Silent Hill Downpour Impressions
The various pre-releases of Silent Hill Downpour, either in the form of playable demos or trailers, have received mixed reviews from the Silent Hill fan base and generally unfavorable reviews from critics. However, I have somewhat different views from what I have seen and feel that I should express them. This article will also be something of a preview for Silent Hill Downpour for those that know little to nothing about the coming installation.
Mystery of the characters
Daniel Licht soundtrack
Immediate other world shifts
Aesthetic not ‘Silent Hill’ enough
Potentially annoying combat
The first positive to me is the lack of information that is being given about the game. The thing is that it is a tough balance between hyping the game up and keeping some things secret. For my own part, I hope they keep as many of the monster designs secret as possible. I do not want to see them until they appear in game and hope that Vatra Games keeps as many of the more abstract creatures secret until release as possible.
The second positive is the soundtrack by Daniel Licht, which is really beginning to sound great. In fact, and this may be sacrilege to say, but his soundtrack may be superior to Akira Yamaoka’s previous soundtracks.
The third is the voice acting and characters in general. The voice acting sounds great and really fits the characters. There are no character voices that seem out of place, and the characters do not seem cliché. Murphy seems quite complex and subtle; I suspect he has some variety of mental disorder personally and that he is legitimately a murderer. This means that Murphy may be something of an Edgar Allen Poe protagonist, which may explain the choice of composer who also composed the soundtrack to the television series Dexter.
The fourth is the visuals. While a lot of people have stated that it is not ‘silent hill’, they are wrong. There is something very depressing and gloomy about the visuals. The way the light permeates through the clouds and trees is perhaps the most foreboding and threatening imagery I have seen in a game to date.
The biggest potential negative I see is the otherworld shifts being instant. While this can be fine on occasion, it is better that people are unsure what world they are in. That said, in the first Silent Hill game there were immediate other world shifts that worked well.
Another potential negative is that it may not have a Silent Hill aesthetic. Personally, I like the aesthetic established but some people have compared it to other games, such as Heavy Rain. It certainly has a clear ‘western’ look, or at least a look closer to other games outside of the Silent Hill series.
The final potential negative I see is that the combat may be annoying. It’s a fine line between making a game that forces players to consider whether they participate in a battle and between irritations. Furthermore, a lot of people tend to dislike breakable weapons, but in this particular context it could work well.
The main thing I hope is that the developers do not give in too much to fan pressure. They should make ‘their’ game and try to ignore as much of the, sorry to say it, whinging from the fan base as possible. I would actually include this preview in that whinging. So to Vatra Game, make your game it looks great so far to me. So far the game seems very atmospheric with interesting characters.