Preview: Silent Hill: Downpour
“Silent Hill introduces an all-new storyline and unique evolutions in gameplay, building on innovations and successes from over a decade of true survival horror and terror.” — Martin Schneider, European Marketing and PR Director for Konami.
Silent Hill: Downpour. The eighth addition to the popular Silent Hill horror series will take place in the eerie town of Silent Hill, where the player is required to survive the horror put forward.
The latest addition to the survival horror series will be developed by Vatra Games, a studio which is plotting an interesting story which seems to differ from the previous games. And in fact, if you haven’t played the previous games you won’t need to, as Downpour will be playable as a first time title.
Title: Silent Hill: Downpour
Developer: Vetra Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: Survival Horror
Expected Price: R400+
Release Date: 13-30 March
Downpour will have a plot which follows a hardened criminal, in a spooky town. Instead of the usual good guy fighting for his life, we now have someone who can actually fight for his life. Alongside that, a criminal is accustom to creating make-shift weapons to hurt and kill people, or things.
Vatra Games and Konami has developed a storyline that stars Murphy Pendleton, a criminal who is being transported in the prison bus. Because Silent Hill is full of rain, water, and thunder, something goes wrong causing the bus to veer off the road and crash. The crash is near Silent Hill, and that’s where Murphy Pendleton will travel to.
This plot is said to be unrelated to previous games, where the only real similarity is Silent Hill as the town in question. But, even then, it is different. Downpour will take place in the southeastern region of Silent Hill, a place which has never been explored.
Due to the fact that Downpour is based on the bottom of Silent Hill — and that the game doesn’t borrow many cues from other versions — previous buildings included in the game will be excluded. Instead, one will need to enjoy the new elements of psychological horror.
In essence, Silent Hill: Downpour will be a game which focuses on Murphy Pendleton, opposed to the town. It’s a different setting for Silent Hill games, and it essentially allows the game to offer something new and unique.
The story of Murphy Pendleton starts when the bus crashes. He will be stuck in a strange part of the woods where he needs to survive. Silent Hill is nearby, however he doesn’t know the evil that lurks the town.
As Murphy Pendleton makes his way to the city, he encounters Anne Cunningham, a corrections officer who is trying to track down the prisoners who escaped. Murphy Pendleton will try and avoid Anne Cunningham throughout the game. Following the meet with the corrections officer, the player will interact with various other people in the city. Each time Murphy Pendleton meets a new character, something bad is expected to happen.
From a third person view-point, both the player and the character is said to face their deepest sins and fears in the strange city.
In Downpour, players will encounter mind-bending puzzles with horrific creatures and otherworld terrors. To fight these monsters, Murphy Pendleton will have to improvise and make weapons with various objects, such as wooden chairs and glass bottles.
The enemies are said to trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response in the player. This response will unravel the storyline as you play, as it will change based on your actions. The thought-provoking storyline will appeal to the early Silent Hill fans. It’s evident, therefore, that Silent Hill: Downpour offers the best of both worlds: something for the new guy, and something for veterans to relate to.
Downpour’s decision making system will offer the player various options, and based on what is chosen the game will end in a specific way. The decisions on what to do will be blatantly obvious, or very subtle.
With a combat and puzzle-solving storyline, one will need to play as it suits them. There will be side quests which change depending on the player’s style of play. The quests will reveal the evil which lurks the town.
As for weapons, alongside the make-shift tools, there will be few firearms available. Melee weapons will be breakable, and all in all, the player can only carry a single weapon at once.
The environment is built so that the player is never “truly” alone, as something is always lurking in the shadows. Following this, there’s two new areas to play in: The Diner and The Devil’s Pit. Both of these offer a unique experience which might seem claustrophobic due to the rain and darkness.
And that’s another thing. Water is said to be a vital element in the game, as torrential rainfall will feature. Take your umbrella, because it’s bound to get very wet. And very noisy, from thunder.
The difficulty and combat system for the game will suit all players. If one prefers to fight over solve puzzles, you can set this. And vice-versa. Konami understands that not everyone likes fighting, and that not everyone likes puzzles.
If one sets fighting to easy and puzzles to hard, hidden content could be revealed as a result of fewer prompts and contextual clues. Playing the side-quests is said to be valuable, as it will offer the player rewards. Rewards like shotguns or health packs.
From this, it’s evident that Silent Hill: Downpour is aimed at the thinker and not really the combatant. Which is great as there’s enough fighting games available.
Silent Hill: Downpour will take fear and horror from the old games, and enhance it with a bit of a twist. This game will feel different to the old ones, as you’ll find things that you don’t expect to normally find.
To enhance the thrill, music for the game has been created by Daniel Licht — the man responsible for the soundtrack of the popular TV series, Dexter. KoRn, the metal band, has also created a song specifically for Downpour.
Can you survive the town of Silent Hill? If so, Downpour releases in March on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It will use the Unreal Engine 3 and offer 3D Support.