......and in the world of gaming technology progression, this is not so good. Let's get straight to the point. Silent Hill Homecoming is NOT a bad game, it's just not what you would expect from a next gen console title. Bioshock it is not. The story is pretty decent and probably won't disappoint fans, and the 5.1 sound is used brilliantly to creep you out even when nothing is happening.
Since the release of the first Silent Hill game on the original Playstation, the franchise has had me hooked. In my opinion the second game was the best in terms of disturbing imagery, hidden meanings and intense plot, but every game in the series has had something unique to offer the player, from the growing dread of what James will discover at the Lakeside Hotel in SH2 to the horror of confinement that Henry suffers in SH4.
I don't know what it is. but Silent Hill Homecoming just doesn't feel quite right. Believe it or not, the graphics do not seem to be as rich and gory as previous instalments, which were all on inferior consoles. Even the Playstation 2 could create textures that looked slimy, moist and down right disgusting. Knowing what the 360 can do (Bioshock), the graphics seem very underdone and washed out. Lighting effects are a vast improvement, but textures, character models and even the dreaded fog all seem to be lacking that next gen sheen. This game could easily have been another PS2 release, no problem.
Basically then, the graphics are disappointing for a next gen console, but as we all know graphics aren't everything. Sadly though, this is not the only game element to suffer. The game is now far too combat heavy, and as a result the creepy and obscure puzzles that are compulsary to Silent Hill games seem to have fallen by the wayside and the suspense that builds in waiting to be attacked and then not been has also sadly gone. Your character Alex Sheperd feels more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer taking on the legions of hell, as you hack and slash your way through countless generic enemies, sometimes taking on four or five at once. The problem here is that the combat system is built for one on one combat which usually means heavy damage is taken in battle. Players who found combat difficult in previous games, are in for a challenge, as the difficulty has gone through the roof with a new strategic battle system with all enemies having there own week spot. To make matters worse there's hardly any ammo and health pickups to be found. So to sum up gameplay is also disappointing.
I think the main thing wrong with Silent Hill Homecoming is, believe it or not, the Silent Hill movie. The game borrows very heavily from it, rather than coming up with fresh ideas. This means that you feel like you have seen it all before. From the design of the nurse enemies to the decaying peeling effect when the world alters to the hell state, and even locations like the Grand Hotel are all taken from the film. While the film certainly wasn't bad, this makes SHH feel like the game based on the movie based on the game, if you get my meaning. Almost as if the movie was the new bench mark for Silent Hill, and not the last game.
Overall then, Silent Hill Homecoming is pretty average. It lacks originality, strong characters, next gen graphics and a decent balance of gameplay and puzzles. But if you can, don't let this put you off, as it still offers scares and thrills a plenty. Perhaps wait till it drops in price though as perhaps it's not quite worth the £40 price tag. Some games play better if you pay less for them I find.
+Lot's of jump out of your skin moments
-Lack of puzzles