Follow the story of Alex Shepherd, who is returning to his hometown of Shepherd’s Glen to investigate the sudden disappearance of his brother. From Shepherd’s Glen to the foggy streets of Silent Hill, Alex must face the darkest of horrors in order to find his brother. Struggling with his own grip on reality, Alex must unravel the mystery behind his nightmares, discover the truth behind his brother’s and father’s disappearances, and confront the evil that has taken hold of his own flesh and blood.
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Silent Hill: Homecoming was just added by
Silent Hill: Homecoming was just added by
By GG-AngelThanatos on June 9, 2009.
Silent Hill: Homecoming delivers a stunning visual experience not soon forgotten. Mature themes and violence make this game potentially unsuitable for young children or the faint of heart. New controls make combat a bit hard to master, at first, and even on ‘Normal’ mode, monsters are tougher to kill than those of Silent Hill games past. As is typical for the series, the story (albeit deep and well crafted) unfolds VERY slowly, so those who are looking for a quick gaming fix may lose interest before the end. However, unlike most of its predecessors, Homecoming’s story is by far the easiest to understand when it does finally reveal its mysteries. Overall, it’s an enjoyable and definitely unique game.
In this, the 6th installment to the series, Silent Hill: Homecoming follows the tale of Alex Shepherd, a soldier returning home to find his nightmares realized; his little brother, Josh has disappeared. He’s not the only one, either – people, especially children, have gone missing and no one seems to know why. The little town of Shepherd’s Glen is now shrouded in as much fog as it is mystery. It’s no coincidence that Alex shares the same name as his hometown – there is a running theme of rich history and honoring one’s ancestors throughout the game. In contrast, Alex’s story is one of separation from his family and the desperate search to reconnect.
Whether this is your first time playing Silent Hill or you’re a hard core fanatic, Homecoming was meant to be enjoyed moment by moment. In some of the best character development I’ve seen in a video game, the player learns more and more about the town and Alex’s past by examining everything they can. From looking at family photos to reading grave stones in the cemetery, the history of Alex’s family and the mindset of the Shepherd’s Glen community can be pieced together, one observation at a time. Likewise, in the midst of destruction and hellish monsters, Alex finds little hints of humanity and the love and pain they have experienced.
Our adventure takes us through the towns of Shepherd’s Glen and Silent Hill. The texture of each area, each room and even static objects are presented in beautiful HD. Alex can interact more freely with the entire environment – you can try to open every door if you like, knock things over by running into them, or examine things even if they are not vital to the main storyline. Players can now burst through doors, pry things open and chop through barriers with an axe. Realistic lighting and sound make this game a fully-interactive experience of psychological horror. The graphics are seamless, and real-time shadow and weather effects make every moment that much more intense. Akira Yamaoka, a name synonymous with the entire Silent Hill experience, returns with ambient sounds and a musical score that completes the mood from scene to scene.
If this is your first time playing Silent Hill: Homecoming, do yourself a favor and take it slow. You’ll get a lot more out of it.
The character Alex marks the first time in the series that our protagonist has combat skills that are worth mentioning. In previous installments, ordinary people were thrown into extraordinary circumstances and had to fight for survival. This time, Alex can duck, dodge, roll in all directions as well as control the direction and power of each melee strike. Learning these new skills took time and some frustration – yet Alex is now more suited to defend himself against the smarter and more difficult monsters.
Monsters in Silent Hill: Homecoming range from the traditional zombie nurse and mutated dog to giant cockroaches and smoke-spewing creatures, split-headed fiends and all those things that make you go, “Aaaaaaaaagh!!!”
Throughout the game, you can find combat training manuals that give you tips on using your skills to their full potential. The first time through the game, I found these new controls to be clunky and frustrating to remember when faced with tougher, smarter foes. Once I got the hang of it, though, these combat skills came in handy, especially against the Bosses.
Silent Hill: Homecoming is true to the feel of the series visually, audibly and emotionally. This story is separate from the first five but offers little hints to the others, if fans pay close attention. Rather than your classic slasher or monster horror flick, Homecoming plays out more like an episode of the Twilight Zone or a novel by Steven King. Nothing is what it seems, and the plot is full of surprises. Like a good movie, more details become clear if you play it more than once.
As I stated before, the story is well crafted, but takes patience to fully understand. It was well worth it, in my opinion to follow it to the end, but if you are looking for a simple concept like, “we’re at war, go get ‘em” you may find Silent Hill: Homecoming too layered and complex for your first-person shooter preferences. (Those games are great, too, but this is not one of them.) Puzzles throughout the story are few and not very challenging.
There are a number of supporting characters we meet while taking Alex on his quest to find Josh. Of those are members of the four founding families of Shepherd’s Glen and the local sheriff, who worked with Alex’s father. As we did in Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams and Silent Hill 4: The Room, players must at times escort a girl named Elle around with us, and protect her at all costs. Unlike Maria, however, Elle actually helps Alex get into places he otherwise couldn’t by himself, and has the good sense to stay out of the way when enemies are present. Sheriff Wheeler helps lead the way as well, happens to be great with a shotgun, and I can honestly say I felt somewhat comforted to have him with me during some tense moments.
Overall, I would have to say that Silent Hill: Homecoming is a worthy addition to the series, but definitely showed its American influences. On one hand, the story was much easier to understand than in previous installments, but on the other, I couldn’t help but feel that much of Homecoming was more a homage to the series than an original concept, especially from a visual standpoint. This fact was both exciting at times, as a fan and disappointing in others, as I was really hoping for something new. Silent Hill has always made hearts pound and exceeded the limits of our darkest imaginations. The controls were harder to master and monsters more challenging, so I found myself frustrated on more than one occasion. (And mind you, I am no casual Silent Hill gamer!) The story was satisfying and the music and graphics followed me into my dreams at night. Not for the squeamish or small children, Silent Hill: Homecoming pushes your skills and patience, but for a good story, it’s worth the ride.