Sunday, April 1, 2012

Silent Hill: Downpour – review

Escaped-convict-Murphy-Pe-008 Having traded on its authentically unsettling early efforts for too long, survival horror series Silent Hill is hungry for a Resident Evil 4-style reinvention. With Downpour what it gets instead is a snackish retread of the series' emblematic touches – slick fetish monsters, blood-red corridors and ghostly puzzles – presented without any of the old menace.

At its best, Silent Hill works through psychology rather than blunt force, with nightmare geography and traumatised narrators creating a Lynchian atmosphere of meaningful incoherence. Downpour aims for the same, with escaped convict Murphy Pendleton battling repressed guilt as much as the town's fog-shrouded creatures, but the gaps in logic come off as clumsy rather than compelling, a problem amplified by some serious technical shortcomings (leaden combat, an occasionally disastrous frame rate).

In the end, Downpour is like one of Silent Hill's own wretched heroes – trapped by the past and doomed to repeat it.

The Guardian

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