Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

E3: Silent Hill: Downpour let me down, felt poor

7:41 AM on 06.11.2011 // Jim Sterling

Although Dale North fully previewed the latest attempt to make Silent Hill relevant again, I couldn't resist checking the game out myself, in stunning 3D. Silent Hill 2 is my favorite game of all time, and hearing that Downpour was evoking its spirit while successfully trying new things turned me on. 

Man, what a letdown. 

If I had to name E3's biggest disappointment, it would be playing Silent Hill: Downpour and getting what looked like an even less enthralling version of Silent Hill: Homecoming. Yet again, the aesthetic of the Silent Hill movie is the one being copied, in a world that, so far, doesn't look much like Silent Hill at all, and the combat ... oh the combat ...  

The demo opened up with protagonist Murphy Pendleton attempting to escape from a fire in a kitchen. After finding a fire alarm and setting off the sprinkler, Murphy realizes the water hasn't stopped rising and that it's heading for a broken electrical breaker that will fry him if the situation gets worse. 

Fixing this is a simple case of wading over to a release valve, which causes a pipe to burst and fly through a door, opening it for you and letting the water drain. That's when the scenery begins to peel away -- a'la Silent Hill: Homecoming and the movie -- and reveal the "Otherworld." 

What followed was a chase sequence as Murphy ran away from a red and black ... thing. Some sort of killer entity, devoid of form. In an admittedly cute fashion, the corridor I ran down rapidly stretched every time I was about to round a corner. It looked cool, but it wasn't really very scary. 

Eventually, I was able to find an elevator and come up into a little area with buildings. There was a monster -- some shadowy, twitchy, screamy woman -- who jumped me from behind in a cheap scare tactic that would be fine for any other game, but feels a little gauche in the psychological horror of Silent Hill. I then got a taste of combat -- the rubbish, rubbish combat. 

Somehow, fighting feels worse than Homecoming or even the original PlayStation 2/Xbox titles. Murphy can't fight for shit, which makes me wonder why he's an escaped convict as he could only be capable of jaywalking at the worst. You can pick up all sorts of weapons from the environment, including bottles and fire extinguishers, but they're all useless in their own unique way, be they too slow, too close-ranged, or simply incapable of connecting with a foe correctly. 

Enemies attack faster and hit harder than Murphy does, and even worse, they're actively annoying opponents. The game cynically tries to make the monsters scary by giving them grab and scream attacks that immobilize Murphy and require the waggling of the movement stick to free him. The trouble is they spam these attacks over and over again, and there's absolutely zero tension in that. Sure, the very first time might induce a bit of cheap panic, but by the fifth time you've had to jostle the stick about like Michael J. Fox on cocaine, it just becomes tiresome and repetitive. There's no horror to be found in that. 

It wouldn't be so bad, but with the demo spawning and throwing enemies at me, running away wasn't much of an option. If combat was more of a last resort, I could dig it, but throwing me into an open area with a bunch of enemies and no other recourse, I was forced to fight enemies with mechanics that have no place in the modern day. Better to take the ability to fight out of the game entirely than have this shoddy attempt. I had a better fighting chance in Silent Hill 2

It's also worth nothing just how disgusting the 3D visuals looked. With the glasses on, bits of Murphy's hair are floating as jagged spikes from his head, and the visuals in this already visually unimpressive game get muddy and blurred. 3D doesn't just add nothing to the experience, it takes away what little visual flare there is. 

If I'm sounding mean spirited, it's only out of love. I adore the Silent Hill and its recent, terrible iterations have become an endless source of frustration. I don't think my love for the series could survive another disappointment, and although I admittedly only played a little slice of the action, I was left feeling utterly empty from the experience. 

With all respect to my colleague Dale North, who is just as much a Silent Hill nut as I am and whose opinion I respect and often seek, I'm going to have to contest his assertion that it's safe to get excited for Downpour. I would, instead, advise extreme caution. I say this as a fan, and one who wants to see Downpour become an excellent game. What I played was not enjoyable, but I know that Konami's heart is in the right place, so I really do hope the final product proves me wrong and we have a game that truly brings the spirit of the series back. 

I just can't hope all that hard.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Every time Nekro changes his avatar, God lets a child in a third-world country starve to death. When will the killing stop, Nekro?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Undertale ending in anime version (don't watch it if you have not played it yet) !
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Pixie isn't my abfave demon, but this cosplay is hhnnggalicious
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
El Dango avatarEl Dango
What if the 'OOSE' thing in the new Bourne poster is deliberate? What if it's like the bad guy or something?
drmcscott avatardrmcscott
No more night Xcom. Cant sleep. No more night Xcom. Cant sleep. WOrk perofmence bad. No moe night Xconm. Nad. Cmat sleep. Hep me! HJkelp me!
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
SMT demons, huh? There's really only one choice.
Malthor avatarMalthor
One of my favourite demons from SMT is Samael, his death magic and Megido spell are always a great help( Megido especially made him the bane of golden hands in my last P4 playthrough). Plus he looks pretty badass.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Favorite demon in Shin Megami Tensei, eh? Oh, I got many but so I'll just pick one for now whom is a beast in the Persona series. Yoshitsune--Hassou Tobi, Heat Riser = Don't fear the REAPER!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Played half an hour of Last Story. Yay, British voices! But the absence of colours makes me want to play other games instead, especially in this greyscale season.
HeyItsDad avatarHeyItsDad
There's not even enough reviews out to give Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth a rating on Metacritic...what's up with this?
ooktar avatarooktar
Dat Booty.
ooktar avatarooktar
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Just came across someone who tried to debate that people don't hate change - They hate BAD change - Ahahahahahahah!
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I miss Crash and Spyro. They had a fantastic trilogy on the ps1 and I loved every minute of it. Here's one of my favorite Spyro tracks, why not post one of your favorite tracks from wither of these great games.
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Many thanks to a pal from time immemorial for his sneaky late birthday present to me of a digital Amazon gift card, which I promptly redeemed for this alluring beaut. Cheers! Viva la PS Vita~ [img][/img]
Parismio avatarParismio
So I played xcom eu last night to get that xcom hype back. Half hour ago I already lost my brother, my best friends and my dog. Its been a stressful evening.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Asides from a last proof read and any final edits, the script for my final 2015 reflection video is now complete. I will see this through to its conclusion. There'll be a blog version as always and once it's done and over with, I'll finally update my bio!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Gore Magala set complete! That only took like 15 or 16 tries!
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -