Made in March of 2012 by relatively new game developer, Vatra Games (who apparently was previously Kuju Games, proud makers of Firewarrior...), Silent Hill: Downpour marked the eighth entry into the world of Silent Hill for the video game market. Released to relatively bad reviews and having already drawn ire from the Silent Hill fanbase (most notably for the intro cinematic and initial game play trailers having background music done by Korn), it seemed that Downpour was destined to fail even before it left the starting gate. But we'll be trying to look past all that as I feel somewhere beneath it all is still an entertaining game to play and if anything, it's at least better than Homecoming by a very large margin.
Now the story of Downpour involves a prisoner named Murphy Pendleton whose in the middle of serving an extended stay in the big house and is in the middle of being transported to a maximum security prison, when the bus he's being transported on takes a small detour into the world of Silent Hill. Now alone and on the run, Murphy has to find his way through the twisting streets and the suppressed memories that await for him ahead. Hopefully obtaining both freedom from the physical prison waiting for him but also metaphorical freedom from the albatross hanging around his neck. Outside of Murphy himself, another very noticeable character in the game is water. Water plays very heavily into the game and it's meaning can be taken any number of ways. Some could see it as a cleansing shower to wash away the guilt, others could see it as the depressing beat to a grey day, or maybe it's a gathering storm ready to release of flood to drown Murphy? Either way, we'll be seeing our liquid friend appearing quite frequently throughout the game; not only thematically but also as a very real, tangible danger. We will also be running into the usual cadre of seemingly off Silent Hill denizens; the guilt ridden, the cryptically dangerous, or just the eternally lost souls that seem forever stuck in the Silent Hill limbo.
Finally, I decided to go with Gamerstube this time around instead of Blip as Blip is giving me a lot of troubles nowadays; it's also giving what seems to be better quality than Youtube. So hopefully that will work out and I won't have to resort to Dailymotion or something else horrid.
Murphy Pendleton, brooding prisoner and the man of a million emotions. What secrets lie behind those tortured eyes and why does everyone seem to treat him with such scorn?
Patrick Napier, chubby man in the shower whom Murphy seems to know. Appears to be beaten savagely and killed in the intro, but seems to hold some greater key to the Murphy mystery.
Anne Cunningham, prison guard on the bus with Murphy on his way to Wayside Max. Appears to enjoy scowling at Murphy, but then again so does everyone else.
Howard Blackwood, post master general of Silent Hill and the second African American Silent Hill character. Appears to enjoy being cryptic and disappearing like Batman.
JP Sater, tour guide and grim personage standing at the doorway to the Devil's Pit. Business must be what's bringing this tour guide down...or maybe it's a deep, dark secret?
DJ Bobby Ricks is the comforting voice on the radio and the possible of beacon of hope sitting at the top of the Centennial Tower. The question is whether he's really to be trusted or is he just another phantom of Silent Hill.
Nun....just a nun and nothing more.
Screamers are our first, and most common, enemy in the game and quite indicative of what Murphy is going to have to deal with in the future. Erratic, quick, and with a super annoying ability, the Screamer can be quite motivating to the player to pretty much always avoid combat. Now true to their name, the Screamer can paralyze Murphy with a ranged scream attack and then proceed to get in a cheap hit if he can't beat the QTE. Thankfully with a sturdy weapon, the Screamer can be taken down pretty easily though it's usually a better idea just to run.
Weeping Bats are the second enemy we encounter in the game and these guys are definitely a step up in difficulty. Hard hitting, quick moving, difficult to detect; the Weeping Bats are a force to be reckoned with even though they are not very common (and thank god for that). Now much like the Screamers, the Weeping Bats have a special ability that is key to their mobility and that's being able to jump to the ceiling and skitter about making it difficult for the player to keep track of them. This allows them to cheaply use hit and run tactics to whittle away at Murphy's health.
Prisoner Minion are a new enemy that Murphy runs into when he first gets into Silent Hill and while they don't seem like much, their silent approach and twitchy movement pattern can easily catch a player off guard. Much like the other enemies in the game, he's an unarmed brawler (though there is a variation later that will come armed) and while he doesn't have any tricks like the Screamer's scream, he does have a bit more health and can easily knock Murphy on his ass with a well placed kick. In the end though they are a bit easier to read than the Screamers and it's a lot easier to deal with their stun ability as it's not long range.
Dolls are sneaky sirens laying in wait in the dark corners of Silent Hill, luring in their victims with the soft sobbing of a frightened woman and catching their prey by surprise with shadowy mimic forms. But there is a good reason that they resort to trickery as their true forms are easily taken down if someone is lucky enough to find them before they are overwhelmed by shadows; yes, if the actual doll's form is found then it appears as nothing more than a fairly stationary and defenseless mannequin. Thankfully they are a fairly rare enemy in the world of Silent Hill, but it's also rare to find them alone...
Wall Corpses are fairly ineffective obstacles in that will sometimes appear in Murphy's Otherworld experiences. Pinned to the wall and spraying blood from their mid-section, they don't seem to be anything more than screaming monstrosities. Perhaps there's some more symbolism to them but they just seemed wedged into an already bland assortment of enemy designs.
Bogeyman is Downpour's very own version of Pyramid Head (or possibly Butcher if anyone really wants to remember Origins). It stalks about the Otherworld terrorizing Murphy and causing massive destruction where ever it roams with it's mighty hammer of doom. Clad in what appears to be a raincoat and gas mask, this silent and towering killer could probably easy smite Murphy whenever it wants, but much akin to it's other brethren, it merely stalks Murphy till the time is right.
Disgruntled Cactus shows us the true terror waiting in the Devil's Pit
Christoph shows that the Weeping Bats aren't the only dapper gents in the mines
Mortal Sword gives us the true nature of the Weeping Bat AI in the game