Silent Hill Homecoming- First Playthrough Thoughts Part 3: Dying in the Nightmare, up until the point where the game became uncompletable, then crashes

Once killed by pyramid head in the Nightmare, Alex awakens in the passenger seat of a truck driven by Travis Grady. Travis is the protagonist of Silent Hill Origins, however I have not played it. It is an interesting cameo; although I am not sure what the point is. The point could be something entirely lost on me due to the fact I haven’t played Origins, which I suppose is fair enough. At any rate, Travis drops off Alex at the entrance to the town of Shepard’s Glen. According to the map, Toluca Lake borders the northeast section of the town, which would place Shepard’s Glen only miles away from Silent Hill, in turn explaining how the supernatural things that are about to happen, occur. As soon as I started traveling the street, I noticed I was still equipped with the dagger collected in the tutorial. It was at this point where I opened up my inventory, and noticed that the health pack and remaining health drink I had collected in the tutorial were still in my inventory. I don’t know if this is because they didn’t want to remove item from the player, or if this is meant to imply that the Nightmare is just as real as the rest of the game. Silent Hill games always take place in some sort of quasi-reality, but the line here is especially blurred.

Upon walking 20 feet down the street, we are interrupted by another cutscene. Judge Holland welcomes Alex back home, telling him something or other about his mother.  I accidentally skipped this scene the first time; I hit start with the intention of increasing the voice volume, as it seemed to have decreased after exiting the first level. This skipped the movie however, unlike the in-game scenes where start paused the game and opened the options menu as expected. Its always possible that the dialogue could become foreshadow future events, but otherwise it was dull .Down the street from where we meet Holland, we find Alex’s house, and make our way inside.

The inside of Alex’ house is so far the most interesting part of the game, and he offers insight into the various trinkets and pieces of furniture in the house. There are plenty of things that can not be examined, but the effort was clearly spent in making the house seem like a real place that actual people might live in, as opposed to simply a box to run through on the way to the next part of the game. Particularly, Joshua’s and Alex’ bedroom has plenty of flavor text.

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On the lower part of the bunkbed, we find the flashlight (which for some reason is not carried over from the Nightmare, unlike the healing items and the dagger). The decision to have the player recollect the flashlight was obviously done to facilitate the flashback in which Alex gives it to Joshua, in case Joshua suffers more nightmares.

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It looks like an inhaler.

I like the scene in theory, but the decision to carry over all of the player’s equipment, but not the flashlight, makes it harder discern what is real and what is not. Reality vs unreality has always been a concept in the series; however I find it more likely that the decision was made to recollect the flashlight as an excuse to show this scene, without thinking of the ramifications of this, rather than as a way to blur the line between reality and unreality.

Once we have obtained the flashlight, investigating the bookshelf reveals that there is apparently something odd about it. We are then presented with the first puzzle of the game, although the term puzzle applies somewhat loosely. The solution to the puzzle is simply to move all the books to the left of the screen, revealing a switch that causes the bookshelf to swing open, thereby revealing a secret room containing a hand drawn map of the house. Two other points of interest in the room are: the display case of bugs20170430150733_1

(Joshua is not the first child in a Hill game to have an affinity for bugs, but I am not quite sure if this is significant or not. Additionally, it reminds me of the puzzle from the Resident Evil Remake)

as well as the picture on the desk20170430150816_1

I am sure that this is significant in some sort of symoblic/thematic sense, but I will have to progress in the story to be sure. In addition to the picture that doesn’t have Alex in it, there are several missing pictures within the house:

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I hope we will return to the house later, and these pictures will be present to expand the themes and symbolism the series is known for.

After collecting the somewhat useless map, attempting to head down the stairs begins another cutscene, in which Alex notices a trail of water on the first floor.

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(I thought that this was blue slime when I first saw it; it did not register with me that this was water until we enter the basement.)

The trail of water leads from the basement to the living room, where Alex’ mother has appeared. She seems unwell, and Alex heads to the basement to find out what is going on in the house. The basement is flooded with thigh deep water, and Alex is attacked by a monster. Defeating the monster, players will find the water pump and the garage door remote. The pump requires fuel from the garage, so its time to head back outside. The second door in the basement is locked, containing some manor of secret hidden by Alex father. Outside, opening the garage door will free another monster to attack Alex. Once inside the garage, the steel pipe is plainly visible, serving as a new weapon for the player to take advantage of. I think. Currently, I haven’t actually been able to use it. When I first picked it up, I opened my inventory, only to discover the pipe was missing. I was willing to forgo the pipe due to the fact that I still had the knife to fall back on, but the fuel required to activate the pump is blocked behind a grate, requiring the pipe to pry open.

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Having encountered my first glitch of the game, I alt+tabbed out, in the hopes of finding answers on the internet. However, attempting to alt+tab the game causes it to crash, which meant my progress from the hole mentioned in the previous post, up to the Shepard garage had been lost. It is admittedly not a terribly long stretch of gameplay to have to redo, but it is certainly frustrating. My only guess as to why the pipe disappeared is that I opened the inventory too quickly, causing the opening of the inventory to interrupt the game placing it in. I tried to reproduce the glitch, and was successful on the first attempt to do so.

20170430151224_1(The yellow overlay of the inventory screen makes it difficult to discern, but Alex is currently standing in front of a workbench. The pipe is missing, as it was already collected; the inventory screen, however, only shows the Old Revolver in the center wheel, along with health to the left and healing items to the right.)

I see a few possibilities with this situation: 1) I have correctly identified the cause of the glitch 2) I have not correctly identified the cause, and merely was lucky a second time 3) The pipe is not supposed to be added to the inventory screen, and I have completely lost my marbles failing to figure out an extremely simple task (opening the grate). I believe option 1 is the correct choice, and that when I replay this part, not opening the menu too quickly will cause the pipe to appear in the inventory as expected.  I am not even mad that this happened because it is such a dumb problem that I never would have expected it. Hopefully the game doesn’t break like this in the future, but I guess I have jinxed it now. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next time.

Edit: Apparently it was option 3. There is a seperate weapon tab. I figured it would work the same way as every other Silent Hill game, weapons are added to the equipment tab. 

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