Have You Played... Silent Hill: Homecoming?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
You know that feeling when you've eaten all of the best chocolates in a selection box and then one night you're really craving some chocolate, and you're faced with the possibility of eating a coffee cream or some other monstrosity? It's OK to admit that you've eaten that chocolate, and it's OK to admit that you kind of enjoyed it.
Silent Hill: Homecoming [Steam page] is the coffee cream of Silent Hill games. The worst thing about that is that it's the only Silent Hill game that's available digitally on PC.
At their best, Silent Hill games make me write things like this. At their worst, they make me write things like this: "Silent Hill: Homecoming is not entirely without merit."
Like the later Downpour, which didn't make it to PC, Homecoming has some great ideas. In the case of Downpour, it's a semi-open town with side stories to discover and dynamic weather changes that tie into the scares. With Homecoming, it's a game divided between two towns, rather than one that takes place entirely in and around Silent Hill itself. That allows for two approaches to creepy abandoned places, with the initial return to Shepherd's Glen initially feeling more like a traditional haunting scenario rather than the kind of Otherworld culty nonsense that the Silent hill sections inject later on.
It's all a bit rubbish, with some tedious areas to explore and far too much combat. The main character is a former soldier and his training means that the "improved combat" was actually considered to be a selling point. A combat system has never been a good selling point for a survival horror game.
And yet, if I'm really craving chocolate I will eat a goddamn coffee cream.
Do not play Silent Hill: Homecoming if you haven't played a game from the series before and want to know what the fuss is about. You will reject the concept of a fuss about these games entirely and think everyone who likes them is a wrong idiot. But if you really really want to play a traditional survival horror game with some of that spooky Silent Hill flavour, you could do worse. Not much worse, granted, but the hotel bit is quite good, if memory serves.