In a nutshell; they injected the game with some ideas I ultimately thought gave the staling series a much needed shot in the arm.
@Spong No please, I'm all ears. How exactly did Vatra get it right with DP?
If anything, during Downpour's development, I was the classic picture of a self-entitled Team Silent fan. Every bit of news I read about the game depressed me more & more. Combat like 0rigins? 0rigins' combat was shit. A new take on the Otherworld? Shattered Memories did that and it was beyond shit. A random character seemingly being dragged into the town just because of their emotional baggage? Pretty much every game since The Room has done that to death. No Akira doing the soundtrack? Jesus, could the game sound any worse? But I was wrong, everything I doubted and bitched about before release I ended up actually enjoying. Apart from the technicalities, the problems with the framerate and the shonky saving/loading, there's nothing about Downpour that I personally find worse than any other SH game I've played.
The combat is fine for me, it's certainly a damn sight more realistic than storing four portable TVs in your padded jacket like 0rigins. But I also find it's better than the comedy whack-a-mole scenarios in games like SH1/2/3/4, and it beats the shit out of the pot luck melee combat in Homecoming. I genuinely shat myself during some surprise encounters, I haven't had that in a Silent Hill game since running into spirits in The Room. The weapon system gave a sense of rising panic almost all the time, worrying about a chair shattering and leaving me with nothing but a piece of pointed chair leg was great, and it added to that sense of security & relief when I stumbled across a firearm. Excluding 0rigins (which fucked it up anyway), I never worried about weapons at all before in a Silent Hill.
I can't really go on about the story without getting bogged down in people's individual interpretations. What I see in Downpour probably isn't what others see, and I can't say I'm right and they're wrong. If you don't like the story, you don't like the story and there's nothing anyone can really say to change your mind. Downpour's story does its job for me, it even makes the town itself a character, something I feel no other game has really done. This is the first game where I genuinely got lost constantly during my first playthrough, the place felt so large and actually felt like a map rather than just another section of corridor painted to look like a street (like the other games do). All the sidequests gave the town so much more depth and it helped flesh out the new idea that the place was almost like a holding cell, full of people running from their own personal demons & executioners who occasionally interacted with each other.
So yeah, Downpour does it for me. The only thing I'll concede is that I might've been a bit more eager to be pleased, but the blame for that lies with the flood of dreck that was Homecoming & Shattered Memories. If they hadn't been so terrible, I might've been more particular about Downpour. The only thing I can point at and say flat out that I don't like is the Devil's Pit section at the start. I think it's way too long.
Edited by Spong at 16:58:19 06-10-2013