Silent Hill Homecoming is the fifth installment into the Silent Hill franchise, and it's the first in the series to be developed by a Western developer. It's obvious that Double Helix was trying to remain true to the franchise in regards to atmosphere, but with more emphasis on action than horror, you can be in for a bit of a letdown.

You play as Alex. A recently relieved soldier who's searching for his little brother in his dreams. When you make it to your hometown, you immediately notice that something is terribly wrong. Your brother is actually missing, and it's up to you to find him. That's your motivation, and not much else.

The story of Silent Hill Homecoming isn't conventional Silent Hill. While still based around the same sort of idea which revolves around personal fears, it's like a streamlined version. It doesn't make you think as much as something like Silent Hill 2, and it's much less vague. Even with all of these potentially negative aspects, the story it tells is a solid one, and each of the multiple endings are entertaining to watch, as they're based on the choices you make during gameplay.

The graphical presentation of Silent Hill Homecoming is good. As you make your way down dreary hallways, broken down hotels, parks, cemeteries and corroded streets, you'll notice that while each area of the game remains atmospheric with it's visuals, they all have their own distinct styles. Textures are clear, the character models look good, the lighting is realistic and so on and so forth. It's just a good looking game. Also, the lip synching isn't nearly as bad as most reviews would have you believe. It's a bit odd looking, but realistic at the same time. Nothing to ever complain about.

Sound design is also done well, just as any other Silent Hill game. The music remains outstanding, and the hiss of your radio when a monster is nearby can still give you chills. Also, when you pick up items, you'll be able to hear the classic Silent Hill sound clip for picking up items. Like I said, it's obvious that Double Helix was trying to remain true to the franchise, but with graphics and sound out of the way, this is about where they lost their direction.

The gameplay in Silent Hill Homecoming isn't bad, it's just not Silent Hill. You have a map with an objective list, and it's up to you when it comes to where to go and what to search for, even though the game is linear and there are scripted events. It's a good balance, and keeps you motivated to do your own thing and explore as opposed to flying through it. However, you could fly through it without exploring at all. This is definitely more of a linear experience than previous Silent Hills, but to me, that's a good thing. I don't see linear as a bad word when it comes to gaming. I see it as a buzz word.

Going back to gameplay, the combat is good, but it's still not traditional Silent Hill. You can lock on to enemies, strafe around them and dodge their attacks. It's sort of like a dance. Just think Assassin's Creed's combat with a bit of a difficulty spike. While this works well from a gameplay standpoint, it doesn't exactly instill fear as much as Silent Hill usually does because you know you can take out almost any monster, creature or mutant standing in your path. If you have a gun, though, you really don't have to be afraid of anything. You can just blast any sort of enemy away with ease. Thankfully, though, ammo is very scarce, and health can be scarce if you're not the explorative type. But if you're not that type, don't even bother with this game. The whole thing is an adventure game with a strong focus on action. It actually makes for a good mix depending on what type of game suits you. I personally enjoyed it.

With all of this being said, this is definitely not a traditional Silent Hill game, but that doesn't make it bad. There's still enough atmosphere within it's presentation for it to be known as a Silent Hill game and to live up to it, though there are many changes. Even with these changes, I could definitely recommend this game; especially for the Halloween season. Silent Hill Homecoming is a welcome addition to the series, even with less emphasis on horror and more on action.

i give it 8.5