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SummaryThe way back home
The GoodIt's really difficult for me to make an objective review of a Silent Hill game.
Silent Hill: Homecoming was conceived as a spin off of the main series, but once they realized that the game was something more than that, they included it as a main game of the series, the fifth one.
To sum up, Silent Hill: Homecoming is less abstract, like a western game that don't need a lot of interpretations in the end like the other games of the series did. We must remember that this is the first main game of the series after the Silent Hill movie, and it influenced a lot many aspects of the game.
The best news are that the atmosphere and essence of the series is still on this game. I'm not sure if it's because of the good work made by the designers or just because Akira Yamaoka has a special talent to make his music the most important thing on a game, even better than the game design. It's hard to believe that Akira Yamaoka is still composing the music and the sound as he does, and his soundtracks are just epic, mixing trip hop with industrial sounds that really suits with the inner Hell of each Silent Hill game.
Silent Hill: Homecoming is not about Silent Hill, is about Alex Shepherd, about Alex's torment and his own Hell, which is something new in the series. The main story is perfect, and most of the players will be amazed by that.
Graphics are substantially improved from previous games, and the control and use of the camera suits better with the game. Silent Hill 4: The room has a different camera system, Homecoming is a turning back from that point, and a better one. Facial animations are perfect and expressive. Textures and stages are adequate too (specially Alex's home).
Of course, the whole town and the rest of the places are fully detailed, with many things almost insignificant that has to do with the main story. That subtlety is another topic of the series, that makes you want to play it again and associate things with the story once you know what happened, when all the things that you saw appears to has no sense. And that's how we make a depth story...
Gameplay and specially battle system has been modified. We have many weapons and most of them are for melee combats. There are many bullets out there anyway to keep the bad things away.
The best news for Silent Hill is the fact that his direct competitor has changed the genre of its games, so, now the crown is for Silent Hill series. It's true that Resident Evil and Silent Hill were always different games, but now that difference is clearer.
The BadFirst of all... We need more Pyramid Head! We want more of him, for sure! He'll be in the game, but only in two (or three? I'm not sure) cinematics, what a pity.
The main problem is that the game was conceived as a spin off, and that feeling is all over the game while you're playing. It seems like something big is going to happen when you're playing, but it never comes.
Gameplay is good, but the inventory screens aren't and sometimes you will use things that you don't want to use (and there's nothing more frustrating than wasting a first aid med kit on a survival horror game). To avoid attacks is something really difficult and it will need a lot of your time to master it, sometimes it's just a battle without avoiding until one of the opponents dies.
To finish with, the game's short, with different endings, but short anyway. A pair of hours more would be enough.
The Bottom LineHomecoming is not the best Silent Hill of the series, but it still got the essence and atmosphere that make this game worthy. Many players really miss the first games of Silent Hill, but we must applaud the good intention of make something new and not just living in the past, without losing that essence.
Long live to Akira Yamaoka.