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Silent Hill Downpour: A new start with a new developer?

Life is better, down where it's wetter...

That title isn't quite official yet, so we're not entirely sure what the 'Downpour' bit refers to (we expect lots of rain, at the very least).

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But one thing's for sure - this appears to be a Silent Hill intent on returning to its roots. After a fine Wii experiment (Shattered Memories) and best-forgotten misfires like Silent Hill 4: The Room, it's long past time that Silent Hill returns to some kind of form, and it appears that Konami are betting on this eighth title in the series to be the game that does it.

OVER THE HILL
"Silent Hill remains true to the franchise's original roots," say Konami, and it will "appeal to fans of the early, classic Silent Hill series." A bold statement, and the selling points of the game hit traditional beats: it's a third-person affair wrapped in a "thought-provoking" storyline, and the strange and spooky town of Silent Hill will once again function as a dark mirror, reflecting the fears of the main character.

And who is the main character this time around? Well, rather than a seeming innocent caught up in a nightmarish new world, as has often been the case in prior Silent Hill games, this time you're (apparently) a bad man - a convicted prison inmate by the name of Murphy Pendleton.

When his prison transport crashes, Pendleton escapes his shackles and winds up in the titular sinister township where, no doubt, all sorts of horrible beasties await.

Taking a cue from Shattered Memories, it seems that the game's sidequests will change depending on your choices and style of play - and choosing whether to fight or flee seems to be an important decision to make in this new Silent Hill.

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Elsewhere, there'll be the usual smattering of puzzles and combat, where everyday items are used for fighting faceless denizens of the dark. Interestingly, the game's coming from the new and relatively untried Czech developer Vatra.

Let's hope they can bring a freshness to Silent Hill while staying true to the things that made it compelling in the first place; it's certainly looking the part, reminiscent of Alan Wake in terms of style. Fingers crossed it's as scary, eh?

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