I got less than a third of the way through this game before I shelved it. The quicktime event-based fighting was much too flashy for what is supposedly a horror game. As with Origins, the game is far more about combat than atmosphere, far more about killing monsters than being afraid of them.
The plot hooked me. Alex is a much more compelling
antagonist protagonist than Travis Grady, and I would have been glad to find out what he had stuck in his mental craw. But the game itself wasn’t any fun to play.
I made it as far as the hotel before I died in a fight with three nurses….
- What the crap are nurses doing in the hotel?
- Three nurses at once? Why not fifty? Why not give me a roomful of them and a minigun and I can mow them down in waves?
- This fight took place a good forty minutes away from the last save point, beyond many puzzles and fights and cutscenes. Fanboys will claim that this makes the game scarier, but they are wrong.
- The fight was in a not-particularly-wide corridor. Fighting in this game is very, very touchy. You have to strike at just the right moment, or the multiple foes will “juggle” you, fighting-game style, knocking you around without giving you the chance to recover.
- The game repeatedly tells you to turn off your flashlight if you want to sneak by enemies, but I never had that work once, ever. The corridors are too narrow and the enemies see too well in the dark for it to work. Trying just got me stabbed. This is the first game in recent memory where the in-game tips were dangerous and self-defeating for the player.
- I played that forty-minute section and died at the hands of three nurses twice.
- I wanted to get on with things for the sake of the review, but as usual, you can’t turn the difficulty down (although you can turn it up) and there aren’t any cheats. Do I have forty minutes to gamble on that three-nurse fight again? I do not.
But in the end, it was the sabotaged camera system that drove me away. I’d been playing for hours with their non-invertible camera, and my thumb was now completely confused as to which way I should move to look up. I started playing Prince of Persia, and realized that even though I could set the controls to work the way I wanted, Silent Hill had scrambled my muscle memory so that it was more or less random which way I would move the stick vertically. That is, Silent Hill Homecome wasn’t just a game I didn’t like, it was so bad it diminished my enjoyment of all other games. That’s quite an accomplishment.
A few hours with the Prince straightened me back out, and I don’t dare go back to Silent Hill Homecoming now.
Imagine if they wanted to make a sequel to The Sixth Sense, and they gave the movie to Michael Bay. That is Silent Hill Homecoming.
This series is lost to me. Alas, we had a good run.
A wild game filled with wild ideas that features fun puzzles and mind-blowing environments. It has a great atmosphere, and one REALLY annoying flaw with its gameplay.
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