GC 2008: Silent Hill: Homecoming Hands-On

Konami's survival horror series makes its first appearance on the Xbox 360 and PS3 soon. We shuffled along to the company's booth for a new hands-on.

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Even in the hustle and bustle of a busy convention centre, there's something unsettling about playing Silent Hill. From the creepy intro to the grainy look of the game overall, we had an enjoyably scary time playing it on the Xbox 360 at this year's Leipzig Games Convention.

The demo itself was similar to the one that we played at this year's E3, but we were able play a different level of the game in Germany. It started with us viewing through the eyes of the protagonist, who was strapped down to a medical stretcher that was being led through a hospital. As we looked around, we could see people being operated on (or tortured, as is probably more accurate) by the crazed creatures who had taken over the establishment. Shortly after, we were left in an operating room while a strange creature waited outside. Thankfully, we were able to tap the X button to escape from the shackles, allowing us more freedom to explore the world.

It's clear that Silent Hill has taken a few tips from Resident Evil in updating the franchise. The main character moves more quickly and freely than in previous games, and though it can still be difficult to move quickly enough when engaging an enemy, the controls feel much more nimble than before. The combat also feels more frenetic, and we were able to finish off some of the nurses by grabbing their heads and stabbing them in the neck. Needless to say, gushers of blood sprayed all over the place, some of it even hitting the camera.

In terms of puzzles, the game seems to be in more familiar Silent Hill territory. We encountered a door with an electronic lock, but in the adjacent room we found a clue: half of an X-ray sheet that had a number scrawled across it. With a little help from our Konami representative, we were able to find the other half of the sheet and put together the code. Shortly after, we entered the hospital toilets (and what Silent Hill game would be complete without toilets?), where we saw the game slip into the "alternate universe" state, which should be familiar to fans of the series. The walls stripped away to reveal a much grimier hospital than before.

This Silent Hill takes the series' traditional art style and filters it through the Xbox 360 to create an arresting new look. The flashlight looks particularly realistic, especially in casting shadows, and a lot of the medical equipment lying around would shake if we bumped into it. The characters and environments are detailed, but the intentionally grimy look makes the game feel as if it has been captured on old, decaying film. It won't be to everyone's taste, but it certainly adds to the atmosphere of the game.

We're encouraged by what we saw of the new Silent Hill, and we'll hopefully get to see more of it on the show floor in the coming days. The game launches on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later in the year.

Discussion

75 comments
Jackc8
Jackc8

This game's been out for nearly a year - and still no review? What, Silent Hill isn't an important enough franchise for Gamespot to cover?

Vasot
Vasot

The game is nothing special according to the people that played it IGN gave it a 6.7 score Yikeeessss :(

10679
10679

the game got a B or slightly higher. you can read the review at www.1up.com

rofolini
rofolini

Now that this game has been released there should be some reviews, right? What is going on... is this game not worth reviewer's time?

Joman1000
Joman1000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Joman1000
Joman1000

Here's a question that maybe someone will have an answer to; Why is no one covering this game's progress anymore? It's like it's being kept completely under wraps, or publishers/journalists just don't care. I work at Gamestop and every day I come into work I pass through Barnes & Noble and read EGM, Game Informer, Play, PC Gamer, etc... and they're either making absolutely NO mention of Silent Hill Homecoming, or the mention they do make is brief and incredibly uninformative. It's frustrating because it's really the only game that I'm passionately awaiting some more info on, and I'm getting much, much less than basically every other game coming out. Is Konami keeping this one behind lock & key or something?

Laughlin13
Laughlin13

i hope this makes up for SH4,and thank god that we get a main character that looks like he has killed someone before,but its looks like its going to be awesome

crudmanIV
crudmanIV

cool. the only SH experience I have is the movie but this might be something I'll look into

shoks64
shoks64

september 30th only in north america.Later in november in europe

Pompon_2
Pompon_2

Does anyone know the exact time of the release??? Its saids in september olny :( what day?

Genocide901
Genocide901

Yes, I too have high hopes for the game's story and atmosphere. I've only recently gotten into Silent Hill and have only played 2 and 4 (although I have educated myself on the other games in the series), and I am hopeful because the developers stated in an interview (I believe) that they are trying to go with a Silent Hill 2-esque story and atmosphere. Xavier, believe me, I can tell that you aren't trying to fight with me. Chances are you'd sound a lot madder and dumber if you were. I do kind of see where you're coming from with the combat system. I actually thought that the combat in The Room was pretty good: auto lock was pretty appropriate, and the controls were actually pretty fluid but Henry's attacks still gave a sense of his lack of combat experience. If we're talking about a character with not combat experience, then I think that the combat would be best implemented if you could easily control the protagonist's movement and time of attack, but then the actual attack animations would have to play out in some way that made them seem inexperienced....you know what I mean? The player has complete control although the character may be inept in skill. Obviously this is not the case with Homecoming, what with the whole dodging and counter system a la Origins. I have faith in the developers, though, despite everyone else's doubts. Who knows, maybe the combat will actually be scarier because of its increased intensity. Of course, this is not what everyone wants. We'll just have to see come September 30.

Darth_Xavier
Darth_Xavier

Ok Genocide once again I am completely on your side with everything but the combat. Yes, we dont know much about the story or the characters and I personally have high hopes for that. I really want the series to go back to the psychological horror roots. While I understand what youre saying about the combat system in the previous games, thats what I personally liked. Yes, they were clunky and sometimes irritating. But like I said before, the characters were ordinary people. They werent some super commandos going in to save the world from some otherworldly menace. They were ordinary people who were in the wrong place at the right time. Not trying to pick a fight with you dude, but I am a huge fan of the series and I want to see this series go back to its roots.

Genocide901
Genocide901

In response to Joman1000: Here is an excerpt from your most recent post: "The previous Silent Hill games, regardless of what anyone says, stood on their own because each one of them was a sort of a representation of a nightmare or all of our paranoid delusions/religious and spiritual fears. This game, however, appears to be nothing more than a shallow interpretation of the previous games, therefore, as far as I can tell, it has a fraction of the atmosphere and emotive nature of the previous games. It's more high budget American nonsense." Now, please keep in mind that I am NOT attacking you, but I do have to wonder what exactly you are basing this interpretation on. Of the gameplay videos that I have seen, there has been little to no information on the development of the story, only combat/puzzle/exploration scenes. The trailer gives a little insights as does one film of a cutscene early in the game, but aside from these we have been presented with very little insight into the characters. So I ask you, how can you be so certain that the protagonist will NOT have a terrifying story that plays on both his and our own nightmares and delusions? What I'm getting at here is, do you really not see any potential in this game, or do you just have no faith because of the development team? Secondly, while I do understand everyone's concerns with the combat system and increased emphasis on action in the game, I'd like to point out that the control schemes and combat systems in the previous games were never something to be admired. In most instances they were clunky and irritating at times. And I must remind everyone that a control scheme should not make a game unfun. Granted, as joman stated, this is a survival/psychological horror game, and as such it is intended to disturb the player to a degree. However, creating a disturbing atmosphere and moderate sense of helplessness is not accomplished by providing the player with poor controls. Because, we must all keep in mind that while Silent Hill is meant to be a disturbing game, it should also be FUN TO PLAY. Thanks for reading.

Darth_Xavier
Darth_Xavier

I get where Joman1000 is coming from. And as far as the combat goes I agree, it shouldnt be another version of Resident Evil (no offense to the fans of that series) as one of the main reasons that Silent Hill was so scary and great was the fact that the protagonists were regular people. They didnt know how to use the weapons they had, they didnt know how to use a gun, and that added to the fear you gained from the games. But on the other hand, they had already lost the psychological aspect of the game with Silent Hill 4, I didnt really feel that Henry had the connection with the town that the others did and I couldnt really connect with him like I could the others. As long as we are able to connect with the character there shouldnt be any problems on my part personally.

applesause24
applesause24

Silent Hill 3 by far is the best one. The graphics were amazing and the story was unique and scary as hell.

Danial_Zahin
Danial_Zahin

can't wait for this game. Need the spooks and goosebumps at night.

ichtus
ichtus

Right now I'm on my way to complete Silent Hill 1 6th time - this time to show it to my girlfriend. I try to get her addicted :D I completed Silent Hill 2 three times, SH3 - 3 times, SH4 - 2 times, SH:O - one time. So, it is obvious, that Silent Hill 1 is my favourite. There is something, that completely fortify the following statement: "Once you get into The Silent Hill, there will be no way out". I thinh, that this is the combination of story, weirdness, emotions, atmosphere, puzzles (including the mega-puzzle - story itself) and weirdness again. I think, that the first part is the benchmark for what Silent Hill game should be like - as a scary, dark, bloodstained and weird travel into someones hellishly dark psyche.

Joman1000
Joman1000

You know, all these insiders that keep managing to get their hands on Silent Hill homecoming try to assure us that the atmosphere and the aesthetic value of the series is intact, but then all they can find to talk about is the refined combat system and improved graphics. Are these really the only things that matter to people in this country (America)? Seriously, there shouldn't be a single person commenting in this thread that hasn't spent multiple nights in a row, sitting in the dark by themselves, playing all the way through a Silent Hill game (particularly one or two). You WILL feel unsettled, and you'll understand why people like me watch these videos and immediately ream on the new game and the developers. The previous Silent Hill games, regardless of what anyone says, stood on their own because each one of them was a sort of a representation of a nightmare or all of our paranoid delusions/religious and spiritual fears. This game, however, appears to be nothing more than a shallow interpretation of the previous games, therefore, as far as I can tell, it has a fraction of the atmosphere and emotive nature of the previous games. It's more high budget American nonsense. Yes, even Silent Hill Origins got it right. Anyone who wasn't just casually playing it on a bus ride or something, and actually went out of their way to turn off the lights and just play the game by themselves, knows that Climax gets it. The drawn-out hallways, the muddied visuals, the obscurity is all intact. It doesn't matter if the combat was generic or whatever. Those are all complaints based on your comfort level. Well, here's a news flash; you're not supposed to be comfortable when you play a survival horror game. Maybe I'm too preachy. Tear my head off. But I think if you care about this series as much as I do, you'll understand where I'm coming from. God, what I would do to be proven wrong when this game comes out.

Amir29
Amir29

It seems many of us agree that SH2 was the best in the series. Considering we're coming onto the 5th installment, I'm saddened to say I'll have to rent first and see if the hype is really worth responding to.

gangsterjc
gangsterjc

God i hope its lives up to num 2 that one was best in the series! also i saw pyramid head is back! that guy rules best boss EVER!creepiest and scariest!

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

My sister loves the SH franchise. Hopefully she'll get this game when it comes out, so I don't have to.

businessfox
businessfox

I have plans on playing this game at night times lol.

Bloodflowers
Bloodflowers

Ichtus: absolutely spot on! noone here seems to understand why we are 'cautiously optimistic'. I know it will have nothing on SH2, but will it be a good game? probably. Western developers think that the only difference between survival horror and action is having to conserve ammo! :)

dark_being
dark_being

I glad that the combat is more frantic now, but I just hope they wont put to much action into the game, and neglect all the other elements that made Silent Hill such a great series.

ichtus
ichtus

JimmyRedd, yes, I am aware of the Silent Hill influences and setting and Jacob's Ladder is my favourite piece of Psychological Horror movie, right next to Silent Hill itself, which I watched for about 10 or more times. But that is just a setting. In depth there was true J-Horror with eye on atmosphere and symbolism, not the western horror with eye on action and dismemberment. So, in SH:O we got more orientation on action and SH5 looks like will be a lot more action-oriented, which means - western way of horror. That's, what Im worried about, not the visuals :)

JimmyRedd
JimmyRedd

@ichtus Sorry if a game set in the USA, with an American protagonist, in a series of games heavily inspired by 'Jacob's Ladder', an American movie, "looks American". This is clearly a serious design flaw

lathan94
lathan94

The game looks creepy with the nurses coming out of the dark with knives.

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

tnargus... I just have to say your wife is awesome!

tnargus
tnargus

Looking forward to this title. Gonna snap it up for my wife actually, as she's a fan :)

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

To this day i still consider Silent hill 2 to be the best. hopefully silent hill 5 lives up to all the hype it's getting cause this along with left 4 dead,resident evil 5 and alan wake are amoung the few survior horror games i'm looking forward to.

j03yAsunder
j03yAsunder

This game and RE5 were the main reason I bought a 360... Can't wait!

Miteme
Miteme

Sounds like this could revive the series. Can't wait

DarkSnack
DarkSnack

I love this game more than my girl friend I really want to play this game I am still waiting

shaun_mcwayne
shaun_mcwayne

im so excited about RE 5 that SH might not get the attention it deserves, sorry SH fans im just daft on rez evil.

Sam_Redfield
Sam_Redfield

I THINK IT WILL BE GOOD THOUGH IT IS SOOOOOOOOOOO CREEPY AND I CANT FIND ANY WEAPONS AT ALL :s:s:s:s BUT I MAY TRY IT FOR SURE AND I HOPE THEY FINISH IT FAST AND CONTINUE HARKER GAME i really wait it

rammsteingamer
rammsteingamer

wow... great, just hope it comes later for the pc too.... looks good... head´s up !

charliemac7474
charliemac7474

can't wait for this to drop, know it's controvertual to say but got bored with resident evil 4 on PS2 about 3/4 way through just not very scary too much of combat focus and not enough of the way of scares or exporation. I love silent hill concept, even the really weird movie, alturnative universe mechanic is hell ha, ha, scary, think i'll buy over re5 which is strange cause that game was one of the reasons i got 360.

charliemac7474
charliemac7474

can't wait for this to drop, know it's controvertual to say but got bored with resident evil 4 on PS2 about 3/4 way through just not very scary too much of combat focus and not enough of the way of scares or exporation. I love silent hill concept, even the really weird movie, alturnative universe mechanic is hell ha, ha, scary, think i'll buy over re5 which is strange cause that game was one of the reasons i got 360.

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

I've never played Silent Hill before, but recently I've become a sucker for a good horror game, so I'll see how it looks closer to release date, but I'm definately keeping my eyes on this game.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

I love Silent Hill, but the last one for the PSP/PS2 was just more of the same junk........I hope this game is MORE than the same game with a cosmetic make over. . . The previews have been nice, a little too nice. They neither gush or complain about it, which leads me to believe it will be more of the same junk, only cleaner to look at.

lctpp2
lctpp2

So far Silent Hill is going up against dead space but in terms of the level of horror i think silent hill will actually be a lot scarier compared to dead space.

jay112k3
jay112k3

i can't wait for resident evil 5 and i will most likely get this game too.

SlaveMitrov
SlaveMitrov

Silent Hill and Resident Evil are the best games in the world!!! :

bruno_ps2
bruno_ps2

update the preview already. the game was pushed back to november, and it will also be launched on pc.

dnathug
dnathug

can't wait for this game, graphics are gonna be sick, can't wait to hear more.