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I've heard a lot of people bitch, whine, and moan about Silent Hill: Downpour and its graphical issues. I've learned to work with the game instead of against it, and found that I had little to no issues while playing. I thought this could be helpful information for any players who had issues, or new players who are thinking of buying it and maybe have concerns after hearing all the complaints. Keep in mind: I played Downpour on the PS3, but I hope these methods will help 360 players as well.
"But Jo, we shouldn't NEED a player's guide! The game shouldn't have any issues to begin with!" That's true, but every game that is developed is bound to have bugs. Hell, have you ever tried pouring Aglaophotis on a Larval Stalker in Lakeside Amusement Park? The game has already been out a year, a lot of the bugs have been fixed. We deal with what we have. Besides, it's either that, or just don't play the game. But Downpour is a really good game, and you should play it.
So what are the issues I've encountered? Well aside from extreme graphical errors which were caused by my crappy old fat PS3 that couldn't actually run PS3 games anymore, and not actually a fault of the game itself; not too many, but I have found some.
- Occasionally sections of the map wouldn't load. It seemed habitual in St. Maria's Otherworld. Anne would run through a door, and the wall and floor wouldn't load, so if Murphy went through the door, he'd fall into the void. (the development void, not the other Void) This would also happen occasionally wandering around the streets of Silent Hill, especially in the underground tunnels as it has to load large sections of the map just past a cloud of smoke/steam. I've fallen into the void a number of times. I've even had monsters spawn in the void, or just below the map. Murphy would act like a monster was near, and the music would change, but there'd be no one around. There's also less harmful occurrences. Travis's truck for example takes its time loading on occasion, and I've had Murphy walk through a wall that hadn't spawned yet (but it didn't cause him to get stuck or anything.)
- Lag. Anyone who plays this game will tell you about the lag. What causes the lag? The saving/checkpoints the game creates. When does it do this? I'll get into that in a bit. I've figured out a way to tone down the lag, but I don't think you can get rid of it entirely. This is something a lot of players will try to fight, and that only makes things worse.
"I like to imagine that Murphy stood in one place for so long that they just built a whole street around him. He realized this, and he was like, “Fate accepted…”"
(Image courtesy of thecitygrit @ Tumblr)
Okay, so that sounds kind of bad, and it can be if you try to fight with it. I've seen lag crash the game, or take as long as 2 minutes to bring the game back in LPs of the game.
What are my tips to help the game run more smoothly?
Stop. Literally, just stop and wait for 2, maybe 3 seconds. It won't take very long. Usually on the streets, the saving isn't too much of a problem. It happens a lot if you notice the "Now saving" icon, but in terms of lag, I didn't have too much trouble on the streets.
When does it save?
The game is programmed to save any time you enter a new "section" of the map. That doesn't necessarily mean district. It's more like every other block. It also saves whenever you enter a building. Now, there are two areas I particularly want to mention: The Hillside Apartments, and Logan's Park. These two areas are very likely to cause a whole lot of confusion for newer players, and I'm going to try to explain why to the best of my abilities.
Both areas are sort of treated as "gateways" into new districts. The gate in Logan's Park leading into Chastain Heights will be closed until after you go through the Centennial Building. The Hillside Apartments connect Hillside to Pearl Creek. As such, both areas are major spots in open Silent Hill where a real loading screen will show up. From what I can tell, the game splits Silent Hill into thirds. Hillside being one third, Pearl Creek being another, then Chastain Heights, Pleasant River, and the Port District making up the last portion. The game will only have two thirds loaded at a time. So for example, if you have Chastain Heights, and Pearl Creek loaded, going into Logan's Park won't cause a loading screen to show up, but it will make the apartments load. That's what I've come to understand. It might not be 100% accurate, so don't take my word as law. That's just how it usually happens. But again, when you hit the loading screen, don't fret, you're not entering a cut scene or anything. It might lag a bit, but just don't try to fight with it cause you won't win.
Going through doors is another common time to save. Usually it'll start saving as soon as Murphy's hand grabs the doorknob. You'll know cause Murphy's model will go completely static. Again, just wait for his idle animation to start up again before going through the door. I've never had it take longer than 3 or 4 seconds, as opposed to trying to force your way through the door and have the game jut and stutter.
Be wary in St. Maria's because the whole place is just scripted event after scripted event, so just be patient with your game.
When using the underground tunnels, don't run through the fog connecting each district. I found it to be safer to walk through it, or stop for 1 to 2 seconds, then continue.
That's all I can really think of in terms of troublesome bugs. I've heard that if you get the Fishing Rod before Homer asks for it, he won't be there. I've found this to be partially true. I got the rod before talking to Homer during two playthroughs, and one of them his model hadn't spawned, and the second it had. However, both instances I was still able to speak to him, and he still unlocked the other tunnels. If he's not there, just walk over where he should be and act as if he is there. If that doesn't work...then I'm not sure. It worked for me.
If anyone has any other bug/glitch stories they want to share, feel free. I might have experienced some of them and just forgot. Feel free to ask questions if you're still hesitant on buying Downpour.