Konami showcased its next upcoming Silent Hill game, Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3, Xbox 360) at E3 2011. Silent Hill: Downpour presents an all-new storyline, which takes place in an unexplored region of the infamous Silent Hill. The version I had hands-on time was the PlayStation 3 3D enabled release.
I’ve been somewhat detached from the Silent Hill series since the early installments of the game. In this eighth part of the series, I felt my experience may keep me from appreciating or understanding Silent Hill: Downpour. Luckily I had the opportunity for some hands-on time and was taken away by what I experienced. If you’re looking to return to the Silent Hill series, Silent Hill: Downpour is it.
In Silent Hill: Downpour, players assume the role of Murphy Pendleton, a criminal on his way to a maximum security prison. Fortunately for Murphy, an accident on route to the prison allows him to make a break for it. Unfortunately for Murphy, he stumbles into the town of Silent Hill. The elemental theme of the game, as the title suggests, is water. In the PS3 3D version I played, the rainy outdoor environments were layered with depth. But besides the obvious rain element, at least one other instance of the water theme was present when trying to put out a fire. As a disjointed, unsettling fire alarm sound was going off, a sprinkler system I activated soon went out of control and became a flood. The transitions happen seamlessly and have a profound effect on what seems to be real or unreal. One scene had Murphy running up a staircase of one of these Otherworld environments, which seemed never-ending. Expect a lot of changes in the environments, between the “Normal” world and “Otherworld,” especially when it comes to Murphy’s interaction with water.
Silent Hill: Downpour felt somewhat akin to Alan Wake. Maybe it was the appearance of the lead character or the play of light and dark in the foggy forest setting. But Vatra Studios, the game developers, confirmed that Alan Wake did influence Silent Hill: Downpour, just as Silent Hill may have influenced Alan Wake. The pacing did feel eerily similar as well. But Silent Hill: Downpour’s protagonist is very different from the writer Alan Wake. Lead character Murphy is described as an evil criminal and as Silent Hill runs deep into his psyche, expect some disturbing manifestations. The developer hinted at the return of Pyramid Head, one of the signature characters in the Silent Hill series, as well.
Silent Hill: Downpour turned out to be a pleasant surprise and will definitely be taking me back to the series. Silent Hill: Downpour will be available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 from Konami in October 2011.