"Silent Hill" E3 Demo Drizzles More Than Downpours
Silent Hill has brought in many frights and chills since the first game debuted back in 1999, and while the following games had their ups and downs its core purpose continued eerily down its dark path. At E3 this year I had the opportunity to give the latest title in the series, Silent Hill: Downpour. Unfortunately the results I've seen so far have left me yawning more than shivering.
Downpour follows Murphy, a prisoner whose bus crashes in the southeastern region of Silent Hill. When he awakens he finds that both sides of the road have been completely destroyed, and that he is stranded at an abandoned truck stop. From there I had to escape via climbing on top of the gas station. (It took me ten minutes to figure out how to get up there, as the game's camera system managed to keep the station's ladder frustratingly hidden.) After exiting the area I found myself in front of a diner, where I was stopped by a Morgan Freeman-ish mail carrier. He had warned me that strange things have been going on around the town, and that I should be careful in regards to disturbing certain areas. Once inside the diner I searched through the vicinity, looking for my next clue in the kitchen in the form of a gas leak. By turning the gas off I somehow set the kitchen a-blaze.
Quickly I turned on the emergency sprinkler system, and the world around Murphy drastically changed into a industrial hellhole as the room begin to flood. That's when Murphy realized that he will die if the water reaches the electrical equipment, so I had to find the water valve in order to shut it off. (After dying three times I finally managed to find its location: right behind me to the left.) After running into a room, I found a secret doorway by repositioning a crooked picture. The room glowed in a creepy red light, which followed me down a pathway that never seemed to end. I knocked down objects to obstruct the glow, and even ran around in circles to confuse it. Finally after being almost trapped in one of the rooms I found an opening at seemed to lead to safety, only to fall down a watery path that slid me downwards to another opening. It was right after that where I fought my only battle with one of the crazed, zombified townsfolk, giving an abrupt ending to the demo.
Though the game was still in its alpha stage there was a lot that left me worried. While there is still time to tinker with the graphics the overall look of Silent Hill: Downpour doesn't look all too appetizing. I couldn't help but think of the Wii title Calling, a horror game that showed a lot of potential had it not been for the fact that the graphics were bad, even for that console's standards. The fact that the game is due to be out in October also has me worried that there won't be enough time to fix up the graphics as best as Vatra Games can. Most important is the scare factor in the game, and if the demo is any indication of what I can expect from the full experience I will be finding myself bored out of my mind instead of frightened at the edge of my seat. The only good thing I could say about this demo was its control scheme, as it was fairly easy to figure out how to do just about everything in the game.
However I could be very-well surprised by Silent Hill: Downpour in the long-run. Perhaps what I played was merely just a bad demo of a good game in the making. I won't know until Halloween season, though, so until I see some big progress with its development I will be keeping a skeptical distance away from this title.