There is a point to this opening, but I'll come back to it later.
For me, the Silent Hill series has been a hate/love affair. I played a demo of the first game when I was six years old, I played through the school section and it gave me nightmares. It also gave me an irrational fear of buildings at night. I got into the series when I played SH1 again in 2011, and I fell in love. The story, atmosphere, music, just everything was perfect. It was something I had never experienced in my then eleven years of gaming (I was fourteen at the time).
I played through every subsequent entry after that, and I fell in love even more. I eventually found out that a new game in the series was being developed under the codename of Silent Hill 8, later becoming Silent Hill Downpour. I remember rushing out of school on the day it came out. I picked up the game along with the HD Collection, and quickly rushed back to my house. I put the game in, sat back, and watched the intro. I knew I was in for an interesting experience. Two weeks later, I was still playing.
Downpour follows the story of Murphy Pendleton, a convict at Ryall State Prison who is being transferred to Wayside Maximum Pentientiary due to his history there. The bus transporting the convicts crashes outside Silent Hill, and so begins Murphy's journey of acceptance and redemption. Downpour's storyline is well-written and engaging. Murphy is a very sympathetic character, you really feel for the guy when you find what happened to him, and why he ended up in prison. David Boyd Konrad does a fantastic job at bringing this character to life, and this helps make us connect with Murphy even more.
The supporting characters are also very well-written with my favorite being Frank Coleridge, a prison officer who develops a friendship with Murphy and does his best to help him secure his release by recommending him to the prison parole board. He is very well voiced by Leer Leary.
Weather plays an important part in Downpour (considering the name, I think that's obvious). Heavy downpours will occur at random moments which will increase the number of monsters in the area, and make them more aggressive. This really makes the game more tense, knowing that at any moment, it could rain and bring the monsters out in groups.
Side Quests make a welcome addition in Downpour. Throughout the town, you will find notes, documents and buildings to enter that will initiate side quests. Some of the Side Quests contain some of my favorite moments in the game, and one even got to me on a deep, personal level. You get some pretty nice rewards for completing these so they're worth doing.
Downpour features some of the best licensed music I have heard in a game. Silent Hill still has a functioning radio station and you can listen to it by turning on any of the radios you find throughout the town. The songs do a great job of acting as a metaphor, and they connect very well to the story. (I wanted a Lover, I needed a Friend by The Coals is easily the best one in my opinion.) There's even a few apperances by Silent Hill's Greatest Hits.
I adore the atmosphere in Downpour. That feeling of loneliness and isolation is beautifully crafted, thanks to the excellent sound design and art style. Walking through the forests leading into Silent Hill is one of the most peaceful yet tense experiences I have ever had in a game.
I could go on and on about makes Downpour amazing but the bottom line is that I love the game. I love it. Remember at the start of the article, I talked about how Singin' in the Rain wowed me and stayed in my mind. Downpour gave me that feeling as well, and it has never let go.
Now if only Murphy Pendleton could have an umbrella and bowler hat...