Daniel Licht
Silent Hill: Downpour Original Soundtrack


4.0
excellent

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (232 Reviews)
January 3rd, 2016 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Daniel Licht attempts to fill the shoes of giants.

The legacy that Team Silent left behind is insurmountable. Words really can't convey the importance of the art they created together. And that's exactly what their four games are. Art. Since the disbandment of Team Silent, Silent Hill games have left much to be desired; Western development has clearly shown we don't get what it's all about. But in spite of the games themselves ranging from awful to average, Akira Yamaoka remained through it all, being the last remaining member of Team Silent to oversee the decline created by third-party developers. Despite the lack of quality from the games, Akira brought an engaging score to each of the games, and was the dim ray of hope in what seemed like a trainwreck in motion. However, after Shattered Memories was released, Akira had decided he had done all he could for the franchise and wanted to move on to different projects. This left 2012's Downpour entirely in the hands of several different third-party developers, and without Akira composing the score for the game.

After Akira's departure from Konami, and the series, Daniel Licht was hired to compose the score for Silent Hill: Downpour. Daniel Licht is larely known for his work on the TV show Dexter, as well as various films like Hellraiser IV and Children of the Corn III. But the projects he has worked on, besides maybe Dexter, have hardly been A-list creative projects, and, as a composer, he goes unknown to most. This was a wise decision in my opinion, as it leaves out any preconceptions for as to where he'll take the score. Filling the shoes of such a beloved composer as Akira must have been a daunting task, and one would assume it wise just to imitate Akira.

As with the game itself though, Daniel takes a leap of faith and puts his own spin on things, creating a soundtrack that manages to hold some essence of Akira's sound and make a stamp of his own on it. This makes it feel like a natural and organic process that let's the ears feel at home with what you're used to, but at the same time sounds quite different to anything that has been previously done. Firstly, Downpour has been stripped of its rock influences, that have progressively become more prevalent since Silent Hill 2, and goes back to a sound more akin to the original game. Ambience is the order of the day: droning and repetitive structures with scuttling electronics; slow and atmospheric rhythms with melodic piano. It's a sound that has been well accustomed to the series, but still comes out very fresh and interesting.

The score lets the listener feel at ease with tracks like "Intro Perk Walk", a track that features all the hallmarks of a Silent Hill score: acoustic guitar tremolo picking, filled with melody and all the beats you'd expect from a Silent Hill soundtrack; as well as the industrial sprinkles of the ambient "Bus to Nowhere" and "Don't Go In The Basement" bringing all the fan pleasing elements needed to disturb the player. But the score throws in a few odd surprises along the way: "Meet PJ" and "Stalking for Dinner" sound like a mixture of depression and optimism mashed together -- tracks that sound like they belong in Dexter, but somehow works here.

It has to be said that while all this sounds too good to be true, there are a few mistakes made. While Downpour brings the right ingredients to cook a great horror soundtrack, the truth is, it doesn't feel scary or disturbing. Licht hits the same mistakes Akira made in later years, with a production too clean and well presented to put you on edge, and a large slab of Hollywood influence that makes the album feel like a cross between a movie and trying to deliver the goods to disturb the player. And it's this mistake that rears its ugly head more often these days -- something I feel disconnects the player a lot from the overall experience. He goes for the down and dirty approach of the original SIlent Hill score, but brings a more polished experience that in turn hurts its overall intention.

The most important thing about a Silent Hill score is its emotion. Though it is debatable that Akira's output has declined, albeit at a lot slower rate than what the games have, his soundtracks have always maintained a melancholy that few composers possess -- always bringing pure emotion to every track he makes. And this is something fan's worried about the most. How could anyone bring that level of melancholy and emotion to a game that thrives off it the most" To Licht's credit he smashes the pressure into the ground and brings a score to the table that proudly stands tall next to Akira's works. Though the production does little to help it, Licht's ideas are the refreshing injection the series needed, and is a score the man himself should be very proud of.

Excellent.

Packaging: Standard jewel case.
Special Edition: N/A



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 3rd 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As always, constructive criticsm welcome, guy's.

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

Archelirion
January 3rd 2016


5639 Comments


'...third-party delvelopers.' - small typo on developers, first paragraph. Regardless, bloody amazing review dude, an easy pos. Kinda wanna go listen to this now, though I never played the game.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 3rd 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks a lot Arche. Yeah, most let the game slip by, but I loved it. I regularly go back to it. Soundtrack was surprisingly great though, which was my biggest surprise.

Tunaboy45
January 3rd 2016


16702 Comments


Just a reminder- we're probably never gonna get Silent Hills.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 3rd 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Id change probably to never. Although, kojima has made new production company and has said he'd love to work with del toro still. So we might get a horror game without the silent hill name. Which is fine by me!

Tunaboy45
January 3rd 2016


16702 Comments


The PT basically had nothing to do with the series anyway so if they wanted to make a similar game with a different name that's great.

CicatrizESP
January 3rd 2016


12 Comments


nice. great game, think i enjoyed homecoming better though

Hopelust
January 3rd 2016


3348 Comments


"Just a reminder- we're probably never gonna get Silent Hills."

Way to pour salt in old wounds, tunaboy.


insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2016


4720 Comments


Great review! I must admit I haven't played Silent Hill after The Room. That one was good, but since then it's all downhill

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Crucible

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers insomniac. Yeah, the room was the last great silent hill game. But downpour is certainly the best game to come out of the non team silent games imo

DinosaurJones
January 4th 2016


10031 Comments


I didn't really enjoy Downpour very much. I had a lot of issues with its pacing, not to mention tons of hardware issues like screen tearing and lag. But the soundtrack was pretty ace.

And damn, PT will now go down in history as one of the biggest cock teases ever.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's technical flaws made it really bitter sweet for me. But just the fact it didn't have pyramid head in it made it winner be default.

Anthracks
January 4th 2016


6267 Comments


Wait, how do you know they went downhill if you never played after The Room?

DinosaurJones
January 4th 2016


10031 Comments


It definitely had potential. Some of the sidequests were more compelling than the main story, IMO.

I just didn't like how some huge monumental thing would happen, then you'd be puked back out onto the streets and be forced to wander around for 15-20 minutes before anything else even happened. It really killed the momentum for me several times throughout the game, especially after the orphanage

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually loved the free-roaming aspect of the game; I thought that was what made it stand out from the rest. It worked really well (this is coming from someone who thought the free-roam idea was a terrible gimmick when the game was in development), and as you say, the side quests were great. The only thing that really let it down was the terrible monster design and the technical issues, frame rate etc. But the fact it actually tried to be its own game, rather than a tie in with the film or some bullshit with pyramid head, meant it was easily the best third-party developed game.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The only other problem I had with it was it wasn't scary. But then, anything past the room wasn't either.

DinosaurJones
January 4th 2016


10031 Comments


I agree that it wasn't really scary. Even though it wasn't my favorite game, it still had some awesome moments.

The Mine Cart Ride and the stage in the Orphanage come to mind, particularly.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
January 4th 2016


15079 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, a lot of people didn't like how long it took to get to silent hill either, but I thought that was a nice touch too. Favourite side mission was the murder one where you have to play the record player backwards; I thought that was pretty creepy.

ConcubinaryCode
January 4th 2016


4473 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably the best aspect of the game was the soundtrack. The series needs to be laid to rest now.

DinosaurJones
January 4th 2016


10031 Comments


I still need the new Kojima Productions to make something from PT though. Even if it isn't a Silent Hill game (which it wouldn't be, since Konami still owns the IP) I NEED something to come from that.



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