Review by TheRetroPlayer
Reviewed: 03/25/10 | Updated: 10/25/11
This game is a lot different from the original, but its actually not a bad thing.
When Konami said this was going to be a remake, the really did mean it. If you played the original Silent Hill, and was used to that, then expect many changes, and I mean changes that you may not like if you were a hardcore fan of the first game. The story, gameplay, and environment has changed quite a bit, leaving only some similarities to the original game. There are a few new things like the lack of combat, modern day environment instead of the late 20th century when the original game took place and such, but it pans out well in the end. Now, its time to go into detail.
If you ignore the comparisons with the Wii, you will see that the graphics are pretty good, especially if your using component cables on a CRT TV. Konami with this version of Silent Hill Shattered Memories, tried to make the graphics more like the original game instead of something like what you see on the Wii. The background has this fuzziness, but at the same time, it makes things look better. The Otherworld at first is not all that impressive, but as you get used to it, it actually does get to you a bit, but not as much as the original game. Overall, the details of everything is pretty amazing for what it is despite the missing details from the Wii version. The graphics was never really a strong point, and the graininess it was made it a scary game to play in the first place. You have to admit that.
Not as nerve racking as the original game, and almost forgettable. Ironically, there is this one theme that seems to play often that gives you a sense that its safe, even in dark places. Once that music stops, then it gets bothersome at times. All the music indeed does fit the mood of the game, but it lacks the fear factor for the most part. Even though this is a problem, the sound effects do a good job at scaring or at least startling you. When you hear a scream in the otherworld, you know its time to start running. At least the sound effects makes up for things in the music department, and the credits theme is good at the end.
I have to admit. they were a bit annoying at first, but I did get used to it. The only thing I had a problem with is switching to the map, especially during nightmare sequences. Its very easy to go in circles when monsters are after you, and at the same time, you want to know were your going. You have to take out the map, but at the same time, it slows you down dramatically which causes you to get attacked by monsters making your chances of dying higher since there is almost no hiding in this game, even though you can hide, but the monster can find you easily anyway. The controls are alright overall looking past that.
This is part of the game has the most difference. After a car crash, Harry Mason, finds that his daughter, Cheryl, is missing. He sets out into the dark gloomy town of Silent Hill. Before you go any further plotwise, you end up finding yourself in a therapist office trying to make sense of what is going on with yourself. The therapist, Kaufmann, asks you a series of questions, and asks you do a few activities that evaluates your psychological state of mind throughout the game. The way you ask these questions, and way that you do the activities will effect the storyline, character interactions, and possibly the ending. Outside of the therapist office and during the actually gameplay, the things you look at like posters, and notes on a wall can effect statistics that are unseen in the game. A few are them are your level of friendliness and how you handle your sexuality. Its complex, and if I go into detail I will end up spoiling things, so you would have to find more on this stuff by yourself. All the characters from the original game return with different but interesting roles except one or two people who has the same roles, but I don't really remember at this point. That is how far I will go with this aspect without spoilers.
The nightmare world is an iced over reality comparing to the blood and rusted reality from the original game. Its not as scary, but it does has its moments at times. The only thing to fear in this world is the same thing over and over again. That is strange undead like creatures chasing after you that slowly evolve. There is no combat system in this game, and it can be annoying at times that Harry, can't at least use basic striking, boxing, grappling or whatever techniques to ward off enemies during nightmare sequences. What you can do is slow them down by knocking over cabinets and other platforms to get you away from them for a bit longer. There is a few flares laying around in your path that act as a repellent to the monsters for a short amount of time, and its your only offense except throwing the monsters off once they grab your back and try to rear naked choke you to death. Since the lack of self defense, and how easy it is to run around in circles in the nightmare world, expect to die at least once during these sequences. One more thing. The last game had many puzzles that was very hard to solve and required a FAQ, well for me that is, but in this game, there are much less puzzles to worry about, and all of them are easy except one.
One more thing I will like to talk about is the new phone feature. Instead of an old radio like the PS1 game, you get what looks like an iphone, and no I'm not being silly. That is what I was talking about with the whole modern day thing. At first I was a bit bothered by it, but it plays well into the game. You will need it to receive messages, and call certain phone numbers. It has the map of Silent Hill, and a gallery were you can save pictures you can take with. I almost forgot that you can save anywhere with the phone as well.
This game is rather interesting but for different reasons. It will still keep you hooked to the end, and to me, it still lived up the hype besides a few things that I didn't like. Be warned that this game seems to have a lot of sexually related themes, even if you try to resist them as if the game itself is trying to make your character more on the sexualized side so you can't go all celibate in this game. After watching the ending to this game, the game will still not make that much sense to someone like me, even after thinking I figured out the plot so expect confusion there. Once you beat this game once, you will want to again since there is many things you can do to influence how Harry acts or thinks. I know I will since I tried to based the questions and answers on my real personality last time, and that netted me what looks like the worst ending, but that is another story, and that frustrated me. This game is worth a rental first, if you use something like gamefly. I don't think many will keep the game for long after even one gameplay or going out and watching all the endings on a video website seeing how many have mixed feelings about the direction of this game since this is not the Silent Hill that everyone thinks of.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (US, 01/19/10)
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