Silent Hill Homecoming Review

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Review
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Silent Hill Homecoming Review

‘The point’ is such a strange thing – it’s so hard to make and so easy to miss. Case in point is the Silent Hill franchise, which peaked with the utterly peerless second game and very nearly changed survival horror forever. Since then, the series has become ever sillier and has never managed to even come close to the greatness it once tasted.

Enter Double Helix, an American studio charged with the unenviable task of recreating those glory days for a new generation of consoles. Yes, you read that right: a Japanese horror title made by Americans. ‘The point’ is about to be missed by such a distance that alien life will be found by the end.

Silent Hill Homecoming follows the hatefully moody Alex Shepard, a war veteran who returns to his hometown of Shepard’s Glen to discover that his younger brother and father have vanished and his mother has gone barmy. Mustering the willpower to care about his pathetic life, players will then discover all the usual Silent Hill bullshit, such as evil cults, missing people and the town itself, which, as always, is dealing with a heavy fog problem.

From the off, you just know that this is going to be a total disaster. There’s literally nothing here that hasn’t been done before in the other games. Weirdly sexy nurses, dingy hospitals, nightmare industrial sections, bizarre monsters and even Pyramid Head all return from past titles, and there’s no reason for them here.

The reason the game misses the point so hugely is because of the simple fact that the town of Silent Hill exists to challenge tortured souls and help them overcome their troubles. Silent Hill 2 saw James Sunderland running from his guilt (represented by Pyramid Head), while attempting to confront his own sexual frustration (represented by many of the sexualised enemies) and dealing with his own inadequacies. It was a total masterpiece and to see its best parts dragged through the mud here is a little like watching a dear friend get trampled by flaming horses.

The game lurches from one franchise cliché to another without making any attempt to do anything new with them. Old, stale locations are explored repeatedly, bland weapons are used again and again and all the life is slowly sucked out of the player. The story wanders listlessly onward, forcing the player to solve a myriad of boring, senseless puzzles to continue and the other characters are a genuine pain to interact with.

The worst parts of this game are the hideous number of bugs that are present in the final copy. It’s all too easy to break the game and be forced to start all over again just because you did something slightly wrong, or even to not be standing in the EXACT SQUARE that is required for the interact symbol to appear on screen. You’ll probably lose hours running around and around before you finally give up and check out how to do it online.

The point (there’s that word again) is that Homecoming is nothing short of a total mess. A horrible attempt to Americanise a beloved Japanese psychological horror franchise, the result is a child so ugly not even its parents could love it. There’s nothing to recommend here, except abortion.



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