Is this as good as Team Silent's games?
The storyline involves Murphy Pendleton, a prisoner that escapes thanks to a transfer bus that runs off the road to a tumbly twisty adventure. Murphy survives, and for awhile thinks he is the only one. Though as you go through you realize a female officer is after you. You meet her many times in the game and you sometimes wonder if this is just your SH trip or if she is having her own, (The answer isn'y as clear as you think though..) As you go through the game you learn more about the female officer and Murphy, and trust me, if you think you know where the game is going like I did, you will probably be surprised. You get little pieces of information through the game like newspaper clippings that tell you the REAL ending to the game even if you get the bad one, you should be able to understand which one is real, the good or bad.
Sadly the game suffers from the same thing Double Helix's Homecoming did. A vague character set up. At one point you meet a character and then he gets taken away along with another. You meet Character B again but you never see Character A at all, even though you believe he is important. The game makes you feel like he will help you in your journey only to be left in the rain, (haha pun....sorry.) Is this a fault? I'd say in any other type of game it would be very dis-jointing. For Silent Hill though it is passable, but still annoying.
Music takes an interesting change in direction for the better. Instead of having a lot of random sounds and clanking of metal, it replaces it with a very mellow dramatic tune which works great. It adds a sense of terror but also innocence to the entire game. That's what I felt from Murphy, he is innocent inside but also full of terror. He is capable of doing things...murdering..surviving. This entire time you question your self if he is honest as he pleads he is not guilty, or just a very good liar. One part in the game is also very nice and chilling, which involvesa play in an orphanage. Sent chills down my bones with the mixture of child opera music and rusty rooms.
Graphics and art direction are fantastic though not with out their problems. Murphy's clothing bends and molds to the movement of his body quite nicely and the rain or wetness absorbs into the fabric to give that balance sense of a true downpour. You actually believe you are in a situation of extreme water which is very important for what this game is trying to make you feel, (The sensation of drowning under all of your guilt or confusion.) Like I did mention before though, the graphics make the game chug at times. For the PS3 version, the one I played, it fully installs to the HDD (I know this because as I play the Blu-ray stops spinning in the drive and is replaced with the low hum of the hard drive ticking.) Though even with this, it still needs time to load rooms, with out the help of a loading screen. This seems like a smooth idea but this game is much more pleasing to the eye than Homecoming, and with that brings a lot of moments of extreme chugging. It's important to know though that this never ruins the game and combat never suffers.
Speaking about the combat, it is typical Silent Hill. If you are expecting some great shooting mechanics or hand to hand, please look elsewhere. This is not Resident Evil and it is not trying to be an action game. The combat in this game serves it good enough and I found the entire play through to be easy enough. The combat never once hindered me at all.
Vatra games has done a better job of catching the Silent Hill feeling with out completely ripping off any other Silent Hill formula. I'm talking about Nurses, Pyramid Head, and the other things Homecoming (From Double Helix) ripped off from the movie. Though can you really blame them for looking to other sources to make a Silent Hill game? I would imagine a lot of R & D would have to be done to be able to craft something convincing enough. Another nice to know fact would be that Downpour does not suffer from any major game breaking glitches (That I ran into at least) unlike Homecoming from which I ran into two game breaking glitches in total.
I'm not trying to destroy Homecoming, I'm honestly not. I actually enjoy it quite a lot. I'm just saying if you had any major grips with Homecoming, they were properly handled in Downpour. Any Silent Hill fan that has been waiting for the next journey to their favorite little town will be happy to know that this game offers more Silent Hill exploring than possibly any of the older games did. Now if it does it as well is up to you.
For my final say, from one Silent Hill fan who has played them all many times over, well down Vatra. You are not Team Silent but you are pretty darn close! My hat's off to you!
8/10 Final Say