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Oh, that's right, I meant to make this blog a really, really long time ago. Well, anyway, a couple months ago, a complete stranger from the internet (oooooWEEEEooooooooo) bought and sent me a copy of Silent Hill: Homecoming! (Don't worry, I made him show a video of his face so I could recognize him if he ever tried to find my address) I've been playing it nonstop ever since I got it until I had just about everything completed.
Now, I guess this is kinda-sorta a review and kinda-sorta not; lemme just say, I've heard a LOT of people complain that Homecoming was a bad game, the worst of the main series even, and I completely disagree. Having played the game to the fullest extent, I completely disagree. I've heard comments that are somewhat accurate, but not a lot, nor have I ever heard a real reason to call it a bad game or a bad Silent Hill game--nor am I looking for any.
Gonna split this up so as to address each part individually. I apologize if it's too lengthy...? I've checked the blog policy, and I don't THINK I'm breaking any rules.
Silent Hill: Homecoming's story is compelling to me, although it's not one of those stories that really is woven like it could be or does a good job of piecing itself completely together at the end. You're supposed to figure more than one thing out yourself, at least until Margaret Holloway does the big reveal speech. I do like how you eventually figure out how each child is sacrificed, what you've been fighting, and how it's affected each parent. At the end of the day, you figure out what that you were the child intended for sacrifice, not Josh, and then it all comes crashing down. As for Elle and Wheeler...I had some good moments and bad ones.
Alex Shepherd is my baby. I will say that right now. This poor clueless goof. I like that even though he's the only protagonist in the series with real combat training, he's not invincible or super tough by a long shot, and he's got a lot of psychiatric trouble to deal with. Alex's parents seemed like absolute bitches to hit with the Failure Parents stick at first (and I still kind of would), and Josh is like Laura--he's pretty innocent but at the same time, a mysterious and very irritating little guy. On the other hand, I felt like Wheeler was really unneccesary and an injection to the story. He's a direct counter to the scare factor in that he's invincible and can take out any threat in his way. With Elle...I feel like people are too hard on Elle, as I once was. Sure, they could have pushed the romance aspect less, but at least she's not a Sheva or an Ashley (a power partner or a whiny annoying escort), and she does manage to help you.
When I hit Shepherd's Glen, I had to wonder if Akira pushed a little extra effort into this, seeing as it was one of his last SH games. Everything is foggy and dark, as it should be. The flavor text was interesting enough, and made up for the slightly buggy graphic thingamajiggies that happened sometimes. With Shepherd's Glen...I got lost so many times, even with a map. Same thing with Silent Hill. I got frustrated and confused and learned to expect monsters coming from out of nowhere sometimes and catch me off guard.
The Grand Hotel is a really mournful area, and it's my second favorite area. Despite the fetch questing I did, I felt like there was really a lot of subconcious meaning under--holy **** is that Pyramid Head? Anyway, the only disappointment I feel with the Grand Hotel is that I wish I had experienced more of its Otherworld.
Hell Descent...oh man. I love this level with a passion. I think if there's one thing these guys couldn't have done better, it was Hell Descent. I felt genuinely scared here. I knew it was a labyrinth before I even got there, but that didn't prepare me for half of the sh*t this place threw at me. The shadow on the bed, creepy, and the dolls and the Smogs freaked me out. I like how the place tries to trick you with all the different signs, and some of them are even a little bit sarcastic. I swear this place switched paths on me at least twice, and I did not expect to backtrack and find a locked door in my path--I freaked the absolute frick out. This maze was trapping me. At the very end is where I just about pissed my pants. After the lights shut down over the hallway, the sound keeps going, and it makes it sound like something is stomping towards you, and your only choice to get away or progress is to go into the darkness.
The prison...was a little irritating. Easy to die or get lost in and the puzzles were so confusing. The Order Soldiers and Wheeler made it a lot less scary, but I can safely say that I freaked out for a little bit when I got near the end and everything turned to bloody metal and things got much darker.
Enemies and Bosses
This game just about gave me a fear of :animals, hospitals, surgery, and every other thing. The enemies are very disturbing mostly in how they move around, how many can come from nowhere at once, how easily they can kill you, and worst of all, how they all seem to have some sort of metal grafted onto them. Oww. I have a little bit of a crack headcanon that Alex not only has gynephobia, but hates boobs, and that's because of his finishing moves on the nurses with the knife and saw. Just a little detail.
The bosses were my favorite part of the game. Sepulcher was incredibly disturbing and was able to be threatening without hardly ever moving, and something about it being upside down added to that factor. It really drove home the idea of being buried alive. Asphyxia was just freaking obscene and jarring. Amnion is a favorite of mine, because not only has it got the spider and metal grafts thing going, it's scream makes it sound like Josh, and not to mention, this %^&%^ is tough as #$%^. He completely kicked my ass.
Scarlet gets her own section here, because man, SCARLET. This boss made me cry, okay? The way she rises out of the blood and kills Fitch, the way she just creepily follows you, stalks you around the room, her intimidating height...the way she screams is especially jarring. She's easy once you know how, but damn is she scary. On top of that, the music makes me want to drop my controller along with the rest of the fight.
I really really loved this game. Probably the best game out of the ones I have in my Xbox stack right now. I wish people would go easy on it. It's a fantastic game, despite whatever faults it has, and it made me scared, and at the same time had a level of psychological depth to it. The combat was never easy, despite the finishing moves that of course made some people scream "generic!", and I loved playing it.
Favorite weapon: Circular Saw
Favorite character: Alex
Favorite level: ^Hell Descent
Favorite boss: Amnion
Favorite tracks: Snow Flower and Cold Blood
Favorite costume: ER Alex and Young Alex
Anyone have anything to add?