Alchemilla Mod is an attempt to recreate original atmosphere of cult game Silent Hill on the Source Engine. It is not a rebuild of one of the games of series, it is its own history on its own reasons. Above all things is a project developed for fanatics of the original game.
Let me start out by saying the level design is fantastic, and really makes me forget it is a Source mod. The sound design is great too, as well as the custom textures and models. Its really nice to see a total conversion mod like this. The atmosphere from the exteriors to the interiors is true to Silent Hill, and it seems it was nailed perfectly. But that is where the good grace ends.
I understand that you had intentions of adding fighting and enemies but you lacked the man power to do so, so I wont be so harsh.
My number one complaint is that there are absolutely no enemies, not even ones you don't have to fight (aside from the random appearances). Knowing that there aren't actually any monsters in the world really takes away from the fear of the unknown, since I know if I go into that dark room there wont be anything in there to kill me or try and kill me. Essentially what you have done by stating that there are no monsters is really kill the fear of the unknown, which in turn, takes a majority of the fear away.
The atmosphere is great, but it leads up and builds suspense for something that will never be there, and us, as the players know that which is a game changer. If you look at games like Amnesia, Outlast, ect, you see that those games have no combat, just as Alchemilla does, but they do have the constant fear of monsters lurking around corners and such, which is one of the large reasons they are so popular. You know there is something out there that can possibly end your life, and you know you cannot fight back, as well as not knowing exactly where it is.
Next is on to the actual game play. Unfortunately the gameplay to me at least, is very lacking since it is primarily just walking around an empty town, reading notes, and solving puzzles. Puzzles can be fun, but when majority of the time is just picking up objects and bringing them to other objects in a sequential order, or trying to figure out a code for something, things get boring, and fast. When you look at puzzle specific games like Portal, you can see not only do they have puzzles, but they also have something else to throw into the mix, combat. How fun would the Portal series be if it was just shooting portals at walls to get from one point to the next? In Alchemilla I feel as if I just run from point A to point B and back to point A to reach point C, there is just too much of the same thing I find.
I suggest in the future updates (if there are any) that if you decided to add monsters, don't let the public know so much about them! Tell them you've added them, but don't give any more info into where, when, or how many. The same goes for weapons and combat, mention that you've added it, but don't mention what you've added, like a knife, or a shotgun. Leave the wondering up to the players, give them more reasons to explore than just trying to solve a puzzle for 45 minutes. Another thing I would suggest would be to make the game less linear, maybe make several paths you can take to get to the same area. If you have something like the player needing to get to the other end of the hallway, but the hallway is filled with nurses, they could either fight through it and most likely get killed (but it can still be achieved) or have a few side rooms with puzzles that they can solve to continue on safely.
Okay, I will give the developers credit in how the level design, sound, and atmosphere is. It is really faithful to what made Silent Hill so good and is well crafted. The voice acting for instance was quite good. The character had emotion and was believable. The textures are nice and crisp, so much that you'll be forgetting that you're playing a source engine game.
But sadly, that's where the good ends for this mod.
The gameplay is not so good. It isn't the worst I've seen, but far from what I consider great. Basically all you do is just wonder around the area looking for clues and items in order to solve puzzles or quests to advance to a new area. Lather. Rinse. Repeat...Nothing changes, nothing to switch things up, it's just this formula through out the game.
Yes, I do acknowledge the fact the developers couldn't bring in combat or the like. They try to fill in that gap but in the end it still fell short. There is nothing wrong with something that challenges your mind. But when the gameplay is practically nothing but puzzles it starts to loose it's charm pretty quickly. Variety is key to keeping your player's interests.
Silent Hill was just meant to have monsters and other characters, they added tension, suspense, and show the more darker side of the protagonist. Showing things about them when they are most vulnerable.
Without them, it doesn't feel quite like a Silent Hill game.
Overall, Silent Hill: Alchemilla isn't a bad mod. It is quite good in some aspects. But rough around the edges in gameplay. The developers did everything they could to make it as faithful to the Silent Hill formula despite limitations. But in the end, the gameplay doesn't have the same charm as what made the original games good.
It was a pretty ok no-combat Silent Hill inspired mod but that's basically it. Aside from the beautiful level design, the puzzles were pretty tame. I feel like the VA talent was wasted on something that should've been worked more on. The game just...ends.
However, I liked how the levels were all mixed up from each Silent Hill. You have the mall from SH2, the original Silent Hill from the first game, and more. Each room had a similar kind of atmosphere, with models that are essentially inspired from the series. I wished we had an inventory though, since that made some of the objectives more easier to realize.
As a fan game, it kinda does make me want to go back to playing some more Silent Hill.
Whether or not you're going to like Alchemilla depends on your enjoyment of past SH games, and horror games as a whole.
Unfortunately due to this being a limited project with few team members, the mod includes no weapons, enemies or NPC's. But Alchemilla quickly shows that this is not a deal breaker. The atmosphere is possibly the thickest I've ever seen in a Silent Hill game. The level and sound design contribute to an overall unnerving and borderline terrifying experience that leaves you constantly at the edge of your seat, but never gives relief. The environments themselves are creative and unique, but still stay true to the original series. Despite the lack of enemies, it is still possible to die from the environment and several puzzles. Due to this and the uncertainty of what's going to happen next, even moving forward to a new area is harrowing.
The puzzles are expertly done, mimicking Silent Hills past riddles and logic puzzles to an almost perfect T. The only thing that lets this down is a few issues with translation, as this is a Russian mod. Fortunately, the English translation is still good enough to never leave the player stuck or unsure how to proceed with puzzle hints.
This mod almost includes voice acting from the main protagonist. Usually a voice over can make or break a mod depending on it's quality, so fortunately the main characters voice is well acted and intensely emotional at points. But this does leave me wishing he had more interaction and lines with other people rather then just talking to himself and, by proxy, the player.
Alchemilla is clearly a hugely ambitious project made with lots of love from a fan of the SH series, and despite the problems faced in production still holds a bright candle to the first 3 games (Perhaps even more so then Homecoming). Despite not meeting the developers original goals and expectations, Alchemilla lands on it's feet and delivers a haunting, lonely, grim and morbid story.
Speaking of story, an important aspect of the SH series, Alchemilla's story is short and linear but still interesting enough to push the player forward. But due to the lonely nature of the game, it's not able to evolve very far beyond a few steps. Unlike past SH's, Alchemilla does not have multiple endings, and the one it does have is (without wishing to spoil anything) not exactly a happy one. It seems to come out of no where as well, with little build up or pay off. Again, this is most likely to the limitations faced by the developer.
If you enjoyed the combat, monsters and NPC interaction of the SH series, Aclehmilla may let you down. But if you enjoyed the intense atmosphere, disturbing imagery and complex puzzles, then this may be perfect for you. Alchemilla is a loving tribute that's short and sweet, built from sweat, blood and tears. It definitely deserves a play-through.
I would first like to immediately start off by saying this is Team Silent quality, and that's saying a lot.
The first three Silent Hill games, at least to me, are considered the high peaks of horror/gameplay and legendary. After the fourth, Silent Hill series became lesser, but I always replayed 1-3 to remind myself that Team Silent created legendary titles. With that said, I would like to thank everyone who made this mod for having created such authentic horror based off these games. Although I understand these are not meant to be replicated or such thing in any manner, you've done a good hell of a job making original Silent Hill fans proud.
I feel like I'm playing a mix between these three games, because of how authentic it sounds, looks, and plays. It makes me content that people still understand what made the first three games so special, particularly Silent Hill 2, which was the mighty peak. These environments in this mod make you feel alone, miserable, uncomfortable, and most importantly, psychological. In Silent Hill 2, we had Suuuuunderland feel like he was battling the >town< all by himself. This created one of the strongest atmospheric game ever created, and still is for me today. Although this mod lacks plenty of monsters and danger, it is still freshly authentic to the games, and remarkable.
The story itself is not mindblowing, but it seems to fit just well in, is what I can say without spoiling it. The reason why I can't say anything negative about it is because it's also just as authentic, and ties in very well with what the town of Silent Hill is capable of, but I don't wish to spoil it. The puzzles themselves, although sometimes try too hard to be >hard< and sometimes not, they seem to be quite decently made as well. Some of them even felt Silent Hill quality. The transitions of the Otherworld/Fog are nicely done as well, another high key AND important factor.
If you are a fan of the original Team Silent Hill games, I seriously recommend playing this mod. The only thing preventing me from perfecting such a score is the lack of monsters and danger, the radio missing ( :D ), and maps/inventory. I hope to see more of you guys, as you created something truly authentic.
The great mapping, models, textures and sounds all combine to make an absolutely brilliant atmosphere. The puzzles are good and difficult. These are the games strong points.
My criticisms are that there are no enemies, which basically takes away the fear factor. The game can be pretty creepy at times, but that's it.
I think the game actually broke for me a few times. Maybe I was just being stupid, but I couldn't continue without using noclip.
One REALLY annoying thing is that the game is terrible at recognizing what buttons you're aiming at on a keypad. Even if I had the right combination, it would take multiple tries before I actually pushed the buttons I was trying to push. The game doesn't visualize what buttons you're pressing, so you have to question whether its the game not pushing the correct buttons, or if you have the wrong combination.
Despite the fact that there aren't any NPCs, enemies, weapons, etc. the level design and the atmosphere alone is absolutely spectacular. I love this mod, played it for several hours, and as a Silent Hill fan, this mod does an outstanding job of staying true to the Silent Hill mythos and art style.
It's a beautiful mod with excellent map design, music, and atmosphere. However, it disappoints in a few ways. There were no real monsters to fight or run from, the puzzles were repetitive (key and door), and the finale was anticlimactic.
In short words - very good free game, play it.
Excellent level design - various believable and detailed cityscapes and interiors - hospital, shops, apartments, another dimension. Nostalgic graphics which remind of PS2 games.
There are, however, a few flaws that separate it from the honourable rank of one of the best games ever made.
It seems like the developers made a mistake by not following proper steps of the development process: first you document everything you want to happen in your game, then choose the engine, try to realise all features you documented, if they don't work - try other engines until you find one where you can get all the features to work. Only when everything's working, you make levels.
Instead, the authors decided to start with levels. As a result, they couldn't make inventory, notes and combat systems. When playing I coudn't help but wonder - maybe it would be better to use Amnesia game as a base for this mod since it already has inventory and notes? On the other hand - with Source SDK as a base and 100% custom content there's no purchase necessary to play which allows to reach greater audience, so what would be better isn't an easy question.
So the only thing we have to play with are puzzles. But even here it's not so smooth. The balance is off at times. You can only place cards and jump in the pit if you read certain notes beforehand, which is a very bad design decision. The character and the player must be one and the same, and the result of player's actions must not change depending on what the character knows or not. With aforementioned pit in particular, there's a high chance that player would jump there early, die, decide that jumping there is always a bad idea and gets stuck.
Also it looks like eventually the authors got tired of the game and decided to just stop working on it and release. As a result - there is no ending. No proper culmination, no proper finishing event. Just at one point the screen suddenly fades to black and you see the credits - that's all.
Other flaw is that I didn't find any clues that I must choose one correct clock in the clock puzzle. But the hero thinks at one point "I need to find a working clock", so the only thing the authors should have done is to add ticking to that particular clock and then it would be properly balanced and fun to complete.
I don't remember any more problems - other puzzles seem possible to complete on your own as long as you invest enough effort.
As a mod - this is really wonderful flashback into the first games of Silent Hill series. It has everything, that reminds you of those old good times - walk in the town streets, surrounded by fog; letters and other stuff, that refers to the original game series. However, it feels kinda a little empty, but as a mod - It still very good... Well done!
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Highest Rated (26 agree) 8/10
Let me start out by saying the level design is fantastic, and really makes me forget it is a Source mod. The sound design is great too, as well as the custom textures and models. Its really nice to see a total conversion mod like this. The atmosphere from the exteriors to the interiors is true to Silent Hill, and it seems it was nailed perfectly. But that is where the good grace ends. I understand that you had intentions of adding fighting and enemies but you lacked the man power to do so, so I…
Jan 18 2015 by Shirk