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December 20, 2008D. Riley

They keep pumping them out.

Silent Hill: Homecoming boasts list of lame features is so long you’ll probably want to grab a snack before I start rattling them off. There's a useless dodge maneuver that works only half the time, there's an annoying combo system that really doesn't belong in survival horror of any variety (but if they were forced to do it, like if their family was held up at a gunpoint, you think they could've at least done a better job), there's Pyramid Head and lordy-lordy I'm so glad they keep putting that asshole in things whenever they get the chance. It could be worse, I guess, they could have just made a half-assed Pyramid Head wannabe like they did with Silent Hill: Origins. Or maybe they'll partner with Square and put a Super-Deformed version of him in the next Itadaki Street.

Maybe the worst of the bunch is that you can call the shocking plot twist from a mile away. I played Silent Hill 2 too, and since nobody's hit me in the back of the head with a lead pipe in the time since then I can still kind of remember how that game ended. Blissfully free of brain trauma, I am fully able to recall that it's almost the exact same twist as Silent Hill 2. Almost. Now they’ve added ritual sacrifice! I'm willing to buy that there's one creepy resort town with an underground demon cult attached to it, but I think a town like fifty miles away with an even more demonic cult that kills their own children wouldn't get away with it for very long. Just think of the conversations between neighbors, "So, Tom, haven’t seen your kid in awhile. Where's he been?" "Uh, college...?"

And heck, I'm the generous sort so I'm willing to accept that nobody who's in on the whole conspiracy is perturbed by what's going on. I guess they're just used to the vagina-faced monsters. It becomes an issue when your main character saunters in and asks, point blank, "What's up with all the monsters?" That seems like a question that demands a straight answer.

The reason he can't get an straight answer is because there is no straight answer, except for this: everything is happening in this game because this crap happened in other Silent Hill games and it was awesome there, right guys? There's no consistent game logic, it's all just flavor scattered around for fanservice. That's why we have Pyramid Head even though it makes no sense for him to be here, and even though they didn’t even TRY to half-ass his characterization from Silent Hill 2. Now he's just some asshole with a giant knife that goes around bisecting people. Why? Well, I don't know. Maybe mom never loved him. Or maybe his parents were okay, they just taught him the importance of using everything you have. After all, you don't own a six foot long knife and then go around NOT splitting people in half, do you?

We got a couple good games. Man, remember Silent Hill 3? It had that great song by Akira Yamaoka and Mary-Elizabeth McGlynn. That was pretty sweet! And remember shooting that lizard in the first one? I was all like "Oh man, wait for him to open his mouth!" as opposed to this one where, I don't know, the big tittied nurses are back again for some reason. This is the constant complaint: do we not get why those undead chicks were all bosomy in Silent Hill 2? Do we not know why there was a vagina-esque monster? It's all about sexual tension and violence and creepy stuff like that. Is there sexual tension in Silent Hill: Homecoming? I don't know, I hope not. Considering the only backstory in the game is about the main character's preteen brother, that would be a little weird. With fanservice as their only reason to be, the nurses persist.

But IS it fanservice? Is this what the fans want, more Pyramid Head? Dude's only in the game for two minutes and it's still enough to ruin everything. Do they want dialogue trees? Dying in during a boss fight and having to repeat the lame button presses makes it obvious that all the answers lead you to the same conclusion. Really all they've done is invent a new excuse for an unskippable cutscene. Thanks for that, Silent Hill 5.

Please just can the whole thing. Crests and medals to open doors and bloody barbed wire and rusty gratings and giant industrial fans, man, that stuff had its day in the sun. Crappy UFO Endings persist, the final nail in the coffin, showing us definitively that this game is just the soulless harvesting of its predecessor's parts. The creepy, intense psychological horror that defined the Silent Hill series is gone and, after three increasingly bad games, I don’t think it's coming back.

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4 comments for ‘Silent Hill: Homecoming’

#1 Dylan Dec 21, 2008 03:01am

Keep on fighting the good fight man! I just found this site the other day and I've gotta tell you, you've got great voice that comes across very well in your articles. Plus you put a spoiler alert in your oasis article so that puts you 1 above ign in my book.

#2 MetalLink1979 Dec 25, 2008 11:17pm

I weep every time I see an article on how terrible Homecoming and Origins are. I could stand 4; the serial killer angle made me fight through the game's ludicrous weapon degradation system and asinine camera in the same way I fought through the constant money grind in No More Heroes to get to the bitchin' boss fights. I was saved when I finished Origins in about 4 hours, because if I had to solve one more cliched puzzle or go through another goddamn mirror, I was going to launch my PSP across the room like I just found a spider on it.

With Homecoming, there was no pay off of a rich story. There was no reprieve of a credit crawl after 5 hours. What there was was a lame attempt at reinventing themselves just as RE4 did, but instead of a tight 3rd person shooter with boss fights that you could put on a top ten list, you got a hamfisted dodge mechanic and shooting mechanics that could make the game even less challenging if it wasn't already easier then revisiting Kindergarten. Combat systems work in survival/horror when you make sacrifices: you want ammo? Okay, but you'll have to waste it on tens upon hundreds of enemies. You want an over-the-shoulder view? Okay, but you can't move while doing it. You want Quick Time Events? Fine, you little prick, but you better be ready for a gruesome-ass death after you fail it even once.

There needs to be danger for there to be horror. Where's the danger SH5? You got an old man that listens to too much Linken Park and a misplaced Pyramid Head with a stare that couldn't even intimidate a paper bag. Great article, shit game. Live on, NG.

#3 Anonymous Feb 14, 2009 05:21am

I agree entirely with these views as I too have suffered through dealing with Homecoming. I'm two-thirds of the way through this game and I'm so nauseated I want to blow chunks..and no it's not because of the "gruesome" nature of the game..it's because this game BLOWS ASS!! This game is the black sheep in the Silent Hill series and rightfully so because of how there is a complete LACK of anything with a remote semblance to a plot. So some guy is looking for his brother...that isn't enough to take up an entire game's plot for fucks sake! Pyramid Head does NOT belong in this game and furthermore, the nurses don't either. Christ, at least they had a purpose when James was involved! Just another soulless money grubbing game pumped out off the assembly line of shit.

#4 schkyzm Feb 27, 2009 03:09pm

i can't believe i've been playing this, and somewhat enjoying it, despite everything wrong with it.

have i gone soft? :(

thank you for driving this home, i need to just throw my hands up and admit defeat - this game is a pile of crap and i DO regret blowing more than $10 on it. after the train wreck SH4 was i let Origins slide because it was a quick fix for the atmosphere The Room lacked (and i couldn't be too hard on it, it was ported from the PSP for crying out loud). i'm a masochist, i haven't beat homecoming yet, thanks for not spoiling anything but still letting me know PH only makes a cameo. i would've raged if he had anything more to do with the already lame-brained plot.