Archive for January, 2011

Silent Hill (the whole shebang)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 6, 2011 by Griff

so over December while waiting for Christmas I decided to replay Silent Hill 1-4 and play Shattered Memories, which I was meaning to play since it came out

I last played Silent Hill 1-4 in 2007 and had been planning on playing them again, but something inspired me to go ahead and do it, what exactly? well nothing other than The Real Silent Hill Experience

if you’re a big Silent Hill fan, this documentary will totally change your perception of the series, it’s sort of like “Penn and Teller Bullshit” for Silent Hill, in it three fans describe the stories of the games in what they believe to be the most correct interpretation possible and then express their thoughts on the past games, the current games and the series future, it’s pretty long, but well worth watching

so…..Silent Hill….what can I say? it’s a series that’s both well known and a cult classic at the same time (couldn’t that describe a lot of video game series though?) in case you somehow happen to be unaware of the series, the basic premise for it is this, there’s a town called Silent Hill somewhere in Maine, long ago it was a scared place for the local Native American tribe, who saw that the area had some sort of potent “spiritual power”, but then the white man came and over time that spiritual power became corrupt by an evil Cult that resides in the town, until the events of the first game cause all hell to break loose, the result is lots of scary shit, monsters and the town changing into what’s more or less hell

I wont go into too much detail for Silent Hill 1-3, but I will that say that they are excellent games that stand the test of time, some of the best games ever made in my opinion

even Silent Hill 1, which turns 12 years old this month, holds up well, it’s still scary, still fun and still worth playing, even the dated graphics have what I like to call an “old school charm”, the only downside is poor voice acting indicative of the era

2 and 3 hold up even better, 2, despite going on ten years old, still sports impressive graphics (it has great texture work and I find games that have that are the ones that age the best) and will scare the shit out of you, no matter how old you are, play it on hard and you WILL be afraid, very afraid

and 3, shit, the graphics in that game could almost pass for current gen, especially the character models

4 however is the black sheep of the Team Silent Silent Hills, while not a terrible game it suffers from being waaaaaay too tedious for it’s own good, it’s still worth playing for the story however

sadly after 4 the original Japanese developers departed and that’s where things go downhill

first you have the Silent Hill movie, which I haven’t seen since 2006, but I didn’t like it, I thought they took the premise and aesthetic of Silent Hill and made your average loud, unsubtle American horror movie out of it that fails at capturing the spirit of the games and throws in monsters from the game for simple fanservice even though story wise it makes no sense (Pyramid Head anyone?)

Silent Hill Origins and Silent Hill Homecoming I have not played recently, but I thought Origins was mediocre and hated, hated, hated Homecoming, man did I hate that piece of shit, it’s like a perfect guide for how NOT to do Silent Hill, plus it has terrible graphics with characters models that look like poor Xbox 1 quality stuff and is about as scary as an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”

so I had pretty much lost hope for Silent Hill, but then it was announced that Climax (the makers of Silent Hill Origins) were doing a remake of the original game for the Wii, needless to say I did not have high hopes and as the release date passed me by I contemplated just ignoring it

but wait! I noticed that it was actually getting good buzz over time and decided to dust off my Wii (literally) and give it a shot

and much to my surprise, I actually liked it

Silent Hill Shattered Memories proves that there is still some life left in the series, the guys at The Real Silent Hill Experience didn’t like it, but I’m not so sure their criticisms hold water, it’s the only part of the video that I totally disagree with

their biggest complaints was…

1. the game’s puzzles were too easy, while I agree that placing all the keys very close to the doors was dumb, they flat out ignore some of the really good true blue puzzles in the game, why?

2. they dislike that the game’s story and style is totally separate from the previous games, this is what I actually really liked about it, I think if Silent Hill is to continue on then the developers should be allowed to put their own spin on it instead of trying and failing to make it fit in with the stories of the other games

3. they dislike the psychiatry vibe and psychology system, I dug the psychiatry vibe myself, while I never really felt like the game was personally getting into my head, it’s still a spooky idea and gives the game a lot of replay value, plus I just enjoyed hanging out in the Dr’s office and performing his tests

4. they dislike the game being split into two parts, the exploration segments and the “ice world” segments where you’re chased by enemies, the exploration segments of the game were my favorite part, I loved exploring and finding the “memories” will my phone, uncovering all these subplots, most of which are totally separate from the main story, they add a lot of detail and attention to detail is something that was missing from Origins and Homecoming, it helps to think of the game more as an adventure game with segments where you can die

5. lastly they dislike the story because it only uses the same characters from the first game and the story is completely different, I will concede that the use of the characters from the first game feels a tad gimmicky (especially Lisa’s glorified cameo) I think the story gains something from playing with your expectations of the first game instead of just having totally separate characters

now I’ll be the first to admit that Shattered Memories aint got nothing on 1-3, but I still had a good time playing it and for me it shows that the potential is there for a western team to make a decent Silent Hill, now let’s see how the next one turns out