Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Silent Hill: Homecoming (PlayStation 3) artwork

Silent Hill: Homecoming (PlayStation 3) review


"Silent Hill… "



Silent Hill

Initially, it was evil. A macabre, rusted world decorated with severed doll parts and archaic symbols, seen only by a broken down waning flashlight. It played on the senses. Forced you to hear your daughter’s cries for help via a disconnected phone line or helplessly watch a strange ritual being committed on her courtesy of a distorted monitor. The original Silent Hill left me destroyed; left me distraught.

But like most franchises, Silent Hill lost its edge due to dull gimmicks and thoughtless additions. Creating sequels so appalling that certain delusional individuals will deny their existence.

In order to stand with--stand against--the growing competition for this genre, the once great series needed to be salvaged. Hell, it needed to be outright saved.

Homecoming was the attempt. It was to be just that: A homecoming--a return to the series' haunting atmosphere and gripping story. Its first title on the next-gen system suggested it was going to be gorgeous and gritty; demented and detailed. Homecoming was hyped to be the savior--the most enthralling, demonic sequel to date. In buying it--in playing it--I had only one question: Would it live up to that?

The answer: This… is what I’ve been dying for.

I want to feel angst in a game like this. I want to feel helpless and trapped. Locked in my own comfy apartment able to run back and heal anytime I got a scratch as seen in The Room didn’t provide me that kind of fright. From the first spin of the disk, Homecoming leveled me. I was thrown into the middle of madness and left in the dark. The game starts, abruptly, with your main character Alex wheeled down a hallway in a hospital, strapped to a gurney. Alex is shoved into a room with dingy walls and strobing fluorescent lights. Outside people scream, blood spatters while Alex begs someone--anyone--to tell him what’s going on. From there, things just get worse. Bound and helpless you can only watch as the doctor leaves, then gets ripped apart by a massive monster. And whatever is out there may come in for Alex. So he tears from his restraints, moves out of the room and down the hallway of this pastel, sterile mental asylum. Iron lungs and medieval baby incubators decorate every area you enter as you work your way through. Until, finally, at the end of the hallway you see your little brother, Josh--seemingly content amongst this wickedness--drawing pictures in a locked room, and totally oblivious to you.

Josh may be the reason you’re in this mess to begin with, so with instilled motivation you search the hospital to find a way to him, rather than escape for your life. Then, in a random room you find a blade stuck into the wall with blood as its backdrop. You decide to remove it. Whatever sanity you had left is obliterated. The moment you pull the weapon out the air raid sirens echo and the walls tear away to reveal the rusted, caged environment that made the original Silent Hill so terrifying. This time you don’t black out and wake up here. You watch--then panic--as everything around you crumbles and peels to leave this decaying, gruesome place. On the next gen-systems, and with Homecoming’s gritty, detailed graphics it has a much stronger impact.

It pulls you in and forces on you the bleak, confined emotion this structure causes. A feeling that lasts until the scene’s final act, finding you trapped in an elevator, then potentially skewered by Pyramid Head’s blade shoving through the doors.

You survive, only for what you just encountered was a dream, and you awake--unharmed-in the cabin of an 18-Wheeler returning to your hometown of Shepherd’s Glen.

From here, Homecoming takes on a quiet, more reserved approach and atmosphere. Surprisingly, it remains just as terrifying. Rather than using played-out methods like zombies busting through windows or maniacs leaping out of the shadows, the game becomes subtle and psychological. It may be an empty wheelchair rolling down a stair case after you’ve walked by. It could be finding your mother sitting in the living room when only seconds earlier it was empty. Perhaps it will be the conversation you have with the woman on the other side of the broken door; her wavering voice and illogical rambling, then listening to her hum mournfully as you walk away. Possibly hearing demented children laughing as you rush through an empty playground.

For me, it was the sudden sound of scraping then thudding, prompting me to hide behind a pile of rubble for fear of it. Then as Pyramid Head stalked by, dragging behind him his massive, serrated blade he looked straight at me--slow and calculating--then continued on.

No matter where or when it happens, at some point Silent Hill: Homecoming will get to you.

Be it in those intense, mental moments or hearing the air raid sirens wail and being thrust back into the confining, dark side. Both of which I found myself fevering my pace. Not to escape, instead to drive on.

Homecoming delves further into the mystery of Silent Hill than all other sequels combined, and you can’t help but draw back to find answers as to how this demonic town came about. And for once in a long time, I did it with a character I liked.

Alex is humble and soft-spoken like most protagonists of the series. Yet, as a military vet it make sense that he’s able to battle; how he’s able to hold his own against such insurmountable odds. He’s incredibly resolved, but doesn’t come across as brooding. He’s silent, driven and willing to do the right thing without whining about it. Not to mention, he’s a hell of fighter. The re-vamped combo system plays on this, now giving you the ability to dodge and string together combos. I found it quite useful, thought it did take a little while to learn the timing on it. Certainly not a complaint.

In fact, my grievances on this game are minimal and ones I’m able to talk myself out of. Other gamers might not. It is a tad short compared to other games in the genre. Though, I did play the hell out of it. Ammunition is short in supply, and often you find yourself trapped, unable to return and load up more before a boss fight. Some would find this irritating. I thought it added to the desperation. Unlike other survival horror games that pull this cruel trick (see Code: Veronica X) Homecoming gives you a wealth of melee weapons aside from a short, useless knife. This game is about survival, not creeping back while shooting from a safe distance. If you’re out of ammo, you have to find another way to kill your enemy, one that will bring you much closer to them.

Once again, creating the atmosphere of despondency.

And one thing that made the original Silent Hill so famous. One thing that it lost over the years. Silent Hill: Homecoming brings it back. All of it--the fear, the psychological manipulations, the emotional story driven by composer Akira Yamaoka’s moving works. Homecoming is the return of what Silent Hill once was--Evil. Evil and brilliant. From the first opening scene to the final credits I was cast into a depraved, macabre world I’ve missed so much. Konami may have made many attempts to re-create what they had, but with their latest attempt I can finally say it…

Welcome Home…Madness.

Rating: 9/10

True's avatar
Featured community review by True (October 15, 2008)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by True
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS) artwork
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)

They then thrust them into a meek storyline that does nothing to supplement the Golden Sun epic or answer the questions made at the end of The Lost Age, only gives you random, useless insights to the after-effects of Issac and his group’s end goal. Most of these are meaningless—what alchemy did to the lan...
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (PlayStation 3) artwork
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (PlayStation 3)

Even before its release, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was the victim of utter scrutinization. Many knew the premise, but most wondered if the ideas present weren’t more than fancy add-on content. Multi-player they said. You don’t need to make an entirely new game for that! Angry retort from the
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (PlayStation 3) artwork
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (PlayStation 3)

I’m the type of person who easily forgives flaws. So long as a game has one incredible, striking element I can ignore shoddy camera angles, loose controls or bad graphics. It’s a requirement that shifts depending on which genre I’m playing. For survival horror, it simply has to do one thing: terrify me. Do that, and I’...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Silent Hill: Homecoming review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
mrmiyamoto posted October 15, 2008:

Sweet review. Loved the imagery, very intimate. I thought about buying this game today, and I think you may have sold me. Great review.
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

True, this is excellent work. I can say that, though I wholly disagree with you -- that's quite a feat then. I would get into details here, but I'll have my own review up shortly. Again, kudos on a strong review that's just the right length.
board icon
disco1960 posted October 15, 2008:

Aw, yeah. That's the stuff.

I'm pretty sure I'm getting it now!

...if I ever get around to buying a system to play it on. :(
board icon
EmP posted October 15, 2008:

Not me!

Curse you, Silent Hill 4 -- I will hate you for the rest of my days.
board icon
Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

I'd say this review was a little overwritten in spots, but of all the complaints I could issue, that one isn't very damning. This review still made its point vividly, and like Masters said, it's just the right length. You managed to sell me on Homecoming, and I've never played a Silent Hill game in my life.
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

And God knows, 'overwriting' is IN, on this site. But yeah, he did something right: you aren't into Silent Hill at all, and I don't agree with his opinion, and we both liked his review well enough.
board icon
wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Heh. Yeah. This was a good review. Since the point was to explain that the game revived the original Silent Hill's horror atmosphere, I don't feel bothered that you didn't go into as much detail about specific gameplay aspects, which obviously, from the review, aren't nearly as important as the atmosphere.

If nothing else, it makes me want to check the series out. Something I've been meaning to do for a while, but never got around to it. Maybe I'll just skip 4 and go to this one if the rest are good/decent. But I don't have a PS3 either.

I did find one random typo, though: now giving you the ability to doge and string together combos.
board icon
Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

I had no interest in Homecoming beforehand, but having read this review... well, I probably still won't play it, but that's not True's fault. I'm just not interested in Silent Hill, which, yeah, makes it all the more commendable that True held my attention for this whole thing.
board icon
mrmiyamoto posted October 15, 2008:

There were a few typos, but I didn't know if it was prim and proper to call them out on the board like that, but apparently it is :P.

You spelled rubble as "ruble"

Aw, man, I feel bad.
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

OMIGOSH, you guys are SO not prim and proper. Assholes, honestly. Ha, now I'm thinking of Barney Ruble.

WQ, the game is on Xbox 360 too. Really only Silent Hill 1 and 2 are worth bothering with, I'd say. Four is just... dumb. Origins is fun if you have a PSP, which is why I was really hoping they were back on track with Homecoming.
board icon
wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Ah. That's good to know. Unfortunately, I have neither a PSP nor Xbox 360, either. Haha.
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

Do you have any systems? Surely you don't write reviews based on the back of game boxes?
board icon
Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

She seems to have a PC.
board icon
wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

And a PS2, and a DS, and a GBA! =D
board icon
Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

You have a DS? Wow, you do have something current.
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

Ah, so you can play Silent Hill 1, 2, and Origins -- the best of the bunch in any case!
board icon
EmP posted October 15, 2008:

WQ: Go play Silent Hill 1.

True: Powerful stuff, little buddy. So much so that I point out these errors because them existing in your review is as big a crime as the music you listen to.

On the next gen-systems, and withHomecoming’s gritty, detailed graphics it has a much stronger impact.

Use that spacebar!

It may be a man-less wheel chair rolling down a stair case after you’ve walked by.

Wheelchair is one word. Empty wheelchair might work better.

EmP out!
board icon
wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Do they even sell it anymore?
board icon
EmP posted October 15, 2008:

America don't have second hand games shops?

Bulldozed them down to make way for more McDonalds?
board icon
Masters posted October 15, 2008:

Ebay. Or used game stores like EB, but more the mom and pop used game stores.
board icon
wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

LOL Sure we do; I just... don't know if it'd be in there. I usually never find the games I'm looking for in there.

I'd actually forgotten about that, though.

EDIT: I heard stuff on E-bay's getting crazy expensive because I heard they're not making PS games anymore. Plus I neither haave an e-bay account nor a Paypal account because I don't like my money being handled online... even if it is safe at those two places. With phishers and everything.
board icon
True posted October 16, 2008:

Thanks for the feedback, all. I really appreciate it considering this is my first review in over a year. And don't feel like jerks for pointing out those little quirks (of which I've already fixed). I'd rather you said something here than having me direct all those jokers at Gamestop--who prefer Game Informer--and having some silly typos come back to haunt me.
board icon
darketernal posted October 16, 2008:

Silent Hill 2 is probably the best in the series(don't know about this one yet though). Powerful psychological game, and certainly the most popular characters are from it.
board icon
psychopenguin posted October 17, 2008:

Great review as always, true.

Off topic convo: Yes, PS1 games are crazy expensive nowadays. When I saw SH1 going for 40+ on the Bay I decided to break down and buy a modded PS1. Best 50 bucks I've ever spent. :D
board icon
Probester posted October 17, 2008:

Going to have to say that 2 was the best one.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Silent Hill: Homecoming is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Silent Hill: Homecoming, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.