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Silent Hill Downpour back to reviews
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Functional, but disappointing
This is probably one of the better Silent Hill games in recent years. Then again, that's damning with praise: it's not terribly good, but given the fairly consistent failures since the high points of the Silent Hill 2 era, beggars can't be choosers. The biggest problems are the enemies, the characters, the storytelling, and the atmosphere.

The enemies: boring, largely unvaried, and un-scary designs. For a Silent Hill game, that last one is a huge problem. Too many of them (read: any of them) just look like hobos who took a roll in the mud or convicts with Errector Sets latched to their heads. And they're dumb as bricks: they can't pass through doorways, and forget about you far too quickly. In older Silent Hill games, the enemies had strong connections to the characters trapped in the town. In this? Not so much. And if they do, it's not even to the protagonist.

The characters: Murphy Pendleton does a decent job acting the part of a man stuck in Silent Hill and desiring simply to escape Most of his goals are with that in mind, not getting to the bottom of some mystery. But he screams like a schoolgirl at the slightest provocation, which saps his tough ex-con image pretty quickly. And most other characters are two scene wonders: they're met, then seen a little while later, and then vanish/die.

The storytelling: Too. Many. Files. I've never seen so many written pages in a game of this length, and it's lazy storytelling at best and laughable (There was a Silent Hill Tourism Board!) at worst.

The atmosphere: Credit where it's due first. The town of Silent Hill has never looked better. Even the fog looks great, though it's hampered by dumb-as-bricks enemies being visible before they're hostile. And the last mission of the game just gives you a shotgun and a mess of ammo...and makes you fight a gauntlet of enemies on a descending elevator. It was a like playing Dead Space, only with clumsy combat controls, boring weapons, and inferior enemy designs.

Conclusion: there's so much more I could talk about, but this is a 400 word review, so I'll wrap up. Downpour has a lot of faults. They're not hard to find, nor are they easy to ignore. But give it a rent and see if you find that old Silent Hill magic buried inside. If you like, buy. If not, no harm done.
"Tough ex-con" is hardly how I would describe Murphy's character. I thought it was made pretty clear that he's an ordinary guy who got in ''way' over his head, not just as a victim of Silent Hill, but as a prisoner. He needs protection; he looks to Colerdge and Sewell for guidance. On his own, Murphy's nothing but jailbait, and the game never seems to give any impressions otherwise except for Ending D, but in that case the game as a whole ends up being how Murphy likes to see himself (a mostly innocent victim) vs. how he is in reality (a sociopath).
comment #14897 Robotnik 16th Jun 12
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