Silent Hill: Downpour (PlayStation 3) Review

By Ofisil 12.02.2017

Review for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3

Even at its best, 'Merica's horror cinema is mostly gore and jump scares. Europe either rips-off Hollywood, or tries out different things that even use elements from other genres. Asia, however, and, especially, Japan, follows a far more effective path. Instead of monsters, it uses an insanely dreadful atmosphere, and instead of torture porn-like violence, prefers getting deeper into our psyche. Enter Team Silent and their revered psychological horror series, Silent Hill. Unfortunately, and for some strange reason, Konami threw the franchise at the hands of some western, and relatively unknown, companies, degrading its quality in the process. Cubed3 takes a look at the third non-Japanese instalment, Silent Hill: Downpour.

The protagonist is "just a guy," who happens to be a prisoner, and who butchers someone in the very intro of this adventure, and in a pretty disturbing way - not visually disturbing, though. It's just that the player is unaware of the reason, which makes Murphy Pendleton, the star of this dark tale, look as a pretty unlikable fellow… which, by the way, is the strongest emotion that you'll have towards him. Soon, he'll end up in Silent Hill, where he will have to face strange shrieking zombie-ladies, grotesque monsters, and a sort of 'Death Wave' that chases the main character around, and which can't be shot like any simple enemy - oh, and lots of crows, for… some reason.

Screenshot for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3

Unfortunately, Silent Hill: Downpour is a victim of some severe westernization, and as a result, it has lost a great deal of its charm, foreboding atmosphere, feeling of dread, and mystery, and thus, it's the least scary instalment so far. Even the themes that it explores, while interesting, aren't handled that well, with the typical symbolism of the series being a bit more "in your face" than it needs to, and, generally, not as effective as in, say, Silent Hill 2.

Moving on, while the OST and the sound effects are more than decent, the same can't be said about the visuals. Besides the overall dark blandness of it all, with not even the monsters looking as - pleasantly - creepy as they used to, this is a piece of software that, even after so many years and several updates, still has some pretty serious frame-rate stutters, as well as an unreasonably high amount of freezes.

Screenshot for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3

Gameplay-wise? Same old, same old. Explore, find key items, kill enemies, solve puzzles, watch cut-scenes, rinse, repeat. Of course, no Silent Hill impressed people with its gameplay, since it was mostly about the plot… which, to be honest, is not that impressive here. In other words, it's all about the game as a game, and nothing else. So, is it a good one? The answer is a big disappointing 'No' - disappointing because it tried to handle the action part a little bit differently… and failed while at it.

Screenshot for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3

Silent Hill: Downpour is mostly about avoiding enemies, not fighting them, and that's certainly a good thing in survival horror games… theoretically. You see, Murphy will have to heavily rely in melee weapons; melee weapons that lay everywhere, like hammers, axes, or simple sticks, and which tend to break very easily, forcing the one in control to use them as a last resort. The problem? Every now and then, you'll just have to fight.

Simply put, the battle mechanics are sluggish and unreliable, making battles feel more like chore-ish than challenging. Unresponsive, slow, and weak, Murphy is the worst character in the franchise when it comes to killing monsters, and especially when he has to face multiple enemies (read: more than one), or fight one in a cramped area… which is certainly not a rare occurrence.

Screenshot for Silent Hill: Downpour on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Silent Hill: Downpour is not a bad Silent Hill, but it's certainly the most average one. It lacks the spook factor and fantastic atmosphere, it lacks the interesting storyline, and it lacks a great deal of fine tuning. It shows some shines of brilliance, and it tries a couple of new things, but, as a whole… meh.

Developer

Vatra

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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