Konami's Survival Horror Franchise Provides More Bad Scares - Silent Hill Homecoming - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Silent Hill Homecoming

Konami's Survival Horror Franchise Provides More Bad Scares

After Alex Shepard's discharge from the army, he travels home to deal with a despondent mother, a violent, unloving father, and a little brother who's mysteriously gone missing. Oh, and there's the little matter of his hometown, which some demonic force devoured, then farted into the sewers of Hell's ninth level. Welcome home, Alex. They say it's never easy.

The newest entry in Konami's legendarily disturbing horror franchise attempts a return to former glory, and in a few instances it succeeds. The game's atmosphere – which has always been a pinnacle for the series – does a formidable job and helps set the tone for some frantic moments. The whole world looks as though it's contracted some debilitating illness and begun to rot away. Plenty of cool old-style film effects help accent the game's beautiful grotesquery. The lighting effects are particularly impressive; every level is filled with strange objects that jut out in odd ways, causing your flashlight to project toothy shadows that look ready to cut you in half at any moment.

The combat has been beefed up, as well. Instead of the stilted, single-swing animation attacks found in previous games, Alex has a limited combo system. He's much faster and more nimble than past Silent Hill protagonists. Sadly, the combat system is also where Homecoming takes a misstep. The dodge, which is required to survive most encounters, often doesn't do what it's supposed to: evade an attack.

Resource management is also a problem. It seems the developers wanted to make every encounter mean something, so they ratcheted up the difficulty. This level of challenge results in you spending most of the game with depleted health and ammo. Every time you find a box of ammo with five shells inside you'll want to jump up and down on Oprah's couch.

The game is dark, and I don't mean dark in macabre, Lovecraftian terms. I kept going into the options menu to double check that the brightness hadn't been mysteriously turned down. Even though your flashlight casts some impressive shadows, it looks like it's running on the last dregs of a five-year-old battery most of the time. I've had more powerful lights on my keychain, and I wouldn't be surprised if Alex suffered some kind of irreparable eyestrain over the course of the game. The biggest problem with the darkness is that you sometimes walk right past a door or switch you need in order to progress, so you could easily end up wasting an hour humping the walls on the wrong end of an empty hell prison.

I wish I had more to praise about Homecoming, because I'd like to see this series shine again. Fans will probably dig the game's cool set pieces and the story, but the save points are placed too far apart, many puzzles require too much random experimentation, and the dialogue system seems like an afterthought. Who says you shouldn't go home? I do.

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Second Opinion:

6.50

With Homecoming, Konami tried to shake things up by hiring Western developer Double Helix to take the series in a different direction. While there are a few welcome changes, too many outdated Silent Hill conventions have remained onboard. I like the timing-based dodge and counter combat system, but the extremely dark environments (even with brightness settings maxed) and wild camera prevent you from seeing visual tells for enemy strikes. Be prepared for antiquated door knob jiggling and backtracking through tired locales like a hospital, hotel, and the bland gray corridors of the final stage. While bosses are cleverly designed, their difficulty levels are seriously out of whack, mostly due to poor resource distribution. The middle of the game is notably harder than the final third simply because you barely get any health and ammo. By the time I fought the last boss, however, I had more med kits and bullets than I knew what to do with and the beast went down easily. You know what else is crammed into the end? About 80 percent of the story and puzzle sequences. Up to that point you're just chasing around your mysterious little brother and passing out.

User Reviews:

  • 8.25
    So obviously Game Informer's retarded rating of 6.5 didn't do it for you, huh? I must admit, when I first read through their review of a highly anticipated Silent Hill game for me, I walked away in disappointment. I was looking forward to this game! How could it not be good after everything Konami...
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  • 7.00
    After playing through its last few levels seven times and the entire game three times (twice on normal difficulty and once on hard) in order to get all the achievements, I think I should know a little bit about Silent Hill: Homecoming . I did not in any shape or form enjoy my last few times playing through...
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  • 9.25
    *CONTAINS SPOILERS DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVENT PLAYED IT YET* Like My RE5 Review feel free to bash but i dont care,if you dont like the Title then dont read.Silent Hill Homecoming is about a man named Alex Shepard who comes back from the hospital after being wounded in the war.After a Nightmare he wakes...
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  • 8.50
    I thought that this game was bashed on. This was probably the most underrated game last year to me. I thought this game was not dark at all, instead, it had a great shadowing system thanks to your trusty flashlight. This game was good. Okay, I can see why people didn't like this game that much. One...
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  • 7.00
    The media was not very embracing with reviews when Double Helix released its first entry in the Silent Hill universe last September. Also the first entry on current generation consoles, and the first since Team Silent dispersed to work on various other projects, large amounts of scrutiny were a guarantee...
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  • 7.50
    "Finally! Silent Hill on Next Gen! This is going to be great!" that was the consensus just after the first video was shown at E3 a couple of years ago. But was it? Lets take a stroll through the streets of Silent Hill: Silent Hill: Homecoming is the newest installment of the Silent Hill series...
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