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Silent Hill: Homecoming
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is sometimes scarier than anything in the Saw movie series. Although horror movie-loving adults will relish it, this game is full of unapologetically gory and bloody scenes, especially when you fight with a knife. It contains psychological and physical terror, torture, blood, guts, screams, and insidious, insane laughter. Zombies are sometimes unclothed and bloody, and the language can be quite explicit. It earns its M-rating, and can even make adults squeamish. This game was not created for kids to play.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Make no mistake and beware. SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING isn't for kids. This is a horror survival game full of psychological and physical terror, torture, blood, guts, screams and insidious, insane laughter. In fact, the tale about protagonist war veteran Alex Shepherd searching for his lost kid brother in ultra-creepy, mist-laden environs will make some adults squeamish. Really.
While the game has some new developers who live stateside instead of in Japan, the game mechanics are pretty much similar to those in previous iterations of the series. As you search for clues and solve puzzles, you use buttons to attack and slash, pick up items (like first aid for your inventory), shine a flashlight, and check out a map to see where you are in the Silent Hill universe. New within Homecoming is the ability to dodge, strafe, and roll out of the way of the many monsters and bugs which constantly shiver your timbers. Yet because of the strength and speed of some beings, you wish you could move with more alacrity.
Is it any good?
The point of all survival horror games is to create a hopeless, almost depressive mood that is filled with violence. In fact, if you don't have mood in this genre, you've failed. The first moment of the game isn't scary, though. You're tied to gurney, being pushed through a dark, dank hospital. You see scenes of torture in rooms and you're screaming. It's too over the top, though, fake-y. Once you're left alone, you break your bonds and begin to search the lonely rooms, and that's when the suspense and tension builds. The game gets more difficult midway through when save points and first aid become less available.
But the suspense flows more than it ebbs. Within a few hours you're exhausted, almost as if you've sloshed through the buckets of blood and the violence that's been laid upon you (along with the slicing and cutting you've been forced to commit to stay alive). Admittedly, gamers who play horror-oriented offerings have seen pretty much every monster clone imaginable. Demons like Lurkers, Smogs, and Needlers have been seen in some form elsewhere. But the crazed, blood-soaked Pyramid Head, who made his first appearance in Silent Hill 2, is somewhat unique, dragging his heavy sword as if it were a psychological burden as he limps along. But it's not the monsters that make the game work; it's the terrifying, tension-filled steps that lead up to the meeting. That's where Homecoming shines.
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