Under the save freezes and tearing lies a game one must experience.
Yes,the games saves in what seems like every few seconds to every few minutes,causing 1-2 second freezes in some areas.Other areas it is not even noticeable for me.But this does cause some irritation when it does happen.
This constant saving is never needed as if you die,or reload game you will start off at whatever checkpoint the game decided to actually save at,which can start you quite a ways before you actually saw it last saving.
(Maybe it saves so often for things you've collected?I cannot say for certain.)Not a huge issue for me but as I said,it can be irritating in some areas.Enough to grind your teeth at some points.
You also will notice some tearing and minor graphical glitches here and there.The glitches do not happen very often but the tearing can also be an irritation.Big deal to some,not so big a deal to others.
Now on to the debatable....
The combat system.You have a basic swing and block as well as a harder swing holding down your attack button.Sounds fair enough right?
This can turn into a hot mess rather quickly for a few different reasons.When you get hit the screens turns red,not being able to see if your weapon has been broken (yes weapons do break),much less really see where you are or your enemy for that matter.The redness doesn't last long at all but if your into combat,it can be a nuisance.
Also,if you are like me and want to finish the game without actually killing an enemy,(you can knock them out or kill them).You go for just knocking them out.All well and good until the enemy you just knocked out magically appears back on their feet.Then your only option is to run or kill them.
The controls are clunky like SH 1,2,and 3,which I don't mind at all,but some won't like it.
The Health system......
This one gets an ummm okay reaction from me.You never really know just how hurt you are.You limp and hold your side but it never gets worse the more you take damage.And do kits even work while your fighting?Seems touch and go.I did figure out later on that when i see red in the light of my flashlight,it's time for a first aid kit.
As someone who absolutely loved the camera system of the older Silent Hill games.I felt right at home and happy with Downpours camera system.This is debatable on my review because not everyone feels the way I do.If you have not played the older SH' then be prepared for a camera that can make you feel very uncomfortable and a feeling of danger.This is a good thing in my opinion.
Now lets us get on to what makes this game so good...
Your playing as Murphy Pendleton,an inmate in prison.The beginning scene will fill you with questions.As you progress with a slow beginning,working your way up to some very intense game play.The story will start to unfold in clever and mysterious ways.
You will feel lost and you will find yourself guessing at what is what,and who is who.Confusion abound and feelings of dread will have you on the edge of your seat at random moments.
The way the story is told in this game is brilliant.I won't spoil anything story wise so I will just say the story alone is worth it.
A welcome addition are the side missions.The way they are implemented is flawless in my opinion.You can walk into a house and randomly start a side mission without even realizing it.Then when you find something that has to do with that side mission,it will click it your head what needs to be done.
This adds much more to the game play and it is very much worth finding and doing all that you can.
The atmosphere in this game is hands down one of the best.Especially when it comes to feeling lost,dread,clueless,and a sense of urgency.I cannot give enough kudos for the way everything feels.I would touch upon "the other world" but let me say this.....
It is something you don't want spoiled.You want to experience it for yourself.I know I did and loved it! :)
The music in this game is actually very good.I went into it expecting the music to be total garbage but was surprisingly impressed.Not as good as Akira Yamaokas but very good indeed.Korn doing the theme song of course did not fit in with SH.But I never heard it again after it was initially heard at start.
The puzzles!!!!!This game has puzzles nailed down tightly.You will either spend the time and figure it out,or hit one of the faq boards for a lot of these.The puzzles in this game are EXCELLENT!None of these do any "hand-holding" which is something I really love.As a matter of fact.Nothing in this game does any "hand-holding",and that to me is a very very great thing!
The final subject I will touch upon here is exploration.Love to explore?You will be happy to know there is tons to explore in this game.The map in this SH is by far the biggest map in any SH game.You will think "oh I have just about covered the map",then you will see there is more.
So to sum it all up.Yes there are some issues with this game.It is by no means perfect.But jeez if this the first sign of what Vitra can do with Silent hill as a young not very known company.I await to see what they can do in the future with this.
Great story,great atmosphere,great puzzles,a decent enough combat system,a huge map and mysteries to explore
some screen tearing,some minor freezes/odd saving system,a camera/combat system you may or may not not like.
It is those bad reasons I did not give it a higher score.But by no means is this a horrible game.It is quite the contrary.If you love Silent hill or even remotely like it,you will be happy with this installment.
I'm sure there are a few minor things I didn't mention here,like the voice acting (which is top notch by the way),but you get the gist of it :) I think Murphy may be the most interesting main character of the SH series yet.