Heavy Rain Video Game Review PS3

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WARNING: Spoilers that spoil things….you know

This game follows the story of multiple people who are involved with a serial killer, known as the Origami Killer. The killer seeks out fathers whom he feels are unfit parents and then and kidnaps the son. He puts the father through a series of severely difficult tests to in order to gain his son back. If the man fails for whatever reason, the boy dies. As the story slowly develops it shows how it slowly breaks people down emotionally and tests even the strongest relationships. The drastically depressing part is that you can absolutely control if they succeed or fail.

This is one hell of a experience in story telling. There has only been two other game that came out recently, Beyond: Two Souls and Telltale’s The Walking Dead, that has hit me this hard and has encouraged me to say this once again:

This is one of my favorite games of all time.

With that being said there’s very very little wrong with this game besides the occasional visual glitch or small cliche. Every piece of the story telling is intricate and well laid out. Every character, even side characters, have enough space to develop fully. It took time to explain nearly every bump and bruise in their life and why whatever character had whatever idiosyncrasy they were struggling with. By the end it’ll make you feel like you almost know each character personally.

The beauty behind the games story is that it has so many endings. It will keep you guessing the whole time, because every piece of detail determines the outcomes of various people in the game. It can get frustrating due to the amount of things that need attention, but it makes the immersive feeling that much more present. It’s like you’re some kind of demented puppet master and you’re pulling all their strings. Also it’s shocking how this one guy can con so many people into helping him do terrible things. I don’t think the killer is a psychopath, but he’s some kind of evil. He’s just a supped up douche who exacts revenge on something no one could have possibly been able to control. You also have the option of beating the shit out of him later in the game which is really satisfying.

The graphics are top notch and damn stunning. You can see individual droplets of water run down peoples face. You can see someone get gradually wet in the rain and then dry and still look damp. The lighting is always beautiful and sets the mood perfectly. There is the occasional motion glitchs, but they’re too hilarious to ignore. I don’t mind them since it brings some light to a really depressing videogame. Also this is a game that runs near perfect on the PS3, which made me wonder what the guys who made Fallout New Vegas was thinking.

The gameplay is pretty much hated by a good half of the people who play this game. I don’t mind it. It’s mostly quick-time events that are meshed with either quick problems solving or a kind of pick and choose motion. One notable event like this was where the main detective, named Norman Jayden, almost has his ass handed to him while looking into a murder cover up. A guy who’s trying to cover up the murder instigates a fight and the real time puzzles follow suit. There are puzzles that require some problem solving, but usually require things within grasp and basic logic.

If you fail you can either continue or start over anywhere in the story. Its kinda fun to start over after seeing how much detail they put into each scene, even the UGLY death scenes. I love this forgiving nature, but at the same time it proves NO challenge half the time. In most adventure game you carry a dozen items. Unfortunately you can either lose a item or never pick it up in the previous scene, thus screwing up future events. However it has a impact on the story so you can often continue without them, but you might not get the results you wan in turn. This is one of the things I was thankful for since you virtually can’t screw it up like that. Sure you can kill main characters but it still influences the outcome rather just giving you a “game over” screen. Then the game usually gives you a achievement for whatever. I honestly don’t understand the system. It seems if you can do anything and you can get a achievement.

On top of that it’s a lot of talking with multiple choices. Each character has a different reaction and give the characters their interacting with a real-ish feel when dealing with them. Sam Douglas did a great voice over for the main antagonist. His sleepy performance pretty much vocalized how that character really just wasn’t there. Pascal Langdale gave a really good performance as a Dad who would probably be clinically depressed after all this drama. He only had two lines that I thought sounded strange. Yes, one was where he was yelling for his son Jason. Judi Beecher was really really good. She’s probably one of the best female voice actors I’ve heard so far. It sounded genuine and I don’t remember listening to any of it and thinking how it sounded horrible or nothing like the character. This usually happens when a voice artist is stuck in a booth for 10 hours a day and yelling, screaming, crying, or whatever and then their voice doesn’t have time to recover. This happens a lot in the industry, unfortunately due to time constraints or untrained people decided to be voice actors. Leon Ockenden and Aurélie Bancilhon are the only two I had a real problem with. Ockenden sounded like he had trouble pulling off a American accent sometimes. It showed in some of the police department scenes. Bancilhon seemed a little canned or inexperienced. It wasn’t too noticeable until it came to the really dramatic scenes, like when her character was crying at someones tombstone. The emotion felt hampered. Other then that everyone did rather well.

This is one of the games that I consider near perfect. You are in complete command of all characters and its up to you to determine the ending of the story. Also since it has 20 or so endings many will be playing this for at least a few years. The graphics are near perfect. The story, although dark, is so well crafted that it breaths life into the old Noir genera and relies off nearly no cliches in order to tell the story. Everything packaged together is a really strong emotional trip into the terror of a child killer.

Quantic Dream please make more games.

9.5/10

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Lucius PC Video Game Review

lucius_PC_Game

Warning some spoilers.

Lucius is about the son of Satan. He’s come back to take over the world. In order to go concur the world he, for some reason, has to kill off his family. While he’s killing off whoever the family slowly starts getting paranoid as to whos killing everyone. Some have emotional breakdowns and then the police get involved. The lead detective bumbles about and tries to piece it all together. Every once in a while Satan will drop by and give Lucius power ups.

This is one the few games I really really wanted to like. For once you play the ultimate bad guy and there are weird justifications for doing tons of gory bad things. Then you get to read his journal entries and shows the mindset of a terrible person for once. However it doesn’t do much else. The story is so frail that it doesn’t really explain why its a good idea to kill off your family, nor how he was going to go about ruling the world. Think about it. If he kills off his family he’ll be a penniless orphan and will only go on to kill other families. On top of that there is zero time for character development to make the player care about the people who are being killed and much less why they are killed.

Now murdering them all is a mixture of grotesque and unique. This portion of the game is pretty much a stealth puzzle mixture and all the combinations are interesting to figure out. Although some do die in cliché ways, although the setup is always different. This gameplay as a whole isn’t too difficult. It’s a lot like some of the older point and click games where you take everything that isn’t nailed to the floor. After that you explore the house to find the special spot to use it.

Also some of the best power ups that Satan gives you come really late in the game and you won’t be able to use them except maybe once. Like it you eventually get to wipe peoples memory after they catch you doing something bad, which would be hella useful in earlier parts of the game. But it’s only introduced after 3/ 4 ths of the game is complete and since you’ve already killed some 10+ people there are less people in the house to catch you. So it doesn’t really serve a purpose unless you really suck at stealth. Or better yet, you don’t get the ability to conjure fireballs till the second to last level. How awesome would it have been to just go around smokin mofos left and right with this ability? Well guess what? It isn’t happening.

This wasn’t a great game and it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. The graphics are OK, but not great for this generation. The voice acting is sometimes just terrible, or feels like a bad B movie. The characters are sometimes completely cliché, like the only butler in the game is British. On top of all that a lot of the story is just stupid. It basically amount to “go out and kill everyone just because!” and then it doesn’t give you a option not to kill them or give you a better explanation.

So if you do pick it up try to find it cheap. It’s a short experience and there is little replay value. Sure there are two bonus levels, but they’re hard, boring and serve no purpose. Also the story is going to be too bland for some people. Hopefully they’ll make a sequel seeing as they could easily fix things and adjust the story and game mechanics.

4.5/10

Home PC Video Game Review

Home-title

Warning Some Spoilers

Home is psychological thriller about a man with sever amnesia who wakes up in a house full of dead bodies. He stumbles around and has the choice to interact with various clues. The foreboding atmosphere continues to drive him towards answers, but they are muddled due to the answers he finds seems to only open about a million more questions. At each site he discovers more dead bodies while try to piece together the past. Finally he slowly gathers enough evidence and that he has memories to remember who he is and what he needs to do: go home and check on the safety of his wife.

This is a strangely dark and a completely creepy chose-your-own-adventure game. It slowly draws you in with every creek from the house you wake up in to the narrowed visibility provided by the flash light you find. Even the muddled pixels add some fright to the game due to their crude art stile and seems to compliment the confusing situation. The creepiest thing about this game it places ‘what if’ ideas in your head while you stumble about and find clues amongst the derelict town. Also some of the timing of certain events will give you a quick jump scare. It even excels at giving really high quality background noise that is just creepy and could mimic any walk in the woods at night.

However it has a few draw back. Like the main character seems rather daft. Like he’ll continually complain that he feels like he’s being followed, paranoid or whatever and then everything possible just makes his statements creepier. Despite this, he doesn’t walk faster after this. Sure he complains about his hurt leg, thus a reason not to run, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the game to fix it or shut him up about it. So despite being scared shitless he doesn’t show much signs of emotion. He doesn’t begin to visually sweat, jitters, or anything.

I know it’s hard to pixelate characters faces, but dozens of other artists have been doing this for years. So due to that lack of detail/art the text narrative takes away from the moment because there isn’t any follow up action. Its like you’re reading a internal monologue but he just seems to poker face his way past a entire town full of dead bodies. This is unrealistic. Also some of the shading is bland. There’s a few areas that are identical to one another leaving a few areas boring just to look at. Then there are a few larger areas that have no interactive objects nor areas to enter and serve no purpose to the story at hand.

Other times, the in story character development is a little wonky. Like despite how completely scared out of his mind he claims to be, he stops the player from telling him to leave a area and states something like he needs to ‘settle the issues’ or whatever. If he was really that scared he’d be hauling ass to the nearest town/hotel/anything to get away from it all. The character will even encourage the player to explore the area more by saying certain hints a key times. This completely takes away from the mystery element of the game because he’s so BLUNT about it. A few times it said something along the lines of “I wonder if I should have picked up [x-item].” It’s like “really game?”

Meanwhile I’m sitting there thinking he has no purpose to encourage the user to stick around. He has no recollection of who he is, no memory of a good bit of his life, and the place is filled with dead bodies. The issues are settled because EVERYONE IS DEAD and the dipwad should run before he winds up dead too. He even mentions this at the camp site, but he still waddles about in the dark woods in the middle of the night while stumbling over more dead bodies. So it’s counter productive to basically tell the gamer what to do when the whole purpose of the game is to explore.

Despite these complaints it really is OK, but not great. Its really different play a game that lets you decide just about every action of the character, but makes it tedious. The mood is completely dreary and everything does it’s best to enhance that experience, with few exceptions. I wouldn’t pick it up for more then $5 due to how short it is and it won’t scare most people. Its more along the lines of a ‘thinking mans’ horror game, but I found it obnoxious since it leaves a lot of unanswered questions due to its too broad of a ‘chose your story’ approach.

This is entertaining in the end, but is short lived.

5.0/10

Cat: Horror, Adventure, Mystery

Tags: Benjamin Rivers

Dead Island: Riptide Review for the PS3

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Platform: Playstation 3

Some spoilers ahead.

After escaping from Banoi the group lands on a cargo ship full of military types. They immediately get locked up at gun point as being recognized at some of the few who are immune to the disease. Somehow some of the infected zombie population get released on the boat, while they are introducing themselves to the newest member of their group John Morgan, a ex-military Australian held captive for treason. So you, and your crew, crash land on Palanai. Literally. Most of the crew is dead and, somehow, the only survivors are the immune and a Australian military man named Colonel Hardy.

As for the story goes I think they could have done without this one. The original I thought was good enough since they do the classic “fly off into the sunset” and everything is assumed to be fine. In this story they add a mutagen to the zombie infection and it’s suppose to explain why there are new zombies. The new zombies are cool, however the whole mutagen side story is just bland. If they were going to get that extravagant they might as well have made a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while they are at it. They didn’t ever explain what it was, or why it was there. It was hinted at that the infected started to mutated between Kuru and over exposure to chemical weapons, but this wasn’t fully explained. Then they kept going on about how the small immune group will eventually become more and more enraged as if it’s some kind of side effect, and yet again, didn’t explain things fully. I don’t see why they made a big deal of the two and didn’t give them proper closure. Now I’m sure it’s all explained in the collectibles, but I didn’t buy a PS3 to READ.

Yes, some of the collectibles are read aloud, but it’s difficult to listen to them when being attacked by really loud zombies. It should be noted that the voice actors did a beautiful job performing in this area. Anyway, the rest of the time the crew rarely develops character wise. If I walked by them they mostly say the same things over and over again. So not only do the original characters that were well developed, and gruff to their own extreme, get really tiresome to hear. I eventually begain to hate them because they didn’t really have a purpose to help advance the story. This is disappointing considering the original game only showed the other team members in CGI cut scenes to HELP do just that, and the dialogue was much more extensive. So it’s kinda bad that you get tired of so many cool character so fast.

The gameplay is the exact same as the last game. You comb the island completing quests, looking for collectibles, etc. This is fun and all, but gets repetitive. So in other words this is the exact same game as before. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the story helped pull it along, which as stated above is meh. The upgrade system isn’t any different and the leveling system is the exact same. Yea sure there’s a leveling system for the different kinds of weapons, but it doesn’t feel like a complete idea and I just completely ignored it. The weapons leveling system didn’t seem to improve anything at all, or at least that I noticed. Also this doesn’t seem to matter consider some zombies, if they get behind you, can kill you in one hit. That is completely unrealistic and ruins a lot of the melee fighting.

The melee is just as before. You’ll need to a void certain zombies and learn strategies on how to deal with them. This is probably one of the best aspects of the game since it’s all first person. The leveling helps control the combat, as it gets considerably harder. It’s nice to see you can mutilate zombies, but there are only so many swinging animations and with some of them I kinda wondered how it didn’t get the character bitten by zombies. Despite that after figuring out how to fight, or when to run, it’s a really smooth system, unlike most FPSs. One of the best things is that it gives you a large variety of weapons and gives you enough options in order to get good weapons.

Like it has random dungeon like zones called ‘dead zones.’ Many of them have a large zombie population and usually has a large number of valuable items and weapons in it. On the flip side some are just regular areas with zombies and they rarely have anything valuable in them. To a certain extent it extends the game play, but it’s a major distraction if you’re playing it for the story. It does add some quality battles to the game, but most are infuriating solo. The variety of difficulty is also something to be noted. There are easy ways out of some challenges considering they have doors and you can close them after you throw a few grenades. Unfortunately other areas are more closed in and it’ll you’ll have to work around runners and leading them around doors to slow them down.

The island’s explorable areas are a lot smaller and this makes it slightly disappointing. The thing that made me like the original, and want a sequel, was the large lush areas you could explore. In Riptide you have one whole less area to explore and it makes the game feel shorter to a certain extent. Also the utilities in the original were actually useful, like cars. In Riptide it introduces the use of boats, but they are harder to steer and, if anything, annoying since if you go too slow zombies will tip you over. In the cars you can drive zombies would just be bumped to the side. So you have a more vulnerable, louder, zombie attracting vehicle that’s extremely limited in maneuverability and availability on the island. You can only access it at the beginning of the game and doesn’t help you explore that much of the island. So it made me wonder what they were thinking considering it’s kinda useless.

The only thing that made me think of how useless it is was is the online experience I had. A small group was going with me to some mission location. It was in a more remote areas. Instead of taking a boat we JUMPED our way across the water to our next location. Not only did we avoid nearly all the zombies that would have been attracted to us, but we were also able to scout out the area ahead relatively undetected. In turn we kill that many more unsuspecting zombies with greater ease.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she's stunning.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she’s stunning.

The graphics are stunning at first, but it all fades fast. It seems like they polished the first few parts of the level(s) then forgot about the rest. The raining affect that take place at random on the island is awesome. The bloom effect comes up splotchy in a few dozen areas. The character models mouth kinda move in synch with the voice actors dialogue, but it isn’t of any fluid motion. So it kinda looks like a door opening and shutting really fast. Other then that their idle movements will get irritating after visiting one of the safe zones for the dozenth time.

The most notable thing about the graphic is the heaps of glitches. I guess some things don’t change, considering this is one thing they could have immensely improved on. Sure some of them are drop dead funny, but it ruins the immersion of the game. You can still kick dead zombies through boulders, bushes, and just about anything that isn’t usually impassible to the character you’re playing. There are multiple areas where the zombies animation kinda freezes. Most of the time it’s while they’re running and are stuck between two things.

The biggest set of glitches come during defense segments. Whenever you go to set down a wire barrier the entire game might freeze. For me it froze during the first and second defense segments. I had to take the game offline and restart the game 6+ times. This killed the immersion and pretty much ruined a good half of the game for me. I shouldn’t have to worry if something will load between scenes or have the game crash on me during a really important part of the game.

The multiplayer is both fun and completely obnoxious. Its fun to see people back you up while fighting a super hard zombie, but at the same time many players like to chuck grenades. So they can blow you up fast. Then there are a few glitches while playing multiplayer that ruin it for me. When doing the main quest and you go to turn something in and someone else is has the same quest then it turns it in for the both of you. That’s fine, but the quest character will echo their dialogue or it simply won’t come up at all. So you’ll have some guy standing there flappin his lips and movin’ his arms with no sound at all or it’s simply too muddled to hear anything.

This was, just like the last one, fun and disappointing. It could have been so much more and been developed better, like Dead Rising, but a lot of things get in the way of it being perfect. Like the glitches constantly grind on you as well as the repetitious game play. Don’t get me wrong this is a really fun game considering you can power through a few hours and mow down zombies left and right. So the game does a great in this aspect on making you feel God like. It’s just a strange experience because either you can easily over look these flaws or they’ll stop you from playing the game completely. If anything most should probably wait till it’s $20 before considering buying it.

++++++++

+Positive+

++++++++

+Fun gameplay

+Great graphics

+Fun open world exploration

+Decent followup story

————-

-Negative-

————-

-GAME BREAKING GLITCHES

-Stale main character animations

-Glitchy sound

6.0/10

7.1/10 – IMDB as of 05/07/2013

56/100 – Metacritic Critic Score

6.4/10 – Metacritic User Score

NOTE: I hesitantly wrote this review due to the fact that this series is a very love hate relationship with most people. So if I praise it too much people will hate me and if I hate on it too much people will hate me, and I already have very few followers as it is. Also the other reviewers I’ve read added too much garbage to their reviews then actually looking at the game. One wasted several paragraphs over their controversial pre-order zombie lady busts, that didn’t ship in the US for some reason. The others wasted time on complaining about the previous game and basically gave this game a failing grade out of association. So the development of this game has been nothing but stange.

Hotline Miami Video Game Review

Format: Personal Computer, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita

Difficulty Played: N/A – default is hard until you get use to the gameplay style

Some spoilers!

You wake up in a haze in a run down 1989 apartment in Miami, Florida. Your phone rings at your apartment and you’re instructed to go to a location to do some sort of menial task. You go through the front door and open a package. It instructs you to wear a mask (a rooster head labeled “Richard”) and kill people at the location previously given to you. Through a series of long bloody killing rampages, mixed with stranger voice mails, you’ll eventually run into strange visions, even hallucinatory episodes. Then after the killing rampages you run into strange people giving you perks around town and witness various horrors from killing. Eventually, their words become garbled and you start have stranger and stranger dreams, that might be real.

This is one of the funner games I’ve ever played in a long time. It takes the original design of video games, like getting high scores, and mixes it successfully with a story with psychological views on killing. So think Pac-Man, except you MURDER people instead of eating orbs. This game is hard to describe due to the metaphors, symbolism, and general confusing way it presents itself through out the game. People keep saying this is like the Drive movie but in game forum. I disagree. This is more along the lines of a botched spy movie mixed with Scarface gore and PTSD themes of Reign Over Me. Yes there are Drive references everywhere, but there are also tons of other 80s references like the excess palm trees, lavish indoor pools, and even VHS store with micro images of famous movies.

As for the story I was pleasantly surprised. It seems like a hybrid of The Bourne series, with everything previously stated above. There are some unneeded elements, like the addition of a girlfriend, but I think it might be homage to some of the other over the top 80s movies. Ya know, there’s always some sort of cliché plot device or whatever. Also it’s unsettling to think of what happens to one of the main villains. It really isn’t what you’d think either. He shows up maybe twice and then walks out knowing he’s killing maybe a 100+ people. Then there’s the weird fact that you’re fighting men in nice white suites, which is later reviled to be the local Russian mob. There’s even hints in the cut scenes that the city is further descending into chaos because of your, and the mobs, actions.

Due to all these elements you don’t find out the whole story till the end, of either character, but even then its up for debate. Like when the story splits to another character at one part and it leaves you wondering what really happened to that character due to later events in the game. Since one of the main protagonists gets shoved in the hospital. One could only assume he was either killed or beaten into a coma. On the other hand both endings for the characters seem sound since, if you figure it out, through out the game there are suggestions of them in the background. As the big oppressive Mob town feel gets more engrossing and it’ll seems like the town is descending into chaos, like mentioned in the cut scenes. However with the final ending it makes you wonder if both characters were out killing for pleasure or they generally hated the Mob.

The almost PTSD fueled episodes are something to be desired for most. Sometimes they just simply don’t add to the story at all and are only there for shock value. Like a few begin with gory scenes of death or talking corpses. Which makes you wonder how sever of a conscience the main protagonist has. It does add some depth to the character, but some of it is too weird to begin questioning. Like there are multiple scenes with people in masks taunting you about the various murders your committing. Yes, a few try to help you realize whats going on, but its still confusing no-less. It made sense in the end, but during much of the fighting it’s really distracting.

Also depending on the ending you get you’ll either like it or hate it. It takes a dark gritty turn depending on how well you play the game (finding secrets, etc.) and is slightly depressing considering what all happens. One involves a goofy ending that is almost reminiscent of a bad spy novel. Also this ending kinda doesn’t make sense considering there isn’t strong ties between the two groups they were trying to separate. The other is more realistic and is slightly plausible, although really freaking dark. This reminds me of the true nature of most pranksters: they are very malicious. Regardless I found the endings, for both characters, was easy to understand, despite the majority of the Internets confusion.

Another interesting aspect of the characters is that both have different play styles that you have to get use to while still maintaining some sameness. One theme that runs through the game is that you can only have ONE weapon. This is understandable since it’s all based upon quick interactions and you won’t have time to switch weapons because you’ll wind up dead. The first character is about pure brutality and the other is more about speed and timing.

The controls are easy to master. However, the pace at which the game throws things at you is infuriating, which makes the beginning of the game difficult. So to a certain extent there is a learning curve, but you can pick it up quick. Since it’s a open ended fighting game you can design your own method of combat due to the variety of weapons, terrain, and the AI. Also along the way you find out what happened to other people put under these mystery group and why they were their. For whatever reason when you find their masks you can gain 1 special perk. Like there’s a cheetah mask named Tony that enables lets you have faster executions.

Also due to the ferocious AI you will die a lot! The whole system is built upon a ‘one hit kill’ health system which is good and bad. It means 90% of the enemies can get killed with one hit, but it means you can get killed with one hit as well. This is actually probably one of the main draws to the game. You can plan out your whole attack scheme and screw it up half way and you might have to restart the whole level. This is why it kind reminds me of Demon Souls. If you don’t pay close attention you are completely screwed.

The bright neon colors only add to the unsettling drama and gore, because of how strangely soothing it is. It really captures the 80s themes really well and gives a smooth look due to how well they all transition between rooms, cut scenes, and even characters. Some stages are like one large flowing piece of artwork. Even the cut scenes that zoom in on the faces are really well done, but blend with the others and it makes you wonder if the author was trying to hint at something or just lazy.

All in all this was a great gaming experience. I loved the art, music, the fluidity of the controls and speed of the game itself. However it doesn’t come without its flaws. When I first bought the game it crashed to the desktop maybe 8 times. It was a few days before a update was released to fix the problem. This was odd considering I was running this on a Windows 7 64 bit machine and the graphics aren’t that demanding. Also, as said before, it’s really hard. If you might spend hours on the same level if you don’t pay attention. Regardless, if you want something fast paced and unique please buy this game. If you hate dying, A LOT, then try to find a demo.

You probably won’t see this rating for a while.

9.0/10

85/100 – Metacritic.com – Crititics

8.2/10 – Metacritic.com – User Score

Places to buy:

Steam — $9.99 – download – DRM

GamersGate.com – $9.95 – download

GoodOldGames.com – $9.99 – download – no DRM

Amazon.com — $4.99 – code for Steam

System Requirements

Minimum:

    • OS:Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7
    • Processor:1.2GHz processor
    • Memory:512 MB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 8-compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Additional:Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller or Direct Input compatible controller

Recommended:

    • OS:Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7
    • Processor:1.4GHz processor or faster
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:DirectX 8-compatible graphics card with at least 32MB of video memory
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:250 MB HD space
    • Additional:Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller or Direct Input compatible controller

Silent Hill Downpour Video Game Review for the PS3

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Some Spoilers
Format: Playstation 3
Difficulty Played: First play through Normal/Normal
Next play through: Easy/Hard or Hard/Easy
The story is fantastic, in parts. I know that sounds odd so let me explain. You play Murphy Pendleton who’s in prison for unknown reasons. It cuts to a gory scene where you are taught to fight and then it fast forwards to the day you transfer to another prison. Once again you’re being thrown into another situation with little to no background. So as Murphy boards the bus some prison guard (Anne Marie Cunningham) gives him a ugly look and then you’re shown speeding down the highway with all the other inmates. For whatever reason, it think it was the weather conditions, the bus driver decides to take a detour through, you guessed it, Silent Hill. The bus crashes, Murphy escapes the grasp of Anne, and the adventure to get out of Silent Hill begins.
After this the moral choice system kicks and and you basically determine Murphy’s fate. Which is awesome since there are multiple endings. The main story is something similar to a American Twilight Zone episode built upon self discovery, with heavy amnesia like qualities. In all honesty it runs along the lines of a American tragedy and melodrama, unlike a Japanese one where they go out of their way to gross you the fuck out. Also it’s heavily laced with serial killers, child molesters, and tons of other nasty sub themes and stories to make you completely depressed and disgusted. There are many parts of the story that hint at things, rather then showing you. However, much of it doesn’t come together until the end. I’m trying not to give much away, but it looks like what would happen if a ‘strong silent’ character type landed in Silent Hill.
The main story is determined based on characters actions through a moral choice system. Silent Hill, and the game, seem to feed a lot on Murphy’s subconscious and worries. Since it’s all based upon morals more enemies you kill the more likely you’ll receive a bad ending. To a certain extent it’s like Silent Hill was testing Murphy to see if he was a reformed man or a cold blooded killer, because it takes NO short cuts in trying to terrify the shit out of the main character. So whole more choice system seems to play with the character like some sort of mindgame. Like it’s tempting to kill some of the enemies, considering some don’t re-spawn, but in the long run you could run into MORE. If you don’t you’ll only have to worry about running from the ones you didn’t currently kill. Other players have found out that you can cheat at the end and receive a completely different ending, as well as the achievement for it. This completely defeats the purpose of having a moral choice system, extending replay value, and some of the choices involved. However, in order to get all the endings you’d have to play the game 6 times and with all the other great games coming out no one really has time for that. So it’s really a double edged sword.
Then the rain system that adds to the moral choice system and the almost ‘no hope’ atmosphere, that Silent Hill has been known for, is fantastic and interestingly done. The more it rains, the more it spawns monsters. Also the more it rains the more the monsters know where you are. So the whole town, and rain, feels like a giant GPS for the monsters and you’re the destination. It’s really creepy. To say the least it does a great job on making you feel paranoid and to make you feel like the entire landmass of Silent Hill is out to get you. However it’s completely killed by the fact that you can go indoors and jump right back outside and everything is fine. To a certain extent it’s like you cheat the experience of waiting for all the towns creepy crawlies to go away and just find a way to skip over them completely if you want to. Sure, if you get tired of fighting that’s cool, but from what I’ve heard it wasn’t a option in the other Silent Hill games.
However the side quests stories are sometimes something to be desired. Yes, they’re dark and dreary and really add to the overwhelming feel of the town that everyone is just rife with sin. So they do add to the towns mythos, but some are so different they are distracting from the main story line and would probably deserve their own Silent Hill story. It’s feels more like a interactive tour guide for unfinished Silent Hill ideas. The two that do add to the main story line DO add some clarity, but not a whole lot. Also many of them aren’t even a factor in the moral choice system. So while you’re putting spirits to rest you aren’t obtaining any good points for it. To me this would just make since they added multiple endings. On top of that some of the rewards for the side quests give you great melee weapons, like the Tomahawk. However you can only get many of them half way through the game, and since you LOSE all weapons when Silent Hill changes worlds there’s almost zero point in getting them. YES, some respawn at the side quests final location, but that’s a lot of backtracking for a single freakin’ weapon and since you can only carry two (one melee and one gun) you’ll find yourself trying to pick between running back somewhere to get a melee weapon or go some place where you last saw a fireaxe.
The gameplay is simplistic for the most part, with some exception to ladders, some movement due to graphical issues, and combat. Many times I’d find him dancing around the bottom of the ladder instead of going up. There isn’t a button to do some of these actions, like duck under something. So you have no choice but to frustratingly watch him twitch while you try to force him to duck or grab a ladder and go up, or down, it. He isn’t PewDiePie so he doesn’t have the right to flounder about in a game doing stupid things and talking to toilets. Also considering I don’t have the patience to watching him to a poor rendition of a square dance underneath the very area I need to go to escape monsters or progress in the game only pisses me off. Stephano isn’t under the ladder Murphy! Stop looking for him and get up the ladder!!!!
Then there was a really neat game mechanic that never worked, or that I wasn’t able to fully use it. You can walk up to a door and slightly open it to peer inside the next room. I thought it was neat considering most games only give you a crappy keyhole to look through and it would appear grainy or just too muddled to notice anything of any importance. Downpour it gives you full visual advantage of the room. However, I found this to be worthless more then half the time considering the monsters DIDN’T appear until after you passed a corner or you did something to make them spawn. So while it would have been awesome if it worked. On top of that it seems some of them were designed to BLEND IN with the background. So I often found myself walking around and I’d turn around and they would be two inches from Murphy’s face.
Another nice feature is that before you start the game you can choose your level of difficulty for the main story and a separate difficulty for the puzzles you’ll encounter. This is awesome if you just want the story, or just want the puzzles, and don’t want to be bothered with the latter. I wish this was integrated into other games considering most puzzles you’d have to be weary of something killing you. In this game all puzzles are secluded and you don’t have to worry about being killed with the exception of maybe 2 late in the game puzzles.
The combat was stupid half the time, but understandable. The Silent Hill series hasn’t ever been known to empower it’s player. So you’d have a character who, not only couldn’t aim a gun, and when you could you’d missed 90% of time anyway. However, Murphy CAN aim. Murphy can hit his targets 90% of the time. Also if you know where to look, and when to run, you’ll be really well stocked weapon wise for more then half the game. Which is OK, but after you get depleted mid-fight pistol whipping the monsters isn’t easy and doesn’t do much damage. Also if you smack them with the butt of your shotgun the handle BREAKS within 3 hits or so and isn’t worth using as a melee weapon at all.
Then some of the melee weapons are something to be desired. The entire game is littered with nothing short of useless crap. You’ll find beer bottles, chairs, and even blanks of wood that aren’t worth more then a few hits until they break. After a while I unintentionally knew when the weapon was going to break and would search for a new one mid fight despite other peoples complaining about the weapons system. Also you can only care TWO (2) weapons, as mentioned before. A melee and a handgun. To a certain extent I feel that this was intention since Silent Hill is meant to cripple the player and not help them. Besides you aren’t Niko Bellic with infinite pockets to store 12 plus weapons and over a 100,000 lbs worth of ammo. This adds realism to the game, but also adds some irritation due to the fact that good melee weapons are few and far between.
At the same time the combat is interesting on how they programmed the monsters. Often there was a Screamer or Prisoner Minion that would walk in and out of the fog. It was kinda like saying come get me! Then one of the other monsters would sneak up behind Murphy and attack him. It was hilarious, frustrating, and neat all at the same time. I can’t help but think this is intentional, because this has similar behavioral patterns to pack animals, like wolfs. Also some of the weaker monsters would also be a challenge. For example the Screamers you can be knocked down, eventually, but it seems like they wait for you to turn around. When you do they’ll jump on you and bite your neck. So it seems like they made the monsters a little more crafty then the previous games which they just ran up to you and pummel the crap out of you.
All that makes me wonder why people were saying the monsters in Downpour weren’t scarey. Sure they aren’t a traditional monster, like demons or something. Half of them look like humans or something from slasher flicks, but I found them intimidating sometimes due to their programming. I guess this is some bias since I didn’t enjoy most Silent Hills monsters to begin with. Most looked so anatomically impossible that I don’t believe that many of them would be able to move, much less kill the main protagonist. Like with my first monster encounter in Silent Hill 2 was a Lying Figure, I think. He looked like a anorexic person having bouts of explosive, and corrosive, vomiting and/or diarrhea everywhere. To me that isn’t to scary. It just kinda looks unsanitary. I mean seriously. The only thing it would have needed was a pair of butt cheeks on its head and it would have been something from a South Park episode. Besides, the monsters are based off of Murphys subconscious and fears. So it’s probably something that wasn’t told in the story, or something I didn’t pay attention to, that would have made the monsters even more disturbing if they explained them more.
The graphics are stunning and are so beautifully washed and grainy that it gives a somber sorrowful tone to the whole experience. The cut scenes are almost MOVIE quality, or better. Also the attention to detail was really neat. Like if Murphy got hurt he would slowly bleed onto whatever clothes he had, but at the same time when you healed him the blood disappeared. So apparently he carried a Tide to Go pen with him everywhere. Also the rain textures are hypnotically soothing despite the constant paranoia of monsters. Some of the scenes are truly the best graphics I’ve seen in ages.
However most of the game suffers from sever freezing and mild clipping issues. There were multiple times were it would freeze and Murphy would be 10 steps ahead of his previous location, or I was being attacked by monsters. Other times, when I’d move from one area to another, the game would load up fully load then I’d take a few steps, it would freeze, and it would close to the loading screen AGAIN. There were also some odd clipping issues. There were a few times I’d cut near a tree, phone pole, or building to prevent from getting hit by a monster and one of Murphys feet would get stuck in the object. So he’d kinda freeze in his animated running position but I would eventually be able to wiggle him out of the object. This would ruin the flow and immersion of the game. Also many times it would get Murphy severely hurt. Like one time he had 20% health left. Sure I don’t mind graphics glitches in other games, but having little to no glitches MATTERS the most in fast paced games and/or total immersion games, like this game.
In conclusion: I love this game, even though it has sever flaws. It’s dark, depressing, and really captures a tragic and miserable feel for the entire game, despite the fact that some of the rain elements help keep you calm while fighting multiple monsters. The story is a lot more chipper then most Silent Hill games, considering most endings aren’t completely confusing, disgusting, nor soul destroying, like previous games. So it gives the story a more American drama-tragedy feel then a horror game half the time. The puzzles are challenging, but not too tough. It’s draws you in making you wonder what will happen to Murphy and the rest involved, while not fully answering all the questions. If you’re looking for something a little different, with quite a few scares, pick this up. Heck it’s only $20 now. So why not?
7.5/10
IMDB – 8.3 as of 02/08/13
Metacritic.com critics – 64/100 as of 02/08/13
Metacritic.com user score – 6.8/10 as of 02/08/13