The Silent Hills Are Alive With the Sounds of Screaming
by, 14th March 2012 at 11:41 AM (193 Views)
Wow long time no blog, eh? That's what happens when that demon known as irl hooks its cruel talons into you. BUT HEY, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER AGAIN RIGHT?
SO. Right off the bat, people who were anticipating yesterday probably get the title immediately. Those of you who don't get the title most likely don't understand the reference, so here it is: SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR BABY! OMG yes, I picked up my pre-ordered copy yesterday morning and played that betch ALL. DAMNED. DAY. And I'm not even half-way done with the game yet! But here we go, a review from someone who doesn't normally review games! Whewt! SPOILERS AHEAD, so read only if you don't mind having a few things revealed!
Downpour is a pretty good game from what I've played of it, which is quite a bit. There was one puzzle I got stuck on and spent about 20 minutes trying to figure it out; when I did I was so irritated that it was so easy. It was the puzzle where you have to get power to an elevator by placing troughs in a particular manner. Turns out the third trough hadn't been moved all the way to the left the entire time I was messing with the stupid thing; I only discovered it by accident when I was raging at the game and nearly snapping my Left stick in half by turning it so hard lol. Other than that frustrating time (which lets face it, ALL games have that place where you don't know wtf to do next, so it's not something that takes away from this game), it's been really enjoyable.
The graphics are okay, not anything mind-blowing or breath-taking. The cut scenes feel a little jumpy and rough a lot of the times, which is annoying but not anything awful. There's one part I've seen so far that was really nice, though, where you're on a sky tram going over a waterfall. It was executed nicely and was a very pretty scene. Really not much to say; it looks like a standard 360 game (I have 360 version obviously lol). But wait! This is only taking into account the normal world! Otherworld is a WHOLE different ballgame, baby. There's 3D tech in this game that gives the illusion of depth when the Otherworld takes over; I saw a trailer for the first transition to Otherworld and let me tell you, a video online doesn't do it justice. You don't get that sensation of DEPTH just watching a video. But when you're in the Otherworld and you get that feeling...it's pretty awesome. Otherworld's graphics definitely seem better than those of the normal world.
Audio-wise, this game can freak you out. There are times when edgy music plays and just gets you all tense and nervous, making you smash that L shoulder to look back and make sure nothing's sneaking up on you from behind. The sound of rain is nice and would be soothing if monsters weren't more numerous and aggressive when it rained. The sounds the monsters themselves make aren't really all that creepy or anything, but there are some other things that are just freaky. There are police cars, for example, that will patrol the streets of Silent Hill, whooping for a short amount of time every so often. If one of them should happen to come upon you while you're out and about, it'll let out this slightly distorted, shrieking siren that causes everything to get dark (dark like "wtf did my TV just turn off?") and when as long as you're in sight of the police car it keeps whopping and it stays very dark. On top of that the cars literally summon monsters, between 3-4 from what I've seen. Once you get away from the car the darkness fades and eventually you won't hear the whooping anymore. There's also fire alarms; when they're going off in transition to the Otherworld, they continuously increase and decrease in pitch, which is both annoying and creepy. There are also songs that play on the radios you find, and many of them are pretty good (I'm going to have to invest in the OST of this game, there's that much good music). The game's theme song is performed by Korn, which say what you will about Korn being in SH, it's still a very good song imo. All in all, I likey da moosics lol.
I have a few issues with the controls. Usually there's no problem, but sometimes they feel very clunky. Murphy will sometimes get stuck on desks, pulled-out drawers, chairs, corners of buildings, piles of books, and other surroundings, and when you try to maneuver around these obstacles, it almost feels like a chore. There's also the problem of interacting with certain things like ladders; you have to be positioned JUST SO to use them or else you'll run by it or get stuck on it. Also, there are times when you have to break locks on doors and gates; it can be irritating trying to get perfectly positioned in a manner that'll let you hit the lock instead of the gate or door itself. It's also too easy to accidentally throw or drop your weapon imo, but that might just be me being used to the buttons doing other things in other games. Overall the controls handle fine, it's just in some cases they're far too picky in terms of where you need to be for things to work.
The camera works like most 360 games these days, with the L stick moving Murphy and the R stick panning the camera. There's a slight issue in that you can only aim the camera down or up so far, which sometimes limits what you're trying to look at, but it's really not such a big deal that it takes away from the game. You can zoom by clicking the R stick and holding it down; the moment you let it go the camera returns to normal. Honestly it seems it would have been better to click it and let the zoom stay on, then click again to turn zoom off. Having to hold the stick down the whole time you want zoom on can make your thumb tired if you're trying to read stuff like the boards @ Devil's Pit. There's also a neat feature that lets you look back to see what's behind you; press and hold the Left shoulder to make Murphy look back. The game also makes use of fixed camera, usually in a corner of a room. Not really much to say about it, it doesn't really add or subtract anything in terms of playing the game. Finally, there are some wacky camera shenanigans when you're crossing a "balance area", which is when you need to walk over something thin to reach another place. These are usually trees or boards or the like; as you cross over the object, the camera will zoom in and out and go back and forth. You would think that would be extremely annoying, but instead it serves to add to the tension of Murphy edging his way to safety.
The monsters in this SH are standard fare for this franchise. You have the creepy but not too disturbing things like Banshees, creepy glass-like monsters that can only be seen when using a UV light, and a giant monster carrying what looks like an over-sized meat tenderizer that could be this game's version of Pyramid Head. There's one monster that is particularly icky, which I don't know the name of yet and have only encountered once. They don't chase you and from what I can tell you can't kill them or even damage them. Basically they're stuck on walls and every so often they spray this huge gout of blood from a giant gash in their stomachs. I thought at first they represented pregnant woman and that the weird thing in them spewing blood was a fetus, and I thought for certain I heard children crying at this part, but I didn't hang around long enough to really investigate lol. Oh, and there's this...smoke monster, that chases you every once in a while. Holy. Freaking. BALLS. Being chased by that thing makes me a nervous wreck XD. You can't kill it or even fight it; if it gets too close you auto-die. The worst thing is when it's chasing you, you're pressured to make snap decisions on which direction to go, and a lot of the times you choose wrong and have to back-track with that THING closing in on you. Hearing Murphy screaming as it tries to dissolve him adds to the "OMFG RUNRUNRUNRUN" feel of it.
And that brings us to the atmosphere. I have to say this game definitely has plenty of that. I've had so many "F*CK!" moments it's not funny, and there are times when you're seeing what's going on and just going "okay that's not right". Being chased by the smoke monster is one of the most nerve-wracking things in this game, but there are plenty of others I've come across. At one point you're on a train going through mines, and there are mannequins posed as an educational recording plays. The train then stops and the screen starts to flash; every time a stab of light comes, you see the mannequins all coming closer and closer, and there's one that gets RIGHT UP ON TOP OF YOU and you're like "HOLY MOTHER OF CHEESE" until the lights come back on and the train starts again, at which point the mannequins are back in their spots like they never moved. But then as the train continues the Otherworld forms and all these monsters are EVERYWHERE, and the entire mine is falling down around you. It's like a super-demented version of the boat ride from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.
All in all, so far the game has its cons, but no game is perfect and to be fair, the cons are hardly worth worrying about compared to the game overall. It's fun, it's scary, and it's Silent Hill. What more could you want? If you like a good fright now and then I recommend picking it up.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"Too bad I don't have the money to get Silent Hill HD next week, but it's okay because I'm getting Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City! WHEWT 8D!"
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