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Silent Hill: Downpour has separate combat and puzzle difficulties

If you're a big fan of the horror exploration elements of Silent Hill, but turn into a flailing mess when the combat starts, Downpour has you covered with the return of dual difficulty sliders.

"A lot of people really like puzzles, and Silent Hill provides really cool puzzles, but they're not good at fighting," producer Tomm Hulett told Joystiq.

"So you can set fighting to easy, puzzles to hard, you're good to go."

Hulett explained that setting the puzzles to hard will provide fewer prompts and contextual clues, which might lead players to hidden content.

"You're just supposed to realize, 'Hey I have this item, I don't need this for the other thing I'm doing, what does this mean?' And then you'll find the note, and figure out the sidequest for yourself," he said.

Completing sidequests - one example had protagonist Murphy returning missing items to the correct rooms within a building - can be lucrative.

"It could be a cache of items, three health packs. That's a big reward now," the producer said.

"Or it could be a really good shotgun - you've never seen a shotgun in the game, and through a sidequest you find a shotgun."

You'll probably want the comfort of a good boom stick, because Vatra's take on Silent Hill's notorious Otherworld segments hope to terrify you. Instead of providing identical if creepier versions of explored environments, Downpour's Otherworld areas may be unfamiliar.

"It's not the same layout; it's this weird, strange, nightmarish layout where you don't know where you're going next, you don't know what's around the next corner, Hulett said.

"Players will come to understand that they don't know what's going to happen and they have to react and escape. And that's taking a type of horror, fear that's been in the old games, but sort of enhancing and giving it a new twist. Even if you've played all the other games, these Otherworlds will feel different and scary and unusual and you'll find things that you wouldn't have expected to find."

Moreover, when the dynamic rain system kicks in, enemies might not be where you expect them.

"The onset of rain is sort of the signifier: I need to find a weapon, I need to find shelter. It provides a new sense of fear, but it fits in Silent Hill," the producer added.

Silent Hill: Downpour was expected in March for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but recent comments from Konami suggest that may change this week.

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