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PS3 Review – Silent Hill: Homecoming

September 10, 2009 Written by Jonathan Leack

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The Silent Hill series is known for its terrifying psychological situations, and the next-gen iteration of the series is no different. There have now been six games and one movie under the title, and all of them have been praised for their sheer creepiness. Silent Hill Homecoming came out in late 2008, and continued the series’ reputation for being devoted to upping the fear factor from prior installments.

In Silent Hill: Homecoming, you play as Alex Shepherd, a military man who returns home from a tour of duty only to find that his home town is almost completely deserted. And not only that, his brother and father have mysteriously vanished. The game’s story progresses fairly slowly, but toward the end the story picks up quickly and engrosses you. By the end of the game, it’s hard to ignore that the story is very compelling and unpredictable. The strong narrative really is a great addition to the series, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Silent Hill film is made based on this game.

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Unfortunately, the same praise can’t be given to the gameplay. The game plays very similarly to previous Silent Hill games, which means that it hasn’t evolved with the times. Combat is centered around locking onto enemies and dodging at precise moments. While it is intense, it feels very limited and cumbersome.  The menu system is also fairly difficult to navigate, and could’ve definitely used some touching up prior to release. Thankfully, the puzzle sequences throughout the game are very enjoyable, and a couple of them are arguably the best puzzles in a survival horror game. But the bosses are somewhat of a disappointment, and the same tactics used against normal enemies are also used for the majority of the bosses.

The controls in Silent Hill: Homecoming are hit and miss. Moving around feels great, and the gunplay is accurate and responsive. Since ammo is scarce, you are forced to melee for the majority of the game, and the melee combat is very difficult to master. To put it in perspective, the melee combat feels like a hybrid between both real-time and turn-based action games. In order to kill the majority of enemies, you are forced to wait for an attack in order to dodge said attack and perform a counter strike. The lock-on feature really restrains movement and makes for a very difficult, unpolished combat system.

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