Hell Descended

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Downpour Themes

Post by Hell Descended on Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:59 pm

Though the fanbase has its gulfs, I notice the trend that most people are very harsh towards/didn't like Homecoming. Homecoming is my favorite title in the franchise, so I'm sort of disappointed in that. What I didn't expect when it came out was that Downpour would be as well-received as it is. I considered Silent Hill to be one of the fandoms that had fallen into the "hate all new titles after a certain point, no matter the content" trench. What was more surprising is that I didn't like Downpour. Almost hate it.

I'm not alone in that, but there is one thing I've not noticed anyone, in the 4 years and 8 months since its release, bring up when criticizing Downpour: that it rips off Homecoming.

One of the sins Homecoming apparently commits is that it leans too heavily on other games, and to an extent that's true. What it didn't do is completely rip themes right out of them. With Downpour, two of the three major themes--death of children and water as the big basis--were lifted from Homecoming without so much as a hint of subtlety, and no one seems to have noticed. This is one of the most infuriating things I've ever seen from a fandom, given that I've seen twice as many people praise Downpour than I've ever seen praise Homecoming. :evil:

Ultimately, the other theme (revenge) isn't any better. I was present almost nonstop for RelyOnHorror's Halloween stream with several people involved in the process of making the Silent Hill games, and Tom Waltz was there; I didn't speak for most of that section. But I got to hear Waltz go at length about the major theme in Downpour, which is how revenge destroys people. And I just have to criticize that. If you want to teach the audience that revenge is bad, then it's probably not a good idea to make the object of the revenge a heinous pedophile who no player is ever going to regret beating the shit out of or giving a well-deserved death. Anne's side is better, but the main of it still suffers because Murphy is our player character. And plus, it's just a very flat message. "Revenge destroys you" is, to be frank, a lesson that has been proven wrong as many times as it's been proven right in real life, or more, and is just an overused theme that doesn't make for a very deep storyline. Pick literally any other message and run with it, please.

Thoughts?
 
 
 
 
 
 

clips7

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Post by clips7 on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:15 am

I can agree with some of what you stated as far as the revenge theme goes. Showing sympathy for a pedophile was not the way to garner that outcome. I think the story goes on to show that revenge is never the answer tho. TBH, i never thought the story in Downpour was it's strong suits. I never really saw how downpour ripped off Homecoming tho....most folks felt it stole concepts from SH2 in terms of the theme of water in relation to that game.

I mostly thought that Downpour was crafted a bit better overall than Homecoming....the game ran a bit smoother than Homecoming, better animations, the combat wasn't mechanical (as in pattern-based) and the overall atmosphere was better. The darkness was fully realized in dark places like the basements or dark hallways of buildings, while in homecoming the flashlight effect was barely there because of the blu-ish/gray pallet the game implemented.

I did like Alex character waaay more than Murphy tho....even when i got to the 3rd act in downpour there was nothing there that really made me care about Murphy's journey....I was at least a little invested in Alex simply because of how his reactions overall was just more natural when he was facing the horrors in his game.

I have to go with Otherworld's view in that I thought Downpour would have benefited greatly if there was an option to play Anne's story as well in terms of how RE2 had options to play as Leon and Claire in separate playthroughs or like the original RE with Chris and Jill.
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Hell Descended

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Post by Hell Descended on Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:15 am

clips7 wrote:I have to go with Otherworld's view in that I thought Downpour would have benefited greatly if there was an option to play Anne's story as well in terms of how RE2 had options to play as Leon and Claire in separate playthroughs or like the original RE with Chris and Jill.


Wasn't there originally going to be a function like that?

Eh, I would've just made Anne the playable character. It's been too long since we had a real female protagonist, and Anne's love for/desire for vengeance for her dad would've made a great callback to Heather in SH3.

clips7 wrote:I never really saw how downpour ripped off Homecoming tho....most folks felt it stole concepts from SH2 in terms of the theme of water in relation to that game.


SH2 didn't really have that much of a water theme on its own. The biggest point where it comes up is the In Water ending, where the important part is James committing suicide; and even that likely wouldn't be as big of a presence in fan minds if it weren't for creator feelings and hints in later games that In Water is the canon ending. In Homecoming, the theme is much more its own due to it being the method of sacrifice chosen for the protagonist. You could argue that it is a theme in SH2, but it would probably be pretty overshadowed by the sexuality and hospitalization themes present....which do also make their way into Homecoming and Downpour, I'll admit.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Royal Fizzbin

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Post by Royal Fizzbin on Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:47 am

Downpour really went after the water theme way more hot and heavy than Homecoming. Downpour used the reoccurring theme of water to somewhat better effect, especially in overall level design.

In Homecoming Alex spends most of his journey running through a world created by the failures of the founding families, he fights monsters born from the sins of other people. It’s not until the very end of the game that his story and personal monster comes to the fore. And even then I don’t recall water playing a huge role, aside from his cut scene memory. Otherwise, in level design water was merely present in the Shepherd’s flooded basement, the sewers, and the boat ride to Silent Hill. Although in the house basement Alex will remark on the canoe if you investigate it.

The world that Murphy traverses in Downpour generally feels more catered to him personally, and the reoccurring water theme played a tangible role in that.
 
 
 
 
 
 

HeatherMasonSH3

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Post by HeatherMasonSH3 on Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:25 pm

I never understood why water was significant in Downpour. That game lacked so much subtlely that it felt like an American spooky ghost story so it's deeper symbolism was lost on me.
 
 
 
 
 

Otherworld

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Post by Otherworld on Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:35 pm

clips7 wrote:I have to go with Otherworld's view in that I thought Downpour would have benefited greatly if there was an option to play Anne's story as well in terms of how RE2 had options to play as Leon and Claire in separate playthroughs or like the original RE with Chris and Jill.


That would have been great. Even a DLC would have been nice.

I really thought DP was put together so much better than HC.

DP's theme was more the consequence of revenge, and what you'd do/who you'd hurt to achieve it. As seen to what ultimately happens to Frank, and in Anne's comic, to what happened to her marriage. That's what the stories are about.

The Void IMO is a very good representation of revenge. I posted this a while ago.

The Void IMO seems to represent the emptiness in ones soul that has been consumed by revenge. It's existence is there as a reminder to Murphy that he cannot escape his past as the act of revenge will never fill the void in ones soul once you have chosen to carry it out. It becomes all consuming, without regard for anything/anyone that is indirectly or directly affected by it.

Falling along the lines of the theme of revenge in SH3 where the "void chase" originated.


I mean Napier is killed at the beginning of the game. So that part of the story is wrapped up rather quickly.

Hell Descended wrote:SH2 didn't really have that much of a water theme on its own. The biggest point where it comes up is the In Water ending, where the important part is James committing suicide; and even that likely wouldn't be as big of a presence in fan minds if it weren't for creator feelings and hints in later games that In Water is the canon ending. In Homecoming, the theme is much more its own due to it being the method of sacrifice chosen for the protagonist. You could argue that it is a theme in SH2, but it would probably be pretty overshadowed by the sexuality and hospitalization themes present....which do also make their way into Homecoming and Downpour, I'll admit.


I beg to differ here. In Water is just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, here is the title screen.

Image

The title is sitting over water.

The game starts off overlooking Toluca lake. Then we see this:

Image

The theme of water is prevalent in SH2. We have a very good thread on it seen here. http://silenthillcommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=436181&p=7642321&hilit=falling#p7642321

The hotel and bluecreek apartments have heavy water damage and the labyrinth is flooded. Oh and so is the hotel basement.

Image

Image

Image

Image

And then there's this...

Image

I am sure I have not listed all the references but needless to say, water has a massive amount of significance when it comes to SH2 and it's running themes.

The final boss battle plays out over water and it's raining. I have no problem with this theme being used in other games but make no mistake, water and water damage and it's symbolism/significance cannot be overlooked in Silent Hill 2.
Image
 
 
 
 
 

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Post by Purvakaddha on Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:04 pm

Hell Descended wrote:Eh, I would've just made Anne the playable character. It's been too long since we had a real female protagonist, and Anne's love for/desire for vengeance for her dad would've made a great callback to Heather in SH3.


This sounds great. I would have loved this. I think Murphy is interesting too, but the first prize goes to Anne.

And for me Downpour is better than Homecoming. Homecoming has great ideas but I feel it couldn't make them work properly. It would have been better if they concentrated in Alex's past and made the game more personal. And the combat is awful...
But I haven't finished the game so I may not be valid to say anything about it :mrgreen:
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Post by Hell Descended on Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:36 am

Otherworld wrote:
The Void IMO is a very good representation of revenge. I posted this a while ago.

The Void IMO seems to represent the emptiness in ones soul that has been consumed by revenge. It's existence is there as a reminder to Murphy that he cannot escape his past as the act of revenge will never fill the void in ones soul once you have chosen to carry it out. It becomes all consuming, without regard for anything/anyone that is indirectly or directly affected by it.

Falling along the lines of the theme of revenge in SH3 where the "void chase" originated.




I have to disagree heavily. Yes, the Void may represent revenge, and the other most common theme I've seen is overwhelming grief, both of which seem likely. However, it's simply too abstract. It's less a monster and more an environmental hazard--not that those can't be symbolic, but it loses points because for all intents and purposes, it may not even be intentionally trying to kill you. Because it is so abstract, (and because grief is the one I've seen much more discussed), the Void could easily represent any Silent Hill protagonist. It isn't tailored to Murphy at all, it's just exactly what it's called, a void. It's also kind of lazy. You could make a similar case for Walter's quest for his Mother, Heather's revenge for her dad, Dahlia's attempt to bring out God, or Holloway's method of appeasing the God for the broken pact: all of them are done with no thought towards stopping or slowing down and with no regard for whoever's in the way that gets hurt.

Royal Fizzbin wrote:
Downpour really went after the water theme way more hot and heavy than Homecoming. Downpour used the reoccurring theme of water to somewhat better effect, especially in overall level design.

In Homecoming Alex spends most of his journey running through a world created by the failures of the founding families, he fights monsters born from the sins of other people. It’s not until the very end of the game that his story and personal monster comes to the fore. And even then I don’t recall water playing a huge role, aside from his cut scene memory. Otherwise, in level design water was merely present in the Shepherd’s flooded basement, the sewers, and the boat ride to Silent Hill. Although in the house basement Alex will remark on the canoe if you investigate it.



Well, that's the thing: sometimes subtlety is a better approach than heavy-handedness. For all the gore and violence Homecoming throws in your face, its themes revolving around family and sacrifice are much more smoothly done. The water theme in Homecoming arises from the method of sacrifice chosen for the Shepherd family. There's the flooded basement, the sewers, and Toluca Water and Power in the same vein as SH2, as well as the water heard behind a door in the nightmare sequence and Joshua's drowning. None of it is incredibly overt, but it's always there. It's present as often or more than SH2, and done much more subtly than in Downpour, especially given that Charlie's being drowned in the lake is virtually Joshua drowning all over again.

I also want to address the Bogeyman with regard to that. I've heard him called "Not-Pyramid Head", and frankly I have to agree. While he's definitely a product of Murphy rather than Silent Hill, the whole Bogeyman rhyme and the overall purpose of him are still way too similar to Homecoming's iteration of Pyramid Head. In Homecoming, it was a new spin on a well-remembered, if overused, mascot. At this point it's just unashamedly copying. Not to mention becoming him for the final battle the same way Alex becomes the Bogeyman in one of his endings.

In all honesty I wouldn't even mind these things (although I'd probably still consider Downpour lazy) being pulled from past games if more people acknowledged it, rather than praising one game for the same thing they condemn another for.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Otherworld

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Post by Otherworld on Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:37 pm

Hell Descended wrote:
Otherworld wrote:
The Void IMO is a very good representation of revenge. I posted this a while ago.

The Void IMO seems to represent the emptiness in ones soul that has been consumed by revenge. It's existence is there as a reminder to Murphy that he cannot escape his past as the act of revenge will never fill the void in ones soul once you have chosen to carry it out. It becomes all consuming, without regard for anything/anyone that is indirectly or directly affected by it.

Falling along the lines of the theme of revenge in SH3 where the "void chase" originated.




I have to disagree heavily. Yes, the Void may represent revenge, and the other most common theme I've seen is overwhelming grief, both of which seem likely. However, it's simply too abstract. It's less a monster and more an environmental hazard--not that those can't be symbolic, but it loses points because for all intents and purposes, it may not even be intentionally trying to kill you. Because it is so abstract, (and because grief is the one I've seen much more discussed), the Void could easily represent any Silent Hill protagonist. It isn't tailored to Murphy at all, it's just exactly what it's called, a void. It's also kind of lazy. You could make a similar case for Walter's quest for his Mother, Heather's revenge for her dad, Dahlia's attempt to bring out God, or Holloway's method of appeasing the God for the broken pact: all of them are done with no thought towards stopping or slowing down and with no regard for whoever's in the way that gets hurt.


The theme of revenge and the void kind of go hand and hand in this universe. They both show up twice. It does not mean it is specifically tailored to Murphy at all. My view is as follows:
The Void IMO seems to represent the emptiness in ones soul that has been consumed by revenge.


It only shows up when revenge is the running theme in the story, and when we see it we know that it will kill you, so it seems like that's it's intent. The void is all consuming, just like revenge is.....
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Royal Fizzbin

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Post by Royal Fizzbin on Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:11 pm

Hell Descended wrote:Well, that's the thing: sometimes subtlety is a better approach than heavy-handedness. For all the gore and violence Homecoming throws in your face, its themes revolving around family and sacrifice are much more smoothly done. The water theme in Homecoming arises from the method of sacrifice chosen for the Shepherd family. There's the flooded basement, the sewers, and Toluca Water and Power in the same vein as SH2, as well as the water heard behind a door in the nightmare sequence and Joshua's drowning. None of it is incredibly overt, but it's always there. It's present as often or more than SH2, and done much more subtly than in Downpour, especially given that Charlie's being drowned in the lake is virtually Joshua drowning all over again.


Some perfectly valid opinions and interpretations of the games.

And love it or hate it, for better or worse, yes Downpour was way more overt with the water theme. They really ran with it. And of the things I might personally fault Homecoming for, it certainly would not be for how subtle or sparingly the game uses its water theme.

Hell Descended wrote:I also want to address the Bogeyman with regard to that. I've heard him called "Not-Pyramid Head", and frankly I have to agree. While he's definitely a product of Murphy rather than Silent Hill, the whole Bogeyman rhyme and the overall purpose of him are still way too similar to Homecoming's iteration of Pyramid Head. In Homecoming, it was a new spin on a well-remembered, if overused, mascot. At this point it's just unashamedly copying. Not to mention becoming him for the final battle the same way Alex becomes the Bogeyman in one of his endings.


Congratulations to the person who decided to not include Pyramid Head in Downpour. That nonsense needed to end. But I can agree that the bogeyman was not good either. His design felt like something that belonged in a RE game. SH, SH3, SH4, SHSM, none of these games have PH (or a PH like creature) and they are just fine without him. Unless it’s a remake of SH2, no more PH.

Hell Descended wrote:In all honesty I wouldn't even mind these things (although I'd probably still consider Downpour lazy) being pulled from past games if more people acknowledged it, rather than praising one game for the same thing they condemn another for.


Neither game would make it onto my masterpiece list. Both have flaws that are obvious under objective scrutiny. Both borrow from what came before. Although I’d contend that the narrative design in Homecoming feels like it borrows more heavily from the game it was trying to be like, than anything that Downpour borrowed from Homecoming. Even in the development of Homecoming it was confirmed that they were going for a story like SH2. Unfortunately, the end product felt somewhat like holding a polaroid of the Sistine Chapel, versus actually standing in the Sistine Chapel. But yeah, I'd agree that Downpour fell flat in areas as well.
 
 
 
 


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