jekyll / Member

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Silent Hill: Downpour first impressions

After a lengthy console break, I'm back into the swing of things. With a fall packed full of games I want (Resident Evil 6, Halo 4, Hitman: Absolution, and Far Cry 3 to name a few), I knew I had a tiny window to fit in a title or two of backlog. I wouled like to have waited until after Daylight Saving Time ended to start the spooky Silent Hill: Downpour, but there won't be any time then.

I'm still in the early stages and haven't even reached the titular town yet. I've done the first major chunk, consisting of getting a tram car to take me closer to town. This involved my first few fights against fairly weak enemies, who seem to kill you quickly or slowly and you can't seem to tell how close to death you may be. Another agitation is the implementation of your characters's voice; it seems to come out the rear surround speakers, leading you to think someone else is talking from in the room.

Worst is the save system. There is none. It auto saves, but only some 'count' as far as if you quit the game, and you're not told which ones they are (other ones just seem to mark progress if you die). I'd just acquired a gun, saw the save icon, so felt safe quitting for the night. When I restarted, I was about an hour back progress-wise. And there's no option to just save when you want, which is inexcusable especially given this failing of the save system. Whoever thinks taking control of saving out of gamers' hands is doing us a favor is wrong.

Other things are done well, like the random clinks, clunks, rattles, and other noises in the background that make you think danger is imminent, even when it's not. And the facial expressions of the few other living people you meet are well done. Also, the combat tutorial is one of the most sadistic, yet imaginative and original, ones I've ever encountered.

Fog effects are also pretty good, to the point that it can be easy to miss big structures in the dank, dark, cloudiness. And there's less of that 'object pop-in' from earlier generation titles in the series.

All-in-all, so far it's a tiny letdown, and I expect more from Konami and the Silent Hill franchise. Maybe getting to town will change that.

That's all for today. Thanks for reading, everybody!