RSS Feeds NGN on Facebook NGN on Twitter NGN on YouTube
Wednesday February 21, 2024
Header logo
  1. Index
  2. » Articles
  3. » Reviews
  4. » Silent Hill: Downpour
Platform: PlayStation 3

Silent Hill: Downpour Review

A decent attempt which doesn't quite manage to reach its full potential

Posted by on

According to Konami, 2012 is going to be a good year for Silent Hill fans. With Silent Hill: Downpour, the Silent Hill HD collection and Silent Hill: Book of memories, all being released this year, things are looking quite promising. Nevertheless, fans of the franchise have been complaining for a while now that the series has lost its spark, and that the recent Silent Hill games were not up to the standards that the first games - developed by Team Silent - had established.

Silent Hill: Downpour

This time around the new Silent Hill installment was developed by Vatra Games, the Czech development studio who has given us last year’s Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot. Vatra and Konami managed to create a great feeling of anticipation for the new Silent Hill release, promising a big comeback for the series and a gaming experience similar to the one of Silent Hill 2. Well, Silent Hill: Downpour is finally available, but does it actually live up to the hype?

The game’s story follows a pattern similar to the previous Silent Hill games; this time our protagonist is Murphy Pendleton, a convict whose back-story remains vague at first. We get to know that Murphy’s son Charlie is dead and that he blames himself for it, but we don’t get to find out anything beyond that the incident has caused our protagonist great misery and depression. Downpour’s story begins showing Murphy along with a few other convicts being transported to another prison. When their bus has an unexpected accident, Murphy escapes and starts heading towards Silent Hill, and soon enough, he comes to experience the town’s darkness first hand. From that point on, his main goal is to get the hell out, but of course things are not going to be that easy. Overall, the story is not anything groundbreaking but it does have a few interesting twists and manages to keep the player intrigued, especially as more details about Murphy’s past and the death of his son are revealed.

Silent Hill: Downpour

Silent Hill fans will initially get a familiar feeling when playing Downpour. Murphy’s sense of loss and self-blame manifest quite well into the series’ environments and hostile creatures and they provide good basis for psychological horror; unfortunately, this aspect of the game never reaches its full potential and in the end the player doesn’t come to care about the character, at least not to the level we cared about James Sunderland or Heather Mason (of Silent Hill 2 & 3 respectively). On the plus side, the way you traverse around Silent Hill has somewhat changed, as the player can now teleport from one place to another using the subway stations. The town, and generally all the environments which Murphy visits, are very well designed and full of details, adding to the whole eerie atmosphere. On the other hand, the game resolves to jump-scares way too often, which eventually stops being frightening.

As in previous games of the series, the player will come across a few puzzles they need to solve in order to progress; the puzzles are rather on the easy side and will not be any trouble to most players, additionally they are interesting enough so they will not bore. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the game’s side quests, which mostly feel like errands with no significant purpose and add nothing to the game. Further, the game’s battle system is frustrating to say the least. Murphy’s movements feel ‘heavy’ and at times the character seems to not be responding to the player’s commands. Murphy can use a big range of melee weapons from knives and axes to a fire extinguisher, though these weapons get broken and become unusable after a while. Players can only carry one melee weapon and one firearm at a time, which doesn’t make things any easier. When the melee weapon brakes in the middle of a fight it can become pretty annoying, as even if the player enters the menu in order to equip their other weapon the game does not freeze and Murphy remains vulnerable to enemy attacks.

Silent Hill: Downpour

In the visual department, Silent Hill and all of the other locations look quite polished. The designers’ efforts to make the town look abandoned and gloomy are obvious. In other words, a lot of attention has been paid to the little details making Silent Hill feel as creepy and horrifying as ever. The character models though do not show the same level of detail, and most of the monsters – with the clear exception of the Bogeyman - seem a bit uninspired. Sadly the game also suffers from a serious case of screen tearing and framerate drops, which become more than obvious at times. Another new feature of Downpour is the 3D option, which isn’t anything special and does not add much to the gameplay experience.

Silent Hill: Downpour is the first game in the franchise not to feature Akira Yamaoka as a composer. which was one of the major concerns among Silent Hill fans. Many were disappointed by Korn creating the main song for the game, even before Downpour was released; there was even an online petition in attempt to have it removed. Fortunately, Daniel Licht – known mainly as the composer of the soundtrack of the TV series Dexter – manages to hold his own and creates a decent soundtrack for the game. Nevertheless, the music in Downpour lacks Yamaoka’s touch and his absence is unavoidably noticeable. .

Silent Hill: Downpour

In conclusion, it is always difficult to judge a game which is a part of a well-liked series, as one has to keep a balance between seeing Downpour as a Silent Hill game and also as an individual title. It is obvious that Vatra Games tried to give us a worthwhile sequel, but unfortunately this attempt was not entirely successful. Downpour looks like a Silent Hill game, but in the end it does not feel like one. Even though the story is interesting enough, there are a couple of exciting twists, and the town of Silent Hill is very well designed, the frustrating controls and battle system make the game difficult to enjoy. Additionally, no matter how much slack one is willing to cut Downpour, the tearing issues are too noticeable not to mention; and apart from the multiple endings, there is little incentive for the player to try a second playthrough. Even so, if one keeps their expectations low and they are a die-hard fan of the series, or if they are a survival horror fan in general, Downpour – after a significant price drop - is at least worth a try.

Our ratings for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3 out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
All of the game's environments are very well designed. The detail is obvious in every location that Murphy visits and the eerie atmosphere is certainly a plus. On the downside though, the character models appear quite dull and most of the monsters seem unimaginative.
The battle system and general character controls do not do the game any favors. The difficulty of fighting monsters becomes annoying very soon, and moving Murphy around, especially when the character is inside, can be frustratingly problematic.
Single Player
A decent attempt, but unfortunately the game features nothing special to make it anything more than mediocre. The main story is good, but the protagonist seems a bit blunt at times; the game uses cheap scares way too often for its own good. The multiple endings are not enough of a motive to play the game more than once, and the side quests are boring and not worth the while.
The game suffers from frame drop and tearing issues. Murphy is awfully difficult to control, even when moving around, and sometimes he does not respond to certain commands.
Downpour is a decent attempt which doesn't quite manage to reach its full potential. The problematic battle system, glitches and framerate issues prevent the game from being enjoyable. While the story is rather interesting, it is not enough to make the game rise above mediocrity.
Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: Downpour box art Platform:
PlayStation 3
Our Review of Silent Hill: Downpour
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Silent Hill: Downpour is ranked #1312 out of 1946 total reviewed games. It is ranked #106 out of 145 games reviewed in 2012.
1311. Alpha Protocol
1312. Silent Hill: Downpour
Related Games
Silent Hill F Silent Hill F
Platform: PlayStation 5
Coming: December 2024
Developer: Konami
Silent Hill HD Collection Silent Hill HD Collection
Platform: Xbox 360
Released: March 2012
Developer: Konami

Silent Hill: Downpour
12 images added Sep 4, 2011 15:32
Advertisement ▼
New Game Network NGN Facebook NGN Twitter NGN Youtube NGN RSS