Review: Silent Hill - Homecoming

Saturday, 20 August 2011


MjolnirX - Silent Hill: Homecoming is the story of Alex Shepard, a veteran who has been discharged, returning to his hometown only to find it in ruins. The townsfolk are rash and mostly incomprehensible. Some are catatonic at best. Upon your arrival, you come to realize that your little brother has gone missing and no one seems to be doing anything to find him. It is up to you to find out what happened to your town, and to find your brother.

The game's box art immediately sets the tone for the game. An uneasy, awkward portrait of your father and your little brother, whose stare is almost paralyzing. The character art is definitely in-sync with the rest of the series, improved in its high definition.


The graphics, like all Silent Hill games, are not its strongest point. There are times where models seem jaggy or without texture. As well, the facial features have the same lack of emotion some of the voice actors do (picture Rocky Balboa). Aside from that, the gritty, dark, mysterious, hellish settings are improved this time around. There's a lot more variation in environments, from something that closely resembles Hell, to catacombs to the town of Shepard Glen itself. Each environment is carefully crafted to make you as uncomfortable as possible, including being in your own home. There's a lot of fine environmental details, like awkward portraits on walls and deteriorating furniture and walls that can really set the tone for what will happen. The enemies are as detailed as ever, especially the bosses; the amazing amount of detail in the bosses goes to show the effort that was put into the game.


Silent Hill's music has always been kind of an awkward spot for me. The game wouldn't be the same without it, yet I find there are moments when I actually notice the music isn't really the most appropriate for the area or situation I'm in. Specifically, the moments I dislike the most are the conversations. The music seems like something you'd hear in a PS1 Fantasy game (ex. Legend Of Legaia). Don't let that fool you for a minute about the power of the music elsewhere though. The quiet, almost non-existent ambient music in many of the game's areas creates an atmosphere that always leaves you wondering if it's the quiet before the storm.


It wasn't overly difficult to play through the game, though as expected there are frustrating-as-hell moments that make you want to quit. When you beat the game on the hardest difficulty, you unlock the Alien Gun, which makes going back for all the other achievements a breeze. Beating the game on the hardest difficulty definitely still has its work cut out for you. There's almost no ammo or health packs and the enemies are way stronger and do more damage. The controls are also Survival Horror-awkward, but that is more of a benefit than a hindrance to the genre. More often than not, you can avoid enemy encounters and run past the them to continue on your morbidly-merry way, but if you're trying to clear achievements on your way like I did, well, things get a little tricky. I ended up dying more times than I care to admit while trying to collect certain things. The hardest part is the lack of ammunition on the first playthrough; keeping enemies at a distance always has its advantages. Overall, I'd say the game was a 6/10 for difficulty.

Everything Else

At its worst, Silent Hill: Homecoming is replayable, if only for its alternative endings; the game has 5 endings. Though there is a so-called "good ending", they are all right in their own way. I won't spoil the endings here (that's not what this site is about). However, they consist of the obligatory "UFO Ending" where you will get your alien gun for your next playthrough, the "Bogeyman Ending", the "Downing Ending", the "Good Ending" and the "Hospital Ending". I recommend playing through to see them all. I say that on the basis that a few key decisions you make in the game will trigger these specific endings, and it's worth going back to make those decisions to see the consequences of them. After all, isn't that what Silent Hill is about?

Silent Hill: Homecoming didn't leave me wanting. It was overall a very decently put-together game. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes Survival Horror games. They don't get much better than this.

My Rating - 82 (Buy)

Achievements - 1000/1000
Hours Played - Over 30
Game Completed - Yes


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