Another sequel, another developer: this time, Silent Hill's ended up in the hands of Vatra Games, a studio based in the Czech Republic. Surprisingly, the team hasn't done that badly in capturing that distinctive air of festering Americana that the series requires, setting this strange tale of escaped convicts and dark deeds in a convincingly backwoods world built from derelict diners and menacing police cruisers. Silent Hill: Downpour looks like a Norman Rockwell painting created while the artist was feeling a bit glum about things: the town hall is barricaded shut and there are smoking potholes riddling main street. Konami's queasy franchise always put me in mind of a cockroach skittering over a drugstore soda counter. It still does.
The story's not bad, either - or at least, it's enthusiastically told. Murphy Pendleton has a name that makes him sound like a kind of shoe (I appreciate that I made this point in a preview, but I haven't yet tired of it) and a face that suggests the presence of a young, smouldering Ted Danson. When the game begins, he's being moved between prisons after shivving a fatty in the shower room. Frankly, it's a mistake we've all made at times, and there are mitigating circumstances here, anyway: the incident was part of a combat tutorial.
That said, there are serious questions hanging over Mr Pendleton as you head into the early stages of Downpour. Who is this guy? What did he do to get banged up? What became of his family? Did their names mean that they all sounded like shoes, too?