Hey, Konami, Why Isn't There An 'Easy Mode' In 'Silent Hill: Homecoming'?

I have become more and more frustrated with "Silent Hill: Homecoming" in the days since I wrote a scares comparison to "Siren."

The combat in the new "Silent Hill" is more engaging than in previous games, but nonetheless frustratingly unwieldy. It becomes especially infuriating, given the game's lack of save points and med packs to patch your character up.

Eventually, I'd had enough of dying. I wanted to keep playing for the game's eerie atmosphere, but "normal" difficulty wasn't cutting it.

The problem? There is no "easy" mode!

Combat was hardly the focus in earlier "Silent Hill" games, and often times you could just run away and avoid most fight scenarios. If that wasn't enough, if you died enough times, the game opened up an "easy" difficulty. It allowed you to traverse "Silent Hill" without worry of a game over screen.

Given the lengths gone to imitate the "Silent Hill" style in "Homecoming," I expected this would be an option here, too. There is none. No matter how many times you die, there is no "easy" option. Maybe you need to start a brand-new game, I thought to myself on Sunday. Nope. There's only an option for "normal" and "hard." And to think I've seen complaints this game isn't hard enough!

At that point, I seriously thought about putting "Silent Hill" on the shelf for good. There are too many games that demand playing for me to be spending so much time forcing myself through this one. So I compromised. I loaded up a walkthrough for "Homecoming" and have it by my side at all times. The moment I'm unsure of what to do, I consult it and move on. I immediately ask for its advice on enemy and boss strategies. I'm attempting to finish "Homecoming" as quickly as possible, and this strategy seems to be working.

Is it spoiling some of the surprises along the way? Definitely. But it's allowing me to make progress in "Homecoming," something that wasn't easy going before I decided to play the game differently. If Konami and development studio Double Helix had simply allowed me to play how I'd wanted by nerfing the game's emphasis on combat, this wouldn't be necessary. But in order to finish the game, it is.

I'm also getting better at the game's combat system. It reminds me of how I felt when I played through "Metal Gear Solid 4." If I were to play through a second time, I'd be an ace, but instead, I spend my first playthrough coming to grips with the nuances and getting upset about it along the way.

Ah well. I'm halfway through "Homecoming" and enjoying myself. In a day or two, I'll dim the lights and enjoy this year's to-be horror king, "Dead Space."

What do you think of my approach to finishing "Silent Hill," readers? Am I insane for "cheating" just so I can make it through? It feels right to me.

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