The combat in "Silent Hill: Homecoming" is an improvement over previous series efforts, but it wasn't enough for me. I wanted to tune it out and play on easy.
Except "Homecoming" removed the easy difficult setting from the "Silent Hill" franchise. There is only normal and hard.
Over e-mail, I asked the "Homecoming" lead designer at Double Helix, Jason Allen, to explain himself.
"Balancing any game is always a difficult and somewhat onerous task," said Allen. "For 'Silent Hill,' in trying to maintain that atmosphere, it was difficult to set an easy mode up for the game that still kept the player in highly agitated state. Though we did spend sometime looking into how to go about it; in the end it came down to insufficient time to truly justify its inclusion. I’m a firm believer that if you put something in the game, it better be the same high standard as the rest of the game – or you should cut it."
It sounds like Allen and I have to agree to disagree. I wanted to make the combat a moot point, whereas he wanted it to remain a central focus for my "Silent Hill" experience. That explains why he axed the easy mode option, given their development time. At least he did so with good intentions.
Check back later this week for more lessons learned from Allen's "Silent Hill" development experience -- and what he'd do differently with another "Silent Hill."