The real silent Hill Experience




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Дата канвертавання26.04.2016
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ROSSETER

The Circle button is also for chucking your weapon across the room, but not as far as R2. Since Murphy can't just drop weapons in place, you'll quickly learn to stop and face a safe direction before performing this action so you don't lose your weapon again. But if you try to pick up a firearm while a melee weapon is still equipped, Murphy will drop the weapon instead of holstering it first, forcing you to pick it back up (providing he didn't throw it where you can't reach it anymore). Just picking up a new weapon becomes a test of patience and concentration to keep it from turning into a crazy juggling routine.


FUNGO

And don't accidentally drop your weapon in a moving elevator...


ROSSETER

If you hold the Circle button down for a bit Murphy will pull his flashlight out and hold it in his hand, which is another useless waste of a gameplay mechanic because he doesn't aim it any differently than when it's on his hip. What is the point of this?


FUNGO

To switch weapons to keep picking a new one up from becoming a fiasco you use Left D-Pad, which creates its own fiasco because then you think, "Left is switch weapon, so Right must be to switch back," and then you accidentally use a health item for the fortieth time because health items are mapped to the Right D-Pad (if that makes any sense).


ROSSETER

Down on the D-Pad pulls out the lighter, which is guess what? Another useless waste of a button. You're not going to use the lighter if you have a flashlight, so why not have the flashlight button pull out the lighter if you don't have a flashlight? Then that would free up the Down D-Pad for... I guess you just wouldn't use it? If you hit the flashlight button when you don't have a flashlight, he pulls out the lighter anyway. So yeah, it's friggin' stupid.


FUNGO

So there are really only four button mappings that make any sense, and only three of those function the way they're supposed to: action button, attack button, flashlight button.


ROSSETER

And you can't change any of it because there's no controller remapping options. Not even a control style A or B. Nothing. You're stuck with it. Screw you and your carpal tunnel-infected hands.


"... you don't have a huge arsenal of weapons, and you're not going to feel like Superman; you're not going to want to fight every creature you see. But then, when you are in combat, it's fluid – the character does what you want him to when you want him to do it."

- Tomm Hulett


Slight correction: You're not going to want to fight any creature you see. The combat is such a problem and the enemy attacks so cheap that, as the developers state over and over, it's best just to run. Get from point A to point B as fast as you can and ignore the monsters. You can fight them if you want, but you probably shouldn't do that because Murphy sucks at fighting.
FUNGO

Murphy's large weapon attacks are floaty, haphazard, and slow, while the enemies attack with brutal speed and precision. It feels like fighting tournament-level frame counters. As soon as Murphy pulls back to swing, they can interrupt mid-attack. Counter to general logic, you'll want to use the smallest weapon you can get your hands on if only so you can keep up with them in a fight.


ROSSETER

But you'll only be able to get a couple of attacks in before they start blocking, and then you'd better start blocking immediately or suffer a vicious flurry of counterattacks. If you keep mashing that attack button (as most people will), you will be punished for it. In any other game you'd be looking for openings to throw an attack of your own, but in this it's pretty much impossible to predict how Murphy or the enemy will behave from moment to moment.


FUNGO

The difficulty level doesn't seem to affect the behavior of the enemies, either. Enemies attack with the same ferocity and speed no matter what the difficulty. Only hit points are changed. Not even the game's primary gimmick seems to have an effect. If you believe what the loading screen says,


"The creatures are drawn out by heavy storms, which also make them more aggressive - seek shelter immediately." - Silent Hill: Downpour loading screen

... Except that it isn't true. You'll notice no difference in enemy frequency or behavior when the rain picks up. Just keep fighting as normal.


ROSSETER

We found ourselves using a simple formula: two attacks, block, two attacks, block, two attacks, block, two attacks, block until they're dead. If that were all of it, it would be frustrating enough, but every last enemy has its own cheapo, piece-of-crap special behavior designed specifically to piss you off.


DESIGNED TO PISS YOU OFF
For example, the Alien: Resurrection hybrid baby runs around on the ceiling for six hours when all you want it to do is get down here and get it over with already! When it finally does decide to join you in the fight you're trying to have with it, it ground-pounds you, knocking you down. But before you can react, it's back up on the freakin' ceiling again avoiding its responsibilities. It always seems that it's up there taking its sweet time when you want to fight it, but if you try to ignore it and run past you can't get the damn thing off of you!
FUNGO

Screamers will scream. Unsurprising. Isn't that a creative name? Because it screams. Get it? When they do their namesake, you're forced into a QTE recovery, and during that time you're totally vulnerable to all incoming attacks. By the time you break out of it, one of them can have jumped onto your back and you'll have to QTE-shake it off. These attacks are totally unblockable and unavoidable. Sometimes, you won't even know where the scream is coming from because there's nothing around.


ROSSETER

There's a male version of the screamers that will box your ears with the same effect. Then he'll kick you to the curb and you'll have to wait to get back up again. The giant prison rapists will also do this with charges and their own kicks. These are blockable, but they're guard break moves that will leave you open for other enemies to hit you, and you'll rarely be fighting just one of them at a time.


FUNGO

There's no way to dodge or sidestep attacks, so you'll have to count on every enemy attack landing, try to block them all, hope they don't break your guard, and hope your weapon can take the punishment. As you're probably aware, the weapons all deteriorate, and every attack or block has the potential to shatter it into a million pieces.


Deteriorating weapons in any game is balls, I don't care what the game is. Usually in such a game there are ways to repair weapons, and this would feature heavily in the gameplay and strategy. In Downpour there is no way to repair anything. All weapons break no matter what, and this includes items that could never break under any human power in any circumstance.
ROSSETER

We can understand things like lamps and bottles. We can even understand golf clubs, bricks, or even a bit of the old sedimentary (if you know what I mean). But never in a billion years could a human person swing a crowbar so hard that it shatters. Have you ever lifted one of these? It's twenty pounds of solid steel!


"One of the reasons why we did that is it kind of gives the feeling of 'less empowerment' to the player, which obviously makes it a little more scary, you know? If you don't have this arsenal of weaponry that you're walking around with, you're going to feel more scared and not have this sense of empowerment when you're walking around. It's not like Resident Evil or Dead Space, where you've got all these really cool weapons and you're, like, feeling really powerful. You're going to be left to your own devices to sort of find every day objects as weapons in this game."

- Devin Shatsky


What Mr. Shatsky is forgetting is that in games like Resident Evil and Dead Space you do indeed have quite an arsenal of weapons, but you're constantly worried about where your next three bullets are going to come from. If you recall, that's how survival horror used to work.
FUNGO

We have no problem with the concept of limiting the inventory to one or two everyday items to keep the player from feeling too empowered. But the execution is all wrong. Having weapons break on you is not scary. It's not realistic, it's annoying!


DESIGNED TO FRUSTRATE
ROSSETER

If they really wanted to stick with this concept of searching for everyday items in the environment to use as weapons, making us change it up every so often, it might have been better to have some weapons be more useful against certain enemies and others less useful against those same enemies (some breakable, some better for throwing, some better for slow, powerful attacks, some better for quick, weaker attacks, and so on), then tailor the enemies' attributes and behaviors to correspond to these different styles of attack in some obvious way. You wouldn't be constantly looking for any weapon at all, you'd be looking for the right weapon for the situation.


FUNGO

To make the deterioration problem worse, sometimes specific weapons are required to perform special actions in order to proceed. You'll be hunting and searching and probing and finding for an axe or a hook-on-a-pole to get through a door or pull down a ladder, but don't you dare fight any enemies once you have it. If it breaks (and it will), you'll have to go find another that's halfway across the world.


ROSSETER

You can avoid the issue of deterioration by standing over one of the game's many infinitely spawning weapon piles and just keep throwing. Ranged combat is much easier than melee, especially if you can get ahold of a gun (provided you use it as a gun and not a melee weapon... duh). They're extremely durable, so we recommend them for melee combat if you absolutely MUST engage in it, but they'll still shatter like anything else.


And if you're still making the mistake of treating this game like any other survival horror, you'll be saving those bullets up for an emergency. That's how these games are supposed to be played, right? Not this one.
DESIGNED TO FRUSTRATE
FUNGO

Downpour has a terrible habit of stealing all your critical items before or after each major area of the game, leaving you with nothing but the worthless lighter. They're apparently trying to teach you this very early on, as the first pistol you get from an early puzzle only lasts you another four minutes before it's dropped into a ravine. If you're an ammo saver like us, you'll pick it up and never fire a single shot before it's gone forever.


ROSSETER

Later, you might get another, and you'll probably end up doing the same thing out of habit even though you know it's going to happen. Get a gun, save it for an emergency, game steals it from you. I even did this with the special items locked away in the promotion code safes. There's a super secret nailgun that I've acquired a few times and never fired once.


"Another cool thing is we've completely eliminated an inventory system. In the past you could pick up lots of different objects. In, say, Silent Hill: Origins, you could pick up a TV, you could pick up an IV stand, you could carry all these different things in your magic pocket. But with Downpour, all you can carry is what you can carry in your hand, so you're limited to just that one object."

- Devin Shatsky


FUNGO

That's not true! There is an inventory! It's mapped to the Up direction on the D-Pad, it moves agonizingly slow, and it allows you to carry vinyl records, film reels, paintings, cranks, levers, a fishing rod... pounds and pounds of cumbersome items. But we're not allowed to carry more than two weapons because that wouldn't be realistic..?


ROSSETER

If you happen to collect sidequest items but don't complete the sidequests, you'll be stuck sorting through this junk pile every time you want to use an item. The game will not pause while you do it, so make sure everything's dead beforehand. This runs contrary to the use of your journal, which pauses the game at any time, even though the purpose of having a journal was to keep us immersed in the gameplay instead of having to use a menu system. If you happen to use it during a lightning strike or during a screamer scream, the pause will freeze the effect.


FUNGO

And yet, the game will not pause when using a keypad. If enemies are nearby, it's possible to die whilst inputting a passcode, all in the name of realism and immersion. All that work to keep us immersed, but in order to see how much health you have left you have to pause the game and enter the statistics screen.


ROSSETER

This screen is chock full of useful information nobody cares about, such as how far you've run. Look how far I ran! I've run pretty far. Does something happen when I've run far enough..? No... The only useful piece of information on this screen is the health percentage, so you have to keep stopping everything you're doing to see it.


FUNGO

It's that or try to figure out how much longer you'll live based on how much blood is on Murphy's clothing. You'd find yourself doing this quite often if not for the fact that Konami, much like every other developer, is making games for the lowest common denominator of player skill (or worse, people who don't even play games).


ROSSETER

Downpour's combat is so frustrating, the game would be really hard if it wasn't so damn easy. Konami has taken a survival horror game meant for the survival horror niche market and, through dumbing down the gameplay, mechanics, and difficulty level, attempted to appeal to the mass market. Since they didn't exactly reach the kind of penetration they were hoping for, all they achieved in doing so was to give survival horror fans (who are their target audience and nearly the entirety of this game's purchasers) a less enjoyable game experience. They have alienated their base.


So, while you may feel the need to know whether or not it would be worth the risk of using that last, precious healthkit in your inventory, fear not because Murphy is a prime candidate for the Weapon X Program. And by that, I mean his health regenerates. If the purpose of survival horror is to survive, health regeneration makes that a trivial matter.
FUNGO

Nothing says survival like standing around waiting for the blood spots to go away. Sure, it doesn't regenerate all the way, but enough so that you need not fear your next monster encounter. Healthkits are more for getting Murphy to run faster than they are for survival.


ROSSETER

Regenerating health is just one of the ways this game has been tailored to the skill level most appropriate for mass market consumption. Like most recent games, Downpour has interactive objects that shimmer-shine (to let non-players know when they should use the action button) and action button prompts (to let non-players know what the action button does).


FUNGO

Unlike most recent games, Downpour allows you to turn these off if you don't feel like being treated like an idiot. This is definitely a plus. Two problems. Problem one: You can't turn off the shiny-shims on weapons. It's understandable in a game where the weapon you're holding is going to shatter in three seconds and the only other weapon in the area is a brick that blends in with the environment.
ROSSETER

But a better solution to that problem would have been to make it so that the shimmy-shine wasn't even needed in the first place by making useable items more obvious in some artistic way. For example, those fire axes are a nice, bright, in-your-face, fire engine red. They stick out nicely against any drab, neutral-colored environment this game has to offer. If all the useful items in the game stuck out like that, they wouldn't need to shimmer.


FUNGO

Problem two: Button prompts can be turned off but are necessary in many cases. In order to keep with their theme of "increased immersion", they made posters, notices, and signs on walls readable simply by zooming in on them. However, there are many cases of things that cannot be read in this way and require you to press the action button. Since half the things can be read by zooming and half require interaction, with the prompts off you'll most likely assume that the latter is unreadable and skip right over them.


ROSSETER

There are instances where the button prompts are pretty much required. This Bogeyman fight is probably the most frustrating experience any of us had with the game. You fight him, and you fight him, and you fight him, and you take lots of damage, and you fight him, he takes a knee, you get a break to go look for another weapon, he gets back up, you fight him, and you fight him, and you fight him, he takes a knee, he gets back up, you keep fighting and fighting, and since the combat is so repulsive, you die. Repeat that a few times, fighting him and fighting him, dying, fighting and dying, fighting and dying... Then you finally figure out that when he takes a knee, you're supposed to walk up to him and press the action button, which is the last thing you want to do to any enemy in this game, and the fight is over. What could have taken two minutes just took two hours. If only we had the button prompts turned on...


This would have been a head-slapping moment if we could blame ourselves, but since it was the game's fault for not making it obvious what we should do, it was more of a head banging moment that we shared with the nearest brick wall. I don't know why this cutscene couldn't have played automatically as soon as he took enough damage. The ordeal would have been even worse had there not been a conveniently placed checkpoint right before.
FUNGO

A hallmark of traditional survival horror is savegame management. Limited save points increase the challenge of survival and the penalty of death, forcing players to be wiser in managing resources and making decisions. That is especially so when you are limited to the number of times you can use a save point.


ROSSETER

We can't think of anything that defeats that concept more handily than auto-saving and checkpoints. By implementing this system they're not only taken away the challenges one faces when considering whether or not to save and how often, they've eliminated any real consequence for dying! Checkpoints are so close together, you never have to do all that much to get back to the point where you died.


If you die.
FUNGO

The game is very tense for the first few areas simply because you're playing the game like you'd play any other survival horror. It's only after dying a few times that you learn death is merely a minor annoyance. Murphy's health is fully restored upon loading a checkpoint.


You're not really penalized for playing poorly, nor are you rewarded for playing well. On the contrary, the game rewards you more for not taking risks than it does for taking them! Frustrating combat just isn't a problem when you literally never have to engage in it.
ROSSETER

Games like Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, or Hitman encourage you to beat them without killing enemies, but in those games it's more difficult to avoid combat than it is to just kill everyone. But in Downpour, barreling through the game from objective to objective while running like a scared little girl from every enemy you see is easier than fighting, is counter to the mechanics of the game (which encourage fighting), and nets you a bigger reward! In fact, every enemy you kill in Downpour increases your chance of getting one of the 'bad' or undesirable endings. Avoiding combat is not only better for your health, but will land you a 'good' ending and an achievement! You are actually penalized for trying to get good at a substantial part of the game, and you are rewarded for cowardice!


FUNGO

Also unlike those other games, Downpour does not have an end-game statistics screen to tell you whether or not you did well, nor does it have items to unlock for, let's say, beating it within a certain amount of time or defeating a certain number of enemies. The only incentive you have to replay the game is to see a different one of the endings, and none of them requires more skill than any other.


The only things there are to "unlock" in Downpour are character concept art and what they call "collectibles". The concept art images are all unlocked by completing a corresponding sidequest. All you get is a thumbnail and a paragraph. I'm sure they thought they were giving us a lot with the bonus information in the descriptions, but there's nothing we didn't already know or couldn't infer by ourselves. Seven out of the ten collectibles can be gotten from completing just one sidequest, while the other three are located in areas you have to pass through to progress. All of these items, collectible and concept art, can be gotten on any difficulty level (no matter how much you suck at the game), and not a single one is worth the trouble.
ROSSETER

It's not all that troublesome, so I guess you should say, "Not a single one is worth the time consumption."


FUNGO

Most casual players nowadays need constant reminders of what they should be doing and how they need to do it. As a response, most games have an objective screen that tells them in plain English exactly what to do at all times and a big fat arrow on the screen that tells them where to go. Downpour's journal fills in the objectives, with one constant reminder to "escape from Silent Hill". It might as well just say, "Objective: Beat this game."


ROSSETER

Thankfully, this game's waypoint system is a little more clever than just lines on the ground or arrows leading the way. The blacklight you find in the game exposes footprints and stains that lead you around the environment. It's kind of clever. Unfortunately, this means that if you don't want to miss anything, you have to play the rest of the game purple. Hope you like purple!


FUNGO

Loading screen tips are another way current games like to tell you what to do in plain English. But this game is spooky, so they put spooky messages in every once in a while. These will make you laugh and roll your eyes and suck you straight out of the game... unless you're twelve, then it's really spooky...


ROSSETER

If that's not helpful enough, Murphy constantly talks to himself and tells himself (and you) what to do and what to think about everything. And that's another nice way to kill immersion, because it's a reminder that the events of the game are not happening to you but to this guy.


"... we utilized focus testing for many of our puzzle designs to find out which were too hard, too easy, unintuitive, etc. So ultimately we decided upon implementing the classic difficulty level option that fans were familiar with from the original Silent Hill games. This was received very well by the core fans and mainstream as well."

- Devin Shatsky


FUNGO

He can't say that! This game stands on its own, like he said!


"... we utilized focus testing for many of our puzzle designs to find out which were too hard, too easy, unintuitive, etc. Those who want to delve into more difficult puzzles and use their brain more during gameplay can select the hard difficulty setting, or those who want a less cerebral experience have the option of easy or normal puzzles."

- Devin Shatsky


ROSSETER

Well, there's your problem (and the proof of our statements)! Focus testing for the mass market has severely retarded this games intelligence. There are several different types of puzzle in Downpour. The one that sticks in your brain the most, the one you'll feel like you have to do an awful lot, is finding number combinations to enter into keypads and safes. All but one of these answers is exactly the same no matter what difficulty level, and the method of obtaining them is almost the same.

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