Zero Punctuation: Silent Hill: Downpour

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Griffolion:
Love the quip about Blackpool. Totally right!

Pfft, it's the English Las Vegas and you know it.

One of the things I liked about Downpour was that it showed a protagonist not drawn in by his sins but his regret. It added a new twist, even if the theme was slightly touched on in Origins. As much as I love the Silent Hill formula, seeing the Town "get it wrong" is kind-of refreshing. I could go on more, but meh.

Yopaz:
I am surprised to hear him say positive things about this game since from what I have seen from other reviews there's been a lot of negative things that have been mentioned. Still his general opinion of the game seemed to indicate that he didn't like it very much so *I think I might give this one a miss.

If you read the details, the complaints in most reviews amount to "This sucks because it's a survival horror game." without the writer realizing that's what they're complaining about... and some choppiness in the Xbox version... and all but 3 monsters looking pretty generic.

As I've said before, horror is beyond the abillities of current game designers because anything thta is horror to horror fans (jaded) is going to be deeply offensive to the mainstream.

"Silent Hill 2" is the result of a time period before horror gamers had fully sold out, it's right on the line. I have refused to give Konami any money for it because they censored it based on complaints about the demo, but it still has the remnants of being a game designed to be really freaky in it, which shows through. Later "Silent Hill" games, and arguably most horror games in general, were designed around what wasn't going to push too many buttons with the mainstream... as a result they have more or less re-treading what they had already gotten away with, rather than trying to push the envelope and risking public ire.

At the time when I first had gotten my PS-2 it was all over the place that the Silent Hill 2 Demo had groups up in arms over all the bludgeoning of those skinless children that were in the original SH bestiary for example.

Right now, we're unlikely to see anything that good again, until the game industry regenerates it's nuts which it has allowed to be cut off.

In short we should be happy that we managed to get the "Fatal Frame" games when we did, especially seeing as the last one (for the Wii apparently) never made it to the US apparently for similar reasons, and due to the attention the previous games got. Granted they tended more towards the "Creepy" than outright horror.

That said, I would like to see Yahtzee marry a copy of Silent Hill 2, we had an Japanese guy marry a video game character

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-12-16/world/japan.virtual.wedding_1_virtual-world-sal-marry?_s=PM:WORLD

We also had an Aussie marry a dog.

http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-man-marries-dog,0,210566.story

I think Yahtzee, despite being in Australia, should take this finale step for british pride, flying the Union Jack proudly as he does. :)

I fear what the US will one day do to join this club.

Nazrel:

Yopaz:
I am surprised to hear him say positive things about this game since from what I have seen from other reviews there's been a lot of negative things that have been mentioned. Still his general opinion of the game seemed to indicate that he didn't like it very much so *I think I might give this one a miss.

If you read the details, the complaints in most reviews amount to "This sucks because it's a survival horror game." without the writer realizing that's what they're complaining about... and some choppiness in the Xbox version... and all but 3 monsters looking pretty generic.

Actually I have read reviews complaining about the combat, the story and the environment, but thanks for pointing out that I have read different reviews than you.

Worgen:
Really its beyond time that we stopped silent hill, its rather amazing that it had 3 good games at all, I mean its a horror game, or it should be and the thing about horror is that familiarity breeds..... not horror. Get the dudes together who made the first 3 games and put them in a room till they make some other horror game.

Konami broke up team silent after silent hill 4

Akira Yamaoka the guy who made the silent hill music did work on origins,homecoming and shatter memories as freelance he joined up with Shinji Mikami(he made resident evil and devil may cry and bayonetta) at grasshopper studios and they made Shadows of the dammed with suda 51

edit: delete this sorry

Gorilla Gunk:
Yeah, I was going to say they the monsters are fine, it's just that they're not utilized well. The should have given them different behavior patterns. The Weeping Bat and the ghost-mannequin-sex-doll-thing seem fine but more could have been done with the Screamers and Prisoners. If I would have done it I would have had the Screamers mope around crying like the Witch from Left 4 Dead, only attacking when you get near them. Prisoners I'd have wait standing and facing the corner of rooms like they're in timeout (Because, well, they are prisoners and they are being punished, makes sense to me /shrug) only attacking if you make a lot of noise or get close to them.

I also read that there's a sidequest that features a Screamer that's only visible through a mirror. Seems like they missed a golden opportunity for a really interesting enemy.

Honestly, some of the side missions are better than the actual storyline. I remember the one you mentioned and it was harrowing. I have a thing about mirrors as it is so it doesn't take much to terrify me with one. The screamer is completely invisible on your side of the room and you can only see her to attack if you watch her position in the mirror.

There was one moment within the main story, inside the prison, where I saw a prisoner coming towards me. I don't think he'd clocked my presence because he was walking, just STROLLING, towards me and it was horrible because it wasn't the usual pattern. Somehow it struck the right ballance of familiar and unfamiliar to be really unsettling. He broke back into normal attack mode once I engaged him so I'm not sure if it was intentional or a glitch.

I like your idea about the screamers a lot, Vatra missed a trick with that one. I still don't quite understand the significance of the sex doll but the multiple shadow versions that attack certainly make for some tense battles. Although I found myself avoiding enemies in the game mostly because of the clunky combat which meant they would land far too many hits on me and it wasn't worth the punishment I got. Besides, those prisoners can block a fire axe, with their arms! How does that make sense?

Dear Escapist, is the Silent Hill HD collection worth getting? I heard comments about them being in abysmal condition and I've never played Silent Hill before, though I am a huge survival horror fan.

Dear Escapist, can you stop spoiling the video before i get to watch it? "Silent hill Downpour best western game but still shit" well gee that ruins a bit of the surprise factor of the video.

OT: Great video. love the sonic comparison because its almost to true. 3 good games and then bam never again!!

Hannibal942:
Dear Escapist, is the Silent Hill HD collection worth getting? I heard comments about them being in abysmal condition and I've never played Silent Hill before, though I am a huge survival horror fan.

Yes. They are shit.
Silent Hill's massive appeal originated from the realization that being shrouded in mist and darkness would a) hide the really shitty graphics and b) create a feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia that enhances the psychological horror to a whole new level. The HD collection managed to a) eliminate the mist and darkness letting you see shitty graphics for miles and miles and b) actually make the environment textures worse than the originals which is a baffling feat of incompetence to say the least.

Just find the PC versions of the games. They must still exist somewhere and are far better. Silent Hill 2: Director's Cut has added features BTW.

You know what would be a creative use of the Silent Hill franchise? Having a game in which the character already escaped/passed through silent hill, and has gotten back into the real world before the game begins. From there, you control a character who slowly discovers that silent hill has "followed" him into the seemingly safe, populated cities and a bucolic countrysides.

That way, you can contrast the muggy horror of the previous games with an uncommon horror setting. You walk through a busy town market, only to see the other pedestrians transform into shadowy monsters that follow you. You enjoy a nice sunset in a meadow, which suddenly becomes thick with fog. You can capture a real sense of PTSD, only one which chases you and kills you with hooks and acid.

Best point of the video is the need of a new horror line. We already know how the town works, so
much of the suspense is dead.

Thanks for including Sonic Adventure 2 in the burning pile of shitty Sonic games. Sonic Adventure 2 sucked ass, and was really the point for me where all of Sonic's games went to shit. I will never understand why people rave about that game, it's awful.

And yeah, like Yahtzee says he can't really call himself a Silent Hill fan anymore, for the same reasons I no longer consider myself a Sonic fan. So everyone who just had their panties bunch up over the preceding paragraph can take their "you're one of those fans" comments and shove 'em. I can't be one of "those fans" when I'm not a fan at all.

Is it just me or does yahtzee review games too often?

So it's one step forward, two steps back eh? Well, maybe Vatra Games will get it right next time? That is, if there will even be a next time. I certainly hope so.

Yopaz:

Nazrel:

Yopaz:
I am surprised to hear him say positive things about this game since from what I have seen from other reviews there's been a lot of negative things that have been mentioned. Still his general opinion of the game seemed to indicate that he didn't like it very much so *I think I might give this one a miss.

If you read the details, the complaints in most reviews amount to "This sucks because it's a survival horror game." without the writer realizing that's what they're complaining about... and some choppiness in the Xbox version... and all but 3 monsters looking pretty generic.

Actually I have read reviews complaining about the combat, the story and the environment, but thanks for pointing out that I have read different reviews than you.

I would have shrugged and said "fair enough"... but you brought up the combat, showing you have no idea what I was talking about. I guess I could have been clearer... but given this is a forum for a video that explains a least the combat part of that concept... I really shouldn't have had to.

The disempowerment of the player is a major aspect of Survival horror; I looked through as many reviews as I could find and this aspect factored heavily into the complaints of quite a lot of them, oblivious to the fact this is a defining characteristic of the genre.

For the sake of accuracy I guess I really should have said "many complaints in most reviews."

I assume they're confusing things like "Dead Space" and "Left 4 Dead" with survival horror.

Whether we read the same reviews or not is irrelevant, because it doesn't discount the trend.

Minecraft is scary than most survival horror games I've played. Why? Because I actually have something worth losing, and creepers are like freakin' kamikaze ninjas 0_o;

I think the problem lies it this game simply trying to be a Silent Hill game, and failing miserably. Which isn't hard to do, since they're damn good games (or were at least), and it's hard to replicate the magic so many years later, especially since the replication process is in the hands of people that had entirely different world views than the original games.

Also, I've only seen some scenes of the monsters, but most of them look like dirty people, not grotesque shambling monstrocities with heavy symbolic meaning. Yahtzee is right, they just look like dudes. You can quantify dudes, even reason with them. Monsters from the original games most certainly weren't just dudes.

I'm going to go against the seemingly accepted norm here and say Silent Hill 1 was the most frightening. Anyway, 2 was nice in that it was not a cut & paste sequel, it was good on its own merits, for different reasons. 3 was still good, but revisiting previous game content, this time with an Uzi [how does one find an Uzi in small town America?] was the writing on the wall imo. 4 was a mishmosh, I think I read somewhere it initially wasn't even going to be a SH game until Konami decided to draw on the cash cow franchise theme. After that... shudder. I've run out of loyalty, I'm not buying them anymore. Bought Homecoming, it was awful. Bought Origins, had an argument with a friend who thought it was the 2nd coming (I did not). Bought Shattered Memories, which, although good (imo), was outside cannon as it were, and was not frightening. It was like one of those novels in a game, the only reason you play is for the sub-par story.

I do believe there were some phone games awhile back though, perhaps Japanese only. If someone has played those it'd be interesting to hear their take on them.

Interesting how when he reviewed Heavy Rain he was disappointed that the killer was the same in each playthrough, but in this he says that the difference in the protagonist's backstory cheapens the whole experience. Are we being hypocritical, or finally realizing how stupid the statement about Heavy Rain was in the first place?

Yeah Yahtzee I don't think you are SH fan much either but you really don't like the other three ones that started the series either. The thing of it is every game compared to SH2 is going to look bad because SH2 is on a whole other level then most games in general.

Either way I have to say Downpour scared me much much more then SH2. SH2 is actually one of the least scariest of the games and rarely does anything freightning. Plus it is incredibly formulaic. Go into a building, beat up some dudes 1... 2... find a key item and beat up more dudes who spawn as a result of them 3... 4... figure out the puzzle and fight a boss 5... 6...

Plus SH2 never had ammo scarcity problems and you can carry a whole aresenal of ammo through out the entire game. I mean really as soon as you pick up the pistol you never need to use anything else until you get about 20 rounds of the shotgun then you can use that for the rest of the game instead.

Also the otherworld of SH2 is too mundane. Most of the time it is the same world just with a new paint job this time rust colored. You talk alot about dingy brown shooters but there is something to be said of the monotony created from grayish rusty corridors of SH games in general. What is good about the otherworld of downpour is that it actually FEELS otherworldly while retaining a sense of space about where you are unlike in others which is just the same world with a different coat of paint.

As good as SH2's narrative is, it just has a lot of other bugger all issues that get in the way. The endless supply of ammo and health drinks the game hands you kills any sense of danger one may have in the game. Most of the monsters are terribly slow and do very little damage anyway. The main variety is also rather lacking with one of the bosses almost copy and pasted for the final boss fight with one or two new attacks. It reeks of lazy design. Also you could literally cut out the first half of SH2 and almost be nonethewiser except for a few character introductions. Also Let's not forget the completely arbitrary fetch quest thing SH2 makes you go through after the end of the hospital so you can get a wrench to get a key to get into the oh christ you already know what it is.

Balkan:
Hey yahtzee wasnt the thing with who is the murderer THE RESON why you didnt like Heavy Rain ?
The thing with the plot staying the same I mean .
And the goal of Murphy is to get out of SH

I haven't played either game but wasn't Heavy Rain a murder mystery type game not survival horror? I imagine that the different genre is the reason for the inconsistency.

Yeah it was weird Yahtzee says that Murphy could just skip town but the entire point of the narrative was to escape town. He was trying to do so the entire time so obviously couldn't just hop the fence and run...

Western developer? Vatra is based in Brno, of the Czech Republic. Guess that's still "west" to Australia, but...

Does anyone else get the feeling that it's nearly impossible to be scared when you're EXPECTING to get scared? It's like when you see a trailer for a slasher film, and you know the redhead standing next to the window is going to get jacked because it shows it at the end. When she backs up next to said window in the movie, you know what's about to happen.

Silent Hill doesn't run so much on jump scares, but we've come to expect a certain type of dread, a creepy town that gets all rusty and burned sometimes, and vaguely humanoid distortions that represent something bad in the protagonists past. I'm saying there's a certain expectation for how Silent Hill should feel, and that makes it impossible to get a pure experience from it. I wouldn't be surprised if people who have no idea what Silent Hill is, but played Downpour anyway, liked it. To them it's something new.

So let's let this one die off, and bag up all the people that seemed to know what they were doing in this series and get a new IP.

Nazrel:

Yopaz:

Nazrel:

If you read the details, the complaints in most reviews amount to "This sucks because it's a survival horror game." without the writer realizing that's what they're complaining about... and some choppiness in the Xbox version... and all but 3 monsters looking pretty generic.

Actually I have read reviews complaining about the combat, the story and the environment, but thanks for pointing out that I have read different reviews than you.

I would have shrugged and said "fair enough"... but you brought up the combat, showing you have no idea what I was talking about. I guess I could have been clearer... but given this is a forum for a video that explains a least the combat part of that concept... I really shouldn't have had to.

The disempowerment of the player is a major aspect of Survival horror; I looked through as many reviews as I could find and this aspect factored heavily into the complaints of quite a lot of them, oblivious to the fact this is a defining characteristic of the genre.

For the sake of accuracy I guess I really should have said "many complaints in most reviews."

I assume they're confusing things like "Dead Space" and "Left 4 Dead" with survival horror.

Whether we read the same reviews or not is irrelevant, because it doesn't discount the trend.

Bad combat is not a defining feature, but you're right, it's a trend. Emphasizing survival by any means necessary, make even generic monsters hard to beat in order to keep the tension up.

However bad story is not a defining feature for a survival horror. When someone reviews a survival horror game and complains about the story they are not complaining about the game being a survival horror game.

Also the environment is fucking essential for a survival horror game. When they are complaining about that being bad they are complaining about the game NOT being a survival horror game.

In short, 2 of 3 of the complaints I have seen have not been a defining point for survival horror thus not all complaints are about the game being a survival horror.

I think the biggest problem with this game is still the monsters. No, you don't have to make your monsters look inhuman for them to be scary, but having them still too similar to ordinary people is going to be a problem in an other worldly setting. You can easily overcome this by making the behavior or the body language off in a really nasty way, but this game didn't do that.

In SH2 where it had monsters that were similar to humans they made the walking simulations for the monsters just a little off and didn't have them behave quite right while they still had a definite purpose. The monsters in Downpour don't feel like they have a purpose (when they're humanized), they have a pattern definitely, but no purpose, no goal like some of the previous monsters. It makes them too normal. Also, this might sound contradictory, but the monsters of Downpour are way too easy to predict. Monsters in previous games had at least a few different ways to respond to the player and sneak up on them, they were still definitely within their behavioral confines, but they didn't just feel like they were kind of harmlessly robotic.

Another way they could have maybe made the monsters scarier is just do what they did with scariest monsters in the past games, take away their face. If you have a creature that is mostly human but you obscure its face it becomes scarier, because a lot of the feelings we read on other people (if we've not lost our eye sight) come from judging their facial expressions. If you can't see that you took a lot of knowledge away from the player and being without it usually scares people.

There's a greater problem with the monsters in that a good portion of them don't relate to Murhpy's psychology (though not all thankfully, which does make it better than Homecoming which had a higher ratio of monsters not related to the main character's personal problems). If the monsters had related back to him more without him having to almost directly tell us what the problem was they could have been far more interesting and scary. But, as Yahtzee pointed out, that is problematic to work with because Murphy's past basically changes with each ending. One solid past would have been good for this.

If the monsters alone were improved I think I could have forgiven most everything else in the game, like the exploration being less interesting than it was in other games that allowed for it, the NPCs being too there so you didn't feel entirely alone while not getting to know them at all (previous NPCs made you feel more isolated by being creepy, more distant, or judgmental/against you), or the terrible controls and item direction. As it is the only thing that really works, with it being a Silent Hill game, are the other world environments. They also could have used more work, but they were at least interesting and occasionally threatening.

That's not to say this is the worst game ever (or all that close), but considering what type of game this is supposed to be and what series it's supposed to be in it needs a lot more work.

beetrain:
I'd like Yahtzee to take a look at Lone Survivor, an indie horror game Jim Sterling described as "More Silent Hill than Silent Hill".

http://www.lonesurvivor.co.uk/

TheYeIIowDucK:
Is it just me or does Yahtzee review Silent Hill games way too often?

You mean, when they come out?

This guy is off his rocker if he thinks people will pay $40 USD for a game beta. His game better be damn good.

Also, I did like downpour... yes it did not have the dread and sense of impending doom that other silent hill titles had but damn, was it blood pumping to run from the critters.

Aisaku:

beetrain:
I'd like Yahtzee to take a look at Lone Survivor, an indie horror game Jim Sterling described as "More Silent Hill than Silent Hill".

http://www.lonesurvivor.co.uk/

TheYeIIowDucK:
Is it just me or does Yahtzee review Silent Hill games way too often?

You mean, when they come out?

This guy is off his rocker if he thinks people will pay $40 USD for a game beta. His game better be damn good.

Also, I did like downpour... yes it did not have the dread and sense of impending doom that other silent hill titles had but damn, was it blood pumping to run from the critters.

Wait a minute. I got that game for ten dollars, did you look at the side with OST and stuff only or is this guy now literally only selling the more expensive version of the game? Please don't be the second one.

Creatural:

Aisaku:

beetrain:
I'd like Yahtzee to take a look at Lone Survivor, an indie horror game Jim Sterling described as "More Silent Hill than Silent Hill".

http://www.lonesurvivor.co.uk/

You mean, when they come out?

This guy is off his rocker if he thinks people will pay $40 USD for a game beta. His game better be damn good.

Also, I did like downpour... yes it did not have the dread and sense of impending doom that other silent hill titles had but damn, was it blood pumping to run from the critters.

Wait a minute. I got that game for ten dollars, did you look at the side with OST and stuff only or is this guy now literally only selling the more expensive version of the game? Please don't be the second one.

Well, it seems that the biggger package contains what you say, plus the beta to the '3D' version of the game, whatever that means these days. In the future he may as well sell the full '3D' version of the game at $50 USD or so I gather. Sorry if I was unclear.

Aisaku:

Well, it seems that the biggger package contains what you say, plus the beta to the '3D' version of the game, whatever that means these days. In the future he may as well sell the full '3D' version of the game at $50 USD or so I gather. Sorry if I was unclear.

Ah, okay. I was worried it had suddenly changed the last time I looked at it. It's a relief to know he's only asking more for the other kind, which I agree is way too expensive.

Sanmei:
Western developer? Vatra is based in Brno, of the Czech Republic. Guess that's still "west" to Australia, but...

Usually when we say "western" it's not a geographic way of thinking. Lots of countries on the eastern side of the earth is considered western due to social and economic reasons. When it comes to game developers then it's usually split between western and Japanese.

Proverbial Jon:
I can't even begin to explain why PH works even though he's just a dude with a pyramid, like you say!

I think it might have something to do with the fact that almost every time that you see PH he's doing something horrible. For instance, when you first see him (at least I think it's the first time) he's literally raping the hell out of another monster, so you know right then that PH is the ultimate badass of the game, and pretty much every other time he's either chasing you with a spear, a sword so big even he has trouble dragging it around, (making a creepy screeching noise in the process) or killing Maria over and over in pretty brutal ways. Pretty much everything about Pyramid Head says "I'm a badass, you can't fight me, and I will eventually catch you" and that's why he works.

I think that monsters are scary either because of their looks, their movements, the sounds they make or their actions, the best having all 4, but a monster doesn't need all of them to be effective. With humanlike monsters it's a good idea to take advantage of the unsetting feeling that the uncanny valley causes while at the same time defying what a person's expectations of a human are. i.e. An effective humanlike enemy would move around in inhuman ways (crawling on the ground like a lizard or something for instance) and make very odd noises that you wouldn't expect from a human, or ones that you would expect if a human were to move that way (i.e. the sounds of bones twisting and breaking as the creature moves).

captcha: pin money.

Slothboy:
Yahtzee, have you ever played the Fatal Frame series? I can't speak to any after the first one because it scared me so badly that I quit playing. I'm curious what your take is on it, maybe for the Extra Punctuation for this weeks video. It's an old game but it really nails the survival horror concept to me. You have a reason to press on, you have an intense feeling of vulnerability, and you are forced to take a good hard look at the horrors that are pursuing you in order to defeat them. Literally.

I second that. Fatal Frame is easily the most terrifying game series I've ever seen. In fact, any one of them make Silent Hill 2 look tame by comparison. The games in the Fatal Frame series are probably the only games that truly scares me at all anymore.

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