Sunday, November 9, 2008

I am totally done with Silent Hill 5

When I say "Silent Hill 5", I mean the "Homecoming" game that just shipped. And when I say "totally done", I mean that I got a third of the way in and I'm stuck.

It's the police station. There are about eight of the axe-headed bastards between me and the exit. I can generally kill about five of them. Seven if I'm lucky. I have essentially no health at the save-point -- burned it all on the previous boss monster -- and there isn't enough in the game to be getting on with. I just failed to make it through, four times in a row. So I'm done.

(As per my usual rule for video game series, if I can't finish a game, I'm not interested in the sequel. Devil May Cry, I'm looking straight at you. Also Onimusha, next time one of those comes out.)

So tell me: why is there no Easy Mode in SH5? All the previous games, you could choose Easy as an option (for the combat, I'm not talking about the puzzles). There was a well-understood penalty for wimps: you couldn't get all of the variant plot endings, not without going back through the game on the higher difficulty modes. But in this game, your choices are Normal and Hard.

I played the four previous games in Easy Mode. I enjoyed them. I was happy with the endings I got. I was a fan of the series. With this new game, the designers seem to have decided that I was not enough of a fan, because they threw me off the bus.

Some games have adaptive difficulty. If SH5 does, I'm not feeling it. Some games offer you an Easy option after you've gotten your ass kicked a few times. SH5 doesn't -- at least, it hasn't happened to me, and the walkthroughs I found on the web don't mention it.

So who benefits from this? Were there people posting all over the gaming community, lamenting that the Wrong Kind of People were playing their precious survival horror game? Did people regret succumbing to temptation? I understand well the attraction of the dull path -- this comes up in adventure game design all the time, albeit with puzzle-solving skills rather than button-mashing. Players will take the easy way out, be it brute force or infinite health, and then complain that it made the game no fun. I get that.

But this isn't a new format. Anyone who is interested in this thing is probably satisfied with the original game model -- at least enough to have bought SH2, 3, and 4. It's not like there was a tide of hardcore gamers waiting to rush in as soon as Easy Mode was deleted.

Or was there?

Answers, tips, and infinite-health cheats welcome.


Over the years this post has become a comment magnet for people complaining about Silent Hill 5. It's a bit silly now, eight years later. The designers have long since moved on, and the franchise itself has come to a halt -- it has entered the realm of remake-reboot-or-reimagining.

(I thought "Shattered Memories" was great, speaking of.)

Anyway, there's no point adding more complaints now. I have turned off the comment thread on this post. Unfortunately that means the old comments are now invisible -- sorry.

Comments imported from Gameshelf

Karl von L. (Nov 9, 2008 at 5:05 PM):

Apparently, SH5 was not done by the same people who did the originals. You might appreciate the Zero Punctuation review:

Andrew Plotkin (Nov 9, 2008 at 8:57 PM):

Oh, I always appreciate ZP, and thanks for reminding me about this one -- I'd deliberately put off watching it until I played the game.

Hat Boy mentions the heavier combat focus in offhandedly approving terms. I think I disagree with that, even aside from the removal of the "Easy" option. Combat in the earlier games was panicked and desperate and clumsy, without actually being very challenging. You had to be careful, and that fit into the game model. In this one, you have to be careful and skillful both. The "skillful" pushes it more towards being a regular action game.

But the review makes me feel better about missing the two-thirds of the game that I missed.

Joe G. (Jan 7, 2009 at 2:39 PM):

I know what you're saying man. The police station is always a pain in the part where the Schism's attack you. I was stuck on that part for hours until I figured out I didn't have to kill any of them. Just hack the wooden barricade down (there's a health pack in the bathroom and another one over the window). Then run down the hallway to the right and duck under the side of the wall. There'll be 2 more Schism's in there but you can run from them too, break down the wooden barricade, and go down the hall. Hit the switch (where another schism lays in wait), and escape out the door. You don't have to kill any of them. Hope this helps =D

Andrew Plotkin (Jan 7, 2009 at 8:43 PM):

Thank you, but I really don't feel like getting back to it. My play style is "kill everything and then search thoroughly", and I wouldn't enjoy the game much if I felt like any chapter could turn into a slaughterfest that I'd have to run away from.

Chris Pearce (Apr 3, 2010 at 8:21 AM):

I have this very same problem :( In the police station one keeps sneeking up on me, I got past them once using all of my shotgun ammo, and guess what? you end up needing them staight after the police station -.- so I died... :L and I'm still stuck on the very same place :L I found the game reasonably easy until now :L, although I did have a little trouble in the lifts in the apartment block :L

and choosing to drop easy mode?? :( I have never been a really competative super insane difficulty gamer :L, I play games for the stories and what not, I absolutly love the silent hill franchise, don't get me wrong I am most definatly not turned off by Homecoming not at all... But droping easy mode? well that sucked :L soo yeahh I'd also welcome any heath cheats or strategies :L Over all loving the game!.

jessica (Oct 30, 2010 at 12:40 AM):

i agree with all you. i got halfway into the game when i got my stuff deleted from someone gettin mad at me and new all the time i was scared shitless from it. i hate how it dont have easy. i play for the storys too and not tryin to do it as hard as i can. im obsessed with all the silent hill games up until now. this game really made me gave up on them. i would love to play but i already new how hard it was that first time and dread redoing it all over again. i really wished they would give you a cheat option for people who like just to play for the story and want to take the easy way out. i still think the games are super fun even when u cant die. has anyone found any cheat codes for this game. i know its been long time since anyone has posted on this so im preying someone reads this. lol thanks whoever has takin there time to read my post~

Ed (Nov 6, 2010 at 11:40 PM):

2+ years later, I stumble on this...

Yeah, anther lost soul who may never finish SH5/Homecoming. Last I tried (when the game was new), I made it to the jail area and then ran into a part where you get swarmed by needlers, couldn't make it past no matter how hard I tried. And of course I was already running low on Health Drinks and First Aid Kits at that point.

Frustrating. And, mind you, I had completed Silent Hills 2-4 (4 being "The Room") on Normal mode, without having to revert to the now absent "Easy Mode."

So it's finally time to try Homecoming again.

I just made it past "Scarlet" (the giant doll that JUST... REFUSES... TO... DIE!!!), am at roughly 50% health and am down to one precious First Aid Kit.

The dodge system confounds me, and I swear is flaky. Seems I get hit sometimes even when I successfully dodge. But others have made it through this game, so... Must be something I'm just not getting, right? Hmmm.

Oh, well. Guess I'm just screwed. Thanks, just wanted to vent.

Kitty-Nakajima (Aug 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM):

Police station. Run back into the office you came from before chopping the boards off the passage. The glass will break. They will come. Run back to the office. Go behind the right side of the desk. seven of them in total will com in eventually. The will only attack on direct line of sight. You can attack of angle with the axe as you slowly move around the desk. You can do this without a hit. Thank you for your time.

CoolNoob1231 (Dec 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM):

when you hack the woods that is stuck on the door you will find these axe-headed bastards coming one by one . So what you need to do is to run quickly and escape i dont remember but there is a place that you sqeez in and then you will find a smaal hole that you have to go under it then you will find two of these monsters again but unfortunatly the only way to escape is that you will find a door that needs hacking by the hatchet so you need to kill these two monsters first if you want to leave alive

Aaron (May 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM):

Glad I ran into your post. I'm feeling this pain right now and am likely not going to finish the game either. I think the game suffers from a few related problems. One is that it really is too hard and probably doesn't have adaptive difficulty. The issue then is that if you dodge the enemies instead of fighting them, you have a good chance of missing important health and ammo, which in turn makes it even more difficult. There are just too many better and smarter designed games out there for me to want to spend time going through this one.

If the other SH in the series are smarter designed, I'd come back to the series, but I'd be looking to check for adaptive difficulty from now on.

AadrianBrennen (Jun 8, 2012 at 2:15 PM):

I am honestly surprised that no one has mentioned the boss Scarlet on the level Hell Decent, that porcelain bitch was fucking hard, took me 15+ times to beat her with only one serum, and i'm still struggling to find health because she almost killed me. This gave definitely lacks health, I would say that this is it's biggest downfall.

Doug (Jul 20, 2012 at 4:01 AM):

LISTEN! I don't HAVE a serum. I'm also not particularly happy to hear that, even if I do somehow find the HOURS to kill Scarlett, that there won't be any health items available. Nice. Like the police station wasn't enough. And what's with having to sit through the good Doctor's ramblings time after time after time? Anyone ever play Siren? Don't. How do they test these games anyway? Granted, a good game is fun when it's challenging. It's fun if there's a little luck involved. But this is stupid.

Reaper (Sep 8, 2012 at 6:59 PM):

Look dude, I've played through the games a couple times and you got one thing wrong, not all the SH games had easy difficulty setting. I'm not gonna sit here and call you whinny bitch but what I am gonna do is say that you should give it another try. Its really not that hard. One thing about SH is its like Resident Evil in some ways, trying just running past them dude. You dont have to kill everything and honestly you'll save more ammo that way. If that doesnt work then I'll try to give you some other advice but the game is a really good game. Maybe not the best, but its worth the money and time.

Andrew Plotkin (Sep 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM):

"I'm not gonna sit here and call you whinny bitch"

I believe the correct term is "mare".

geofre (Mar 9, 2013 at 11:07 PM):

I made it past the police station by dodging the needlers except the 2 in the room before the hall to the garage. They will attack you while you are chopping down the door. This whole time I have almost no health. Made it through most of the sewers the same way: run/avoid/heavy ammo when needed. No health refills anywhere. Now I am in the main drain chamber and you CAN'T get past this part of the game without taking on 3 needlers followed by a siam and it's just too much. I refused to give up as I have completed several SH games and am a huge fan of them. If I had more health potions or whatever I may even be able to get past this stage, but as it stands, there is no way I can proceed in the game.

Nick Barkley (Apr 30, 2013 at 2:05 PM):

I know this is many years later but I am having similar issues. I was able to get past the police station, but the addition of the police station on top of the sewers drained 3 of my health drinks. Now I am stuck at 40% health, 1 health drink, and 1 serum going into the boss battle with Scarlet. I am able to finally get her into her "spider mode" but after I find myself unable to beat her. I agree, the other Silent Hill's were much easier, and I have never faced a boss battle as hard as Scarlet in any of the previous Silent Hills I have played.

Joyce (Dec 9, 2013 at 3:29 AM):

The low number of health items killed me. I got through the sewer with half bar only ( multiple, controller almost flying moments) even with the cheap as all get out angles and lighting. So I'm down at scarlet, no recovery item, and I almost have her, but from what I gathered, I'm probably never going to be able to stock enough recovery items, and it will be a miserable chore replaying the whole thing with more skill to stock items. Last SH game I will be wasting money on. :/ I love the story and atmosphere, but it's not experiencing the character's hell, it IS being in hell trying to play this.

Faye (Sep 19, 2014 at 7:33 PM):

I just go through the police station, yeah it was difficult, I like died 6 times before I got smart. After axing the door run like bat out of hell. I passed the room they broke out of and duck under the hole in the wall and there are two schisms waiting, blast them with the pistol (each should take 2 to 4 bullets), ax the door and there is one more schism put few bullets in it, but save 4 shotgun shells for the Siam... it'll go down, then cut scene into the sewers. The sewers aren't as bad but there are a few needler in groups, few lurker, and Siam. I made it through the sewers with a 1/3 of health left. You'll have two ferals one on each side of the street and attack from both directions at the same time, easy kill. I am stuck on the boss fight of that creepy scarlet doll. No health drinks/serum, no shot gun/pistol ammo, so I am toast. I don't just want to give up.

Tminus (Aug 20, 2015 at 9:54 PM):

glad I found this thread. I was already fearing that I didnt have enough items going into the police station because I found it way too hard to get used to the chunky dodging that often propels me into corners and walls where I get pinned, and the awkward attacks where I swing in the direction of the creatures but the character just whiffs at the air in front of him.

After reading this, at least I know that it just gets worse and more frustrating from here so I am going to go take out my rage on some dumb gangsters in saints row or gta...

Naomi Braѕwell (Jan 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM):

I enjoyed тнe Sιlenт Hιll PlaySтaтιon gaмeѕ - тнere were alwayѕ an EASY opтιon, υnтιl PS3 Sιlenт Hιll Hoмecoмιng! I agree тнere SHOILD вe an EASY play opтιon. In мy opιnιon тнe ѕo-called NORMAL opтιon playѕ lιĸe a HARD opтιon. Tнιѕ gaмe doeѕ NOT have enoυgн ѕυpplιeѕ oғғered: In тнe prevιoυѕ Sιlenт Hιll gaмeѕ, тнere were ѕeveral нealтн drιnĸѕ and мed ĸιтѕ avaιlaвle. By тнe тιмe I enтered тнe нoтel and wenт тo тнe 4тн ғloor, тнere waѕ no нealтн drιnĸѕ or мedιa ĸιтѕ leғт ιn мy ιnvenтory! And тнere were no вυlleтѕ eιтнer? Wнoever worĸed on тнιѕ gaмe creaтιng ιт, dιd a loυѕy joв. I aм glad, нowever, тнaт I вoυgнт тнιѕ gaмe recenтly (new) and dιd noт pay $60.00 ғor ιт.

Domnaral (Jun 4, 2016 at 12:05 PM):

So there is someone who actually finished the game?! Anyway, I'm glad to know that SH Homecoming was a pain for many other people, too. I'm stuck in the police station and I'm seriously thinking of dropping the game, which I would hate to as not finishing videogames is against my principles, but this time I'm really pissed off by how insanely hard is not to die every single time an enemy shows up. And it's not a matter of being patient and try a couple of times; I've literally done this part over 20 times and I still can't get rid of those axe-headed bastards. I feel like a noob, it's so frustrating. I'm starting to hate this game for making me doubt of my gaming skills D: I mean, I've never thought I was that good but at least I thought I would be able to make it to the end of this freaking game :|

Andrey (Nov 14, 2016 at 8:26 PM):

Oh my god! I just tried to complete this level exactly 4 times in a row! So...first 3 times I just died because there are not enough health bottles left. So the fourth time I managed to beat it and went down to the sewers WHERE IT JUST CRASHED ON ME. Bloody stupid game. I will not continue this shit-parade of consumer's abuse. I will ask for a refund and will delete this abomination. To be honest I kinda started to like this game but this level ruined everything. Good to know I am not alone.

Andrew Plotkin (Nov 14, 2016 at 10:41 PM):

I do not hold with calling a game "consumer abuse" in situations like this. We're talking about design problems here. A game's design may be weak, or indeed terrible, but this is not a reason to go into a self-righteous fury.

This post is about a 2008 game. The designers are on to several cycles of "the next thing", if they are indeed still in the industry at all. I see this page has become a comment magnet, but there's no point to adding more of the same. I am therefore locking the thread.

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