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Our Premature Evaluation of Silent Hill: Downpour

Welcome to our brand spanking new series euphemistically titled Premature Evaluation where TJ and I will do what juvenile man-children do best and judge harshly from the relative safety of our cheeto-stained bean bags. Essentially, this series is all about recently revealed games we don’t know too much about. Here no game is safe as we’ll be looking at titles that resemble the mushy leakage excreted by a sick dog’s bum as well as beautiful, potentially life-changing games no one would dare utter a negative comment about. This is all about judging a book by its cover, or more specifically, a game by its trailer or assorted screenshots.

The first game we’re taking a look at is the exciting new take on Konami’s long-standing survival horror series, the upcoming Silent Hill: Downpour. This game’s been known to us for some time and we’re not necessarily lacking on details regarding the game’s story and gameplay but that certainly won’t keep us from judging it until we feel we’ve successfully completed our duty of tearing it apart while we listened to the chorus of its screams. Or, there’s always the chance we could both think this game will rock and have little bad to say of it. Either could happen, and that’s what makes this series so damn exciting.

The Visuals

Adam: We’ve seen a handful of lovely screens showcasing Downpour’s gritty new look, but for me the real surprise was how incredible the town of Silent Hill looks. Homecoming wasn’t a great looking game and the only areas that felt like Silent Hill were hidden in a thick fog that made everything feel empty and dull. The only reason fog was so prevalent in the original games was because of hardware limitations, and since that’s no longer an issue that really ended up hurting Homecoming as a whole. Unlike it’s last handful of predecessors, Downpour looks to have taken the town we’ve all grown to love (and at times, hate) and make it feel fresh, crisp, and most importantly, alive.

TJ: I’ll admit, I might be one of the few at least in my group of friends who thoroughly enjoyed Homecoming. I really liked the fact that finally the town had more depth, which seems like it will carry over into Downpour. The movable camera really gave you a chance to look around and see the buildings up to the roof, and even the details put into ceilings in buildings among other things. Though I was a fan of Homecoming, reading an inverview with Vatra Games, it seems like they have this game on lockdown. They know what they want to see and they hint at what Homecoming missed. You can already tell by the wonderous screenshots just how beautiful horror can be.

The Gameplay

Adam: It’s no secret this game is taking a more old school survival horror approach to combat, as you won’t have a weapon inventory, weapons will break and you’ll never feel like you’re too much of a badass. Developer Vatra Games has said the combat in Downpour is more about incapacitating your foe before getting the fuck out of there instead of trying to clobber the ever living hell out of it until there’s no doubt left in you’re mind that twisted mockery of sanity is getting back up.

TJ: I’m way into this idea. It’s much more realistic. I often picture myself running around Silent Hill. Well, I picture myself in Silent Hill, finding a dog house, and curling up in the fetal position until either someone saves me, something eats me, or I die. But what I would really hope for is being able to grab ANYTHING and use it as a weapon. Because you and I both know if you has totally demonic fucked up monster things coming for you we would be throwing tables and books and chairs and planters, mail boxes, well you get the point.

Adam: You picture yourself curled up in a dog house in Silent Hill? I thought I was the only one.

The Story

Adam: Here’s where details get a little more scarce. The main character is escaped prison convict Murphy Pendelton, who with a name like that I’m sure got sent to jail because he shanked the last person who made fun of his unfortunate name. I mean, let’s be honest here, doesn’t Murphy Pendelton sound like the name of a 50’s era butler? Or maybe it’s just me? Anyways, the guy driving the prison transport he’s on must’ve had a few drinks causing him to drive off the road. What makes this suck even more is the accident happens right outside the all too familiar town of Silent Hill, which incidentally is probably the worst place to stop for directions.

TJ: I stoped in Silent Hill for directions once. Then I woke up. Then I woke up again, in Silent Hill, tied to a chair. And some crazy lady was about to put a drill through my eye. I actually read in that interview with Vatra Games that they got the name from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’s Randall McMurphy, and he was on Pendleton farm or something. But the combination absolutely sounds butler-esque. The thing I really like about Downpour is they are keeping the entire game in Silent Hill. Where as in Homecoming you were in Shepards Glen as well. While I did like the expansion of the story in that way, I miss my Silent Hill.

Final Thoughts

Adam: Despite a heavy flow of craptastic sequels and the initial thought that this game was going to be worse than the rest I’m going to say I think Downpour could be the game Silent Hill fans have been begging for since, well, Silent Hill 3 I suppose. Will it be a runaway hit no one sees coming, a la BioShock? Fuck no. Does it have the potential to finally open up the Silent Hill series to a new audience? Maybe.

TJ: I feel like no Silent Hill games, (just like Resident Evil games) will give me that amazing feeling like when I played the earlier titles for the first time. While I am liking a lot of what Vatra has said about Downpour, they also sound very arrogant about the game. I’m curious if they will deliver like it sounds like they want to so badly. What I do know is, while Resident Evil has fallen far down the survival horror ladder, the Silent Hill series has stayed pretty steady. Though Homecoming had a bit more combat, we still had to attempt to duck and dodge the incoming enemies and I died just as much if not more than previous games. I’m looking forward to NOT doing that again. Bring the rain Downpour.

Adam: This leads us to a top secret project we’ve had in development at Dead Pixels HQ for some time. It’s taken hundreds of hours in Photoshop as well as a couple buckets of sweat, blood, tears and energy drinks but we’re certain this new invention is finally ready to be unveiled. Let me introduce to you the Damn Awesome Meter, but its friends call it D.A.M. and so can you. The D.A.M. will be our way of comparing the greatness or failure of a game to other horror titles many of you are probably familiar with. Let’s see how Downpour did…



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