Silent Hill Origins - hands-on

The over-the-shoulder gameplay of Resident Evil 4 is popping up in a lot of PSP titles these days. Miami Vice used it, Gun Showdown will use it and now - blasphemy of blasphemies - Silent Hill Origins willtoo.

We've finally had a chance to play the handheld prequel to the landmark horror series, and so far, it's shaping up to be a lot more action-oriented than its moody predecessors. Starring a bearded trucker named Travis, Origins will finally reveal how the sleepy town of Silent Hill was transformed into a fog-shrouded, monster-infested hell. But first, it'll throw up a whole bunch of ugly-ass monsters that players will have to pound into goo.

Like in RE4, the camera follows tightly behind Travis, and killing monsters - normally a dangerous, difficult task - was as easy as running up to them and cracking them in the face a few times with a sledgehammer combo. Switching between close-up and ranged attacks was effortless, too - we just held down a button, and Travis whipped out his pistol. Aiming is done manually, but true to the series' form, Travis is an awful shot; his gun has a laser sight, but there's no visual cue (say, a red dot) to show the laser isactually taggingthe monster.

That said, the game is nowhere near finished - it won't be out until next spring - so it's too early to say if this is something that'll be fixed or just part of the series' running "your character has no experience handling guns and therefore misses a lot" motif.