Silent Hill Downpour

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The genre of horror has a fascinating place in the history of entertainment. Universal themes can be traced from the very beginnings of human fears to those of the present; from the depictions of suffering in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, to the terrors of the seemingly never-ending succession of Saw films.

The video games industry is no stranger to horror either, and Silent Hill is one of its most successful franchises. The latest outing, Silent Hill: Downpour, goes back to the basics that made the series such a success – eschewing high-octane action for old school survival horror.

You play as the convicted felon Murphy Pendleton who, en route to prison, sees his prisoner transport bus crash and steals the opportunity to make a break for it. Unfortunately the hapless hero has crashed near the freaky village of Silent Hill and has to negotiate its many perils to find freedom.

The early levels play out in a linear way with a hair-raising trip through an abandoned mine shaft before you are deposited into a quasi-open world of foggy streets where you can choose side missions if you wish to take a break from the main thrust of the story.

The game is not without its flaws – some of the graphics can look a little jerky, even though the overall art direction is quite beautiful. Equally the combat can feel like a bit of a button masher. But the mix of exploration, puzzles and pure terror as you run from evil beasties just works. And when the downpours of the title arrive and you find yourself holed up in some dark corner while the world is overrun by hideous creatures, you will feel yourself returning to that fundamental place good horror has been sending people to for years.

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Publisher: Konami
Format/s: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Age rating: 18+
Price: £44.99

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