Last June Konami announced the next installment of the Silent Hill series, which once again isn’t being handled by Konami Japan but instead the Czech based Vatra games. The new entry, Silent Hill: Reborn, didn’t have much of a presence at E3, besides one of the developers looking creepy during the infamous Konami press conference, but at least we got a pretty sizeable trailer. Since then Silent Hill: Reborn essentially fell off the face of the Earth, but just like Silent Hill itself the game has returned and even has a brand new name.
Titled Silent Hill: Downpour the game hasn’t been completely reinvented since we last saw it in June. Players still assume the role of Murphy, a prisoner with a mysterious past who finds himself in Silent Hill after an incident occurred while he was being transported to a facility. Besides that Silent Hill: Downpour still has the same things that were shown in the premier trailer, but thanks to some new info from Game Informer we now know the scope of the game and what developer Vatra Games is trying to aim for with their vision of Silent Hill.
The E3 2010 trailer for Silent Hill: Downpour
Past installments of Silent Hill have usually had the player in confined spaces like abandoned buildings, shopping malls or amusements parks while other entries in the series had players walking cautiously on a fog lined street. Silent Hill: Downpour will still offer creepy scenarios such as those, but on a much wider scope due to the sheer size of Silent Hill. It seems that the town of Silent Hill is so big now that players can use a subway system to traverse between different sections of the town. Now it wasn’t stated just how big the levels in Silent Hill will be or if things will be presented as a sandbox instead of a linear game, but Vatra Games seemingly is adding a scope to the series that hasn’t been seen before.
Silent Hill: Downpour may be the eighth installment of the franchise, but Vatra is adding some much needed freshness in the form of a new location. For the first time in the series players will be able to visit the South-Eastern part of Silent Hill, which previously was inaccessible in other entries. The only downside is that areas that were present in the other SH games such as the creepy hospital will not be in the game. I guess not treading upon familiar territory is a good thing since it’ll give Vatra a chance to give us a purely originally Silent Hill game that isn’t using established areas to evoke some nostalgia or fear from gamers.
The reason for the sudden name change for the latest Silent Hill game is because water plays a key factor in the game. Not a whole lot of examples were given in Game Informer, but the game will be very heavy on the water effects and putting players in unique scenarios featuring water, one of which involves a river flowing on the ceiling of a room.
Gameplay wise Vatra is keeping things somewhat simple as Murphy isn’t necessarily an adept fighter, despite his mysterious past and being a prisoner. Apparently the key to surviving in SH: Downpour is knowing when to pick your fights as players will be able to run away from enemies or give them a few hits to stun them and then make their getaway. Murphy will be rather vulnerable in the game as the weapons he use will weaken and break over time and once a weapon breaks you may be screwed since the game doesn’t have an inventory system for the weapons. One thing that may disappoint the hardcore Silent Hill fans is how some of the boss battles in Downpour will involve Quick Time Events. Example of boss battles weren’t given in Game Informer, but I hope that Silent Hill suddenly doesn’t become the God of War equivalent in the horror game genre.
With adjustable setting for the puzzles, one of which involves Murphy playing an arcade game, the option to go on sidequests and character interactions being a huge component on the outcome of the story, it seems like Silent Hill: Downpour is on the right track. It may seem like Vatra is perhaps doing too much with the game even if they have the best intentions, like what happened with Silent Hill: Homecoming, but in the wake of how good Castlevania: Lords of Shadow turned out, maybe Konami is keeping a tight leash on Silent Hill: Downpour to ensure we get the quality Silent Hill experience we’ve been wanting for the past four years.
Silent Hill: Downpour will be available on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 with an unspecified release sometime in 2011.