Silent Hill: Homecoming is the sort of game that will genuinely scare horror fans.
In the mood to jump out of your skin with fright? If you enjoy strolling the gritty alleys of the dark side of gaming, Silent Hill has long been a destination of choice despite an uneven entry or two.
Sadly, though Silent Hill: Homecoming boasts some genuinely intense moments of dread, its equally distressing gameplay flaws will take a big bite out of your enjoyment.
I'm lying on a stretcher, and someone's wheeling me down a hallway in a disused hospital that must double as a whistle stop on the route to hell, and I can't help but think how I saw a more horrifying version of the same scene in Jacob's Ladder almost twenty years ago. The line between homage and plagiarism might seem thin, but Silent Hill: Homecoming makes no apparent effort to put a new spin on things. Horror aficionados will see every plot development coming from a mile away and it's hard to get excited about a story that's content to lurch from one cliched plot twist to another.
But while Silent Hill: Homecoming may lack in the story department, it makes up for it by creating an incredibly unsettling sense of mood and atmosphere. The upgraded visuals bestow a filmic quality to everything and the world's eerie transformations look better than ever. The audio, a series hallmark, is also amazing, setting the whole world alive with the slavering of monsters, the clattering of bumped obstacles, and unsettling ambient drones that seem to come from inside your own head.
Silent Hill: Homecoming's haunting sound design is an oppressive din that made me surprisingly uneasy without every actually getting on my nerves.
I lost track of the number of times I found myself perched on the edge of a couch cushion, desperate to discern whether a sound was a harbinger of danger or an artifact of Alex's addled mind.
Your pistol can drop most foes from a distance, but ammo is usually hard to come by, so you're better off saving it for more fearsome opponents.
NEXT PAGE: streets of rage
Get free games downloads. Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum