Downpour is sort of a return to form for the Silent Hill Series and a very welcome one.
It takes and modernizes the formula of the first two Silent Hill titles in which the whole town is yours to explore.
The main story is fantastic, it's an original story that does not involve any of that memory loss nonsense that had become an overused cliche in the Newer Silent Hill titles. You play as Murphy Pendleton. A prisoner who is being transferred to another prison. There is a disruption on the bus which causes it to crash and Murphy winds up in Silent Hill where he will have to face his Demons (Literally!) in order to get out of town.
I'd go into the story more but it would be spoilers a plenty. Let's just say that he had his reasons for getting arrested in the first place and leave it at that because I really think this is the kind of game you need to go into without knowing the details.
In typical Silent Hill fashion, you'll encounter other people within the town and also in the traditional Silent Hill fashion these characters will be vital to the story but at the same time will not be there very often, you're generally left to your own devices.
A nice new Feature of the game is side-quests, and there are plenty of those scattered all over town. Combined, these take up more time than the main storyline itself but are essential if you want to get the full story on both Murphy and the town itself. You'll also notice nice little nods to previous games in the series, such as music from the original four games playing on the radio and on jukeboxes, photos and paintings of established Silent Hill locations and characters, memos that will seem very familiar and puzzles that pay tribute to the games in the right way.
Downpour has managed to do what Homecoming failed to do and that is to create an enjoyable and fresh Silent Hill experience, while it may suffer from a few framerate issues, these didn't affect my experience that much, they only ever happened occasionally while saving and in no way made the game unplayable. I think other reviewers have made a bit of a mountain out of a molehill here, it's really not as bad as they make it out to be.
The rumors about breakable weapons are indeed true, however these weapons will last you a bloody long time before breaking, particularly the metal ones. This is much less of a Hassle compared to Silent Hill 0rigins where a sturdy steel pipe could break in a matter of seconds. You are limited to one melee weapon at a time and have a holster for a pistol and other guns that you can carry on Murphy's person. The Melee weapons are pretty much whatever is laying around, I found myself using the Crowbar the most, however you will need certain weapons to overcome certain obstacles. Axes to chop down boarded up doors etc.
The Otherworld is much more surreal in Downpour than it has been in previous games, it almost feels like a Salvador Dali painting at times. You'll find there are many segments of otherworld where you will have to run away from a glowing bodiless entity in Shattered Memories style (Think the end of the haunted house ride from Silent Hill 3 but much more deadly) But along side that you'll find some rather interesting puzzles and some really creepy looking visuals while you're there.
There are no broken locks in Downpour - All inaccessible doors are only locked and you will find keys a plenty while looking around that foggy old town we all know and love, this may throw some people off a little because it is breaking tradition a little, as well as autosaving. There are no red glowing save points around town but there is an autosave feature which I've had no trouble with myself. Though admittedly I will miss having multiple save files on my Silent Hill games (Because I'm a filthy cheater that likes to see all the endings as fast as possible) As for the endings, they will all blow your mind! I've yet to find a UFO ending sadly but I'm still looking.
The soundtrack is one I know a lot of you have been skeptical about. Let me halt your skepticism right now by saying that Daniel Licht did an incredible job! Whiel we will all miss Akira Yamaoka and his chilling atmospheric noise, Licht has managed to pull off the same sounds but with his own spin on it. Yamaoka or not It fits the game perfectly and there's a lot more music this time round which is a nice change from just audio atmosphere.
Daniel Licht has composed a beautifully chilling score for the game that sent shivers down my spine and really strummed on my heartstrings.
All in all this game is fantastic. Definitely up there with the Silent Hill greats and it's about time too!
Don't let a few rumors stop you from experiences this masterpiece of Survival Horror. It's a Must Play for all gamers that like a good horror story with some real edge to it.