drips into the mysterious, foggy town of Silent Hill, where things get a bit more mysterious. The story is probably one of the strongest features of Homecoming, thanks to interesting characters which are likeable due to the strong facial emotions and voice acting, and there are some twists you won't see coming. It's also quite accessible thanks to the fact that it doesn't really need to reference older games, meaning newcomers can jump in without any knowledge of previous games.
Silent Hill Homecoming is Double Helix's first chance with the franchise, and it seems here they are out for mixing improvements while keeping the core Silent Hill experience. Its level design is mostly the same-you must explore each area and find the item which will probably help you advance the story it tries to help you out a bit, marking areas where once you've found your item, you must backtrack to, but sometimes it can be painfully long until you find out what you must do and once you actually find out, it can be annoying to think that if they had made it more obvious, then you could have moved on in about five minutes. Also the pacing can feel awkward. The long exploration mixed with the quick combat can be jarring. There is also a complete lack of puzzles, which for the franchise, is very disappointing. And the puzzles here are lacklustre.
Unfortunately, where Helix has tried to improve the game has actually made Homecoming worse. The big thing here is the new combat system. With Alex's training, he can dodge enemy attacks and perform combos which deal with enemies quickly. However, this but completely removes all the tension and horror in Homecoming. The reason previous games were scary was because the combat was so clunky that it felt like you were fighting that as well as the monsters. However, in Homecoming, once you get use to the stodgy controls and lock-on system, you'll be dealing with enemies before even a minute strikes. And once you get guns in the game, combat becomes a complete cake walk. Oh, and one of five endings unlocks a Laser Pistol, a gun with infinite ammo which kills enemies really quickly. This will make combat irrelevant. At least there are a fair few different weapons. You have your pipes, knifes, shotguns, pistols and some more...different weapons like the chainsaw and the laser pistol. Shame combat is a cakewalk. Also, the inventory system is pointless as not only does it pause the game during combat, but it also sometimes accidentally selects items you don't choose, and if that's a serum, items which fully restores your health and are rare, then you're buggered.
One of the things the game does right is that the monsters can be pretty creepy. Whether it's the nurses who, weirdly, come off as a bit erotic, the vicious Schisms which can deal great damage, or the giant Siams which are powerful and hard to kill, the monsters are at least creepy. Unfortunately, the enemy A.I. is a bit lacklustre. Enemies just run at you, trying to take you down. Unfortunately, you can easily run from them and they won't catch up sometimes. Once, I ran behind a wall and the enemy actually tried to walk through the wall, which was very dumb. Thankfully, the games strongest part of gameplay is the intense boss fights throughout the game. Whether it's the giant Sepulcher, or the slightly smaller Aminion, each boss fight is an intense trial in dodging, attacking and healing. Just don't get the Laser Pistols, otherwise it will ruin boss fights.
The graphics in Homecoming are really good. Not perfect though, there is some slowdown throughout the game, the facial animations during in-engine cutscenes are lacklustre, and there are some funky glitches. However, the environments are dark, brooding and gorgeous with detail, the combat (as bad as it is) has very good animations and the monster designs are fantastic with nice details and great animations. The lighting is what sells it all though-the bare bit of light will make you crave for darkness even more, and some enemies pop out of nowhere from the dark, which is one of the few scarier moments. The old film grain filter in certain sequences isn't too heavy and adds a nice bit of visual flavour to the dark and dank environments, and a really impressive effect is when the environments completely transform, going from moody and sinister to completely evil and oozing with dread. Overall, Homecoming looks good, but some nasty visual issues hurt the presentation.
The sound is on par with the graphics, with decent, if uncanny, voice work to make the story stand out a bit more. The awesome soundtrack from Akira Yamaoka is atmospheric, moody and depressing, perfect for the tone of this game. Unfortunately, the sound effects kind of suck. Hitting an enemy with a pipe feels like hitting them with a rubber duck, and the guns sound like pea shooter. It's disappointing, and makes combat suck even more than it already does. The problem with the sound is that the moody soundtrack is for a game which just doesn't really scare, meaning it's gone to waste and the lacklustre sound effects only hurt the game even more.
Homecoming is also very short on value, which is disappointing. You be done with the game in about 8 hours, which isn't exactly long. There are five endings to discover, depending on certain choices you make in the game, as well as unlockable costumes, weapons and more depending on which ending you discover, but it's not really worth it for such an average game. The thing that will lure in achievement whores is that you can get an easy 1000 gamerscore off this game if you can get a guide to find all the collectibles and unlock every ending, yet most of the achievements can be unlocked on your first playthrough. They completely lack originality, and almost feel like a cheap way to get people to buy the game. There are better way to get 1000 gamerscore though, including the recent and awesome Resident Evil 5, which is much more fun and not too hard to get 1000 on.
Is Silent Hill Homecoming good, bad or ugly?
Silent Hill Homecoming is a disappointment in most regards. Pretty visuals don't make up for the clunky yet cakewalk gameplay, the lack of replay value and the overall sense of déjà vu-just with new ideas that suck. The thing about Silent Hill Homecoming is that it's a bad mix of old clunky gameplay mechanics from a PSone era game mixed with new ideas that just don't stick. This makes for an experience that newcomers will be put off by and old veterans of the franchise will want to enjoy but just don't dig the new ideas. I would definitely recommend Resident Evil 5 or Condemned over this if you're hungry for horror, and unless you're a die-hard fan, you'll probably find this game rather meh. And even fans of the franchise will feel a sense of disappointment.
Silent Hill Homecoming was released on February 27th, 2009 on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. It is rated 18+ for strong bloody violence and horror, and can be bought for £35-40.
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.