Everybody run! The homecoming queen’s got a gun!
Well, if by “queen” you mean “zombie nurses”, and if by “gun”, you mean Pyramidhead and his giant sword, then yes. Silent Hill is back, and everything old and creepy is new and creepy again. This time your protagonist is Alex Shepherd, a young solider returning from war to the psychotic battlefield of his hometown of Shepherd’s Glen. The sleepy little town is, of course, overrun by the Silent Hill cult and overrun with the kind of creatures that would squick out H.P. Lovecraft.
Homecoming marks a change in guard for the series. Instead of being made in Japan, Silent Hill: Homecoming was to be the first in the series produced by a Western developer called The Collective. That was almost the case, except that The Collective had merged with Backbone Entertainment in 2005 to form Foundation 9 Entertainment, and Foundation 9 then merged The Collective with Shiny Entertainment to create Double Helix Games. Silent Hill: Homecoming is a Double Helix production.
Double Helix draws heavily on Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 for this outing. Most of your classic terrors are there (i.e. Pyramidhead and his sexually abused nurses). In a twist that usually doesn’t work, however, Double Helix adapted some things from the Silent Hill movie. For example, the “tearing” sound when you slip between worlds is straight out of the film, as is the nurses’ reaction to light.
With all of these homages, it should come as no surprise that Silent Hill:Homecoming plays more like a Greatest Hits disc than a new game in the series. The visuals are sharp, the voice acting is reasonable, and the controls are a big improvement from Silent Hill IV: The Room. Silent Hill fans may find themselves playing through looking for a twist that never comes, however. The interactions with classic series antagonists are creepy, but don’t get under your skin the way they did the first time you saw them. And forget about save points. The save system is a ruthless checkpoint system married to a “find the glyph” save point. Prepare to lose time and effort here.
Silent Hill: Homecoming is a darn sight better than Silent Hill IV, and is a welcome addition to series fans who have ben waiting to get their Hill on for so long. It’s also not a bad entry point into the series for someone who has heard about Silent Hill, but never played. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary.
For being a solid, creepy game with good visuals, voice acting and controls, Silent Hill: Homecoming gets 4 Weiners out of 5