Well, I finished Silent Hill: Homecoming last night. It's not my favourite SH but I don't think it was that bad as I've seen some SH fans say. (Probably the more hardcore fans). I liked most of it. For those few on my f-list that have played it I got the hospital ending.
I think it could have been creepier. Whilst it had some lovely creepy moments, it seemed to rely too much on splatter and gore. And yesyes this is Silent Hill. You only have to look at my SH icons to see that gore abounds. Glistening dead things lie in hallways and bloodied walls are part of the deco but you never see what killed all these dead things. Or how they died. In some of the earlier games you're never all that sure what the dead thing is. A person? A demon? A pig, whut? Because of the darkness, or the shape of it, its impossible to tell and you can only glimpse in in the torchlight or get the protagonist in questions vague 'what the hell?' or 'it stinks' or 'I don't want to know' and then you move along.
There have only even been a few instances of seeing, such as Walter 'doing something' with the corpse on the operating table. Pyramid Head 'doing something' to the manikins while James freaks out in the wardrobe. Because of the lighting, or panicked protagonists you never get a good enough look at what exactly the hell is going on. And it's brief.
So, in SH:Homecoming 'that thing that happened with the drill', that was just pure gore and in my humble opinion really didn't belong in SH. It kind of pissed me off. Still, at least in the other cases of 'the people that got killed', at least the game camera quickly cut away so that you couldn't see. But even then it still lacked subtlety and subtlety is what I like about the horror of Silent Hill. I fucking hate splatter movies/games, but love SH, that should say it all really.
Now, about subtlety
. Either I'm a fucking genius. I know too much about how SH games work. Or the clues about Alex's past and secret were way too unsubtle. But by the middle of the game I almost had it all worked out. Often I think I have it worked out and I'm completely wrong. This time however I was not far off being 100% right. ( Spoiler! Although anyone who likes SH has most likely finished it by now and anyone that doesn't probably isn't all that bothered! )
Also, in other SH games you don't need special killing techniques to down the monsters. Sure in other games needing techniques for certain bad guys is fun. But I think that is out of place in SH where the whole idea is that you're stuck in a fucking nightmare place and you're desperate to leave. You're not a fucking ninja. You're some poor guy looking for his lost daughter or wife. You just want to survive and get the fuck out and go home. Screw all that fancy combat shit, you just want to down the creature and move on. Combat techniques kind of take all that away.
That said, I still liked it. It is my third favourite of the series so far, after SH2 and SH4 The Room. I like that even with all the Order related stuff, the plot was self contained like SH2 and 4. I love SH, but I still think the whole cult thing is shit when its the main focus of the plot. It's no coincidence that my favourites of the series are SH2 and 4 where the cult is just there in the background mentioned in newspaper or magazine clippings. For all its faults Homecoming's story and protagonist kept me intrigued which is what really matters in a game like SH. As the game went on I grew as fond of Alex as I am of James, Heather and Henry, which I didn't expect.
Also, it was heavily influenced by the movie. The town dissolving to ash when you go to otherworld, the Order gasmask outfits, the barbed wire, the fire burning under the town. Next game please be ignoring the movie stuff please.
(Although... I have to say I do like the barbed wire.)