Hello and welcome to ToriJ's Video Game Reviews. We're coming up on the last week of Halloween Month, and I thought we'd end on a high note by looking at another fan favorite in the survival horror genre. Silent Hill!
Silent Hill is a series of games created by Konami that debuted in 1999, inspired by the Resident Evil
franchise. It introduced us to a mysterious town drenched in fog that, as of the second game, shaped itself according to the visitor's psyche creating horrible abominations hell bent on killing you. The first game in the series is largely overshadowed by the second and third games which put Silent Hill on the map. Ever since Silent Hill 4: The Room, fans believe the games to have dipped in quality. So much in fact that Konami brought in Metal Gear Solid creator, Hideo Kojima, and film director, Guillermo del Toro, to help revive the franchise, and I... And I...
I have never played a Silent Hill game.
Despite my love for the genre, and being around when these games came out, they just always eluded me for one reason or another. No longer! Today I look at this game not through nostalgia, or shaded lens, but as a new experience, and to be fair I'll only compare it to games that came out around this time.
The game opens up with a cinematic intro highlighting several cut-scenes in the game, something that was common place for survival horror games at the time. Only I can't say the opening of Resident Evil 3, and Dino Crisis gave me such a chill from the music. We also keep cutting back to the main character and his daughter driving in the car leading up to crashing in Silent Hill. As soon as you start the game, the main playable character is waking up and his daughter is gone. Makes more sense than vanishing into a puff of smoke on your way to a mansion.
You play as Harry Manson, professional writer (hey, he's just like me!) and adoptive father of Cheryl Mason. Your goal is to find her in the foggy maze that is Silent Hill. Sounds easy enough, right? Right.
Silent Hill's controls are smoother than Resident Evil's. Harry turns a bit more naturally and can even sidestep. You even have more control of the camera as it follows behind Harry, except in certain areas for dramatic effect. There's also a first-person view mode so you can look around, as well as a button to hold your gun at the ready like in Dino Crisis. The Dual Shock feature is utilized by having the controller vibrate in line with Harry's heartbeat when he's low on health. That really helps you feel his pain while desperately looking for something to replenish it.
Sidestepping comes in handy for dodging monsters while holding down the run button, but be careful since you can actually run into a wall. Monsters appearances will be activated after hearing the siren in the city go off. When you hear that noise, run! Run like your life depends on it, because it does! These things will come out of nowhere. Can't tell you how much I've swore already from a dog jumping me. I hate the sound of the wings of the Air Screamer every time I hear it.
I love how explorable the city is while still maintaining that sense of isolation. Other games will usually limit you to a building, and even the games that let you into a city feel a lot more secluded, but here? Here you can explore right after leaving the cafe. You kind of have to if you want to figure out where to go next.
While the voice acting isn't Metal Gear Solid
style of quality, it's nowhere near as bad as Resident Evil or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I'd say it's about average, passable enough to not ruin immersion. Harry is also voiced by Michael G, the same man who did Richter Belmont in Castlevania, so it's nice to see him be more grounded this time around.
The horror is phenomenal and just blows the other survival horror games I've played out of the water. I've never been so paranoid playing a horror game. Silent Hill had me thinking I was going to get a game over when I was in Finney alley, only to watch a cut-scene play instead. You can't even turn a corner in this game without being scared senseless, and some of the enemies can't even hurt you.
Harry's aim could use some work. You can be at close range with a monster and Harry will still miss a couple of shots while shooting. Good thing there are plenty of places to stock up on ammunition. I guess if Harry never had much experience with guns it'd make sense that he'd miss on occasion. There are even cops who will miss every once in a while.Conclusion:
Silent Hill is everything a survival horror game should be. Scary, suspenseful, and mysterious. If you're a fan of the genre I definitely recommend it.Get it.