I’m going to do what I’m sure a lot of people on the net have tried and attempted to do…. I’m going to try and make sense of a game series which has defined gaming, story telling and concepts proven to work and fail. Here we go… Into the haunted town of Silent Hill.
You play as Harry Mason. The story is quite simple here. You and your daughter Cheryl are going to a vacation. A cop on a bike passes you on the highway, then moments later you notice the bike is on the ground and the cop is missing. Moments later you see a shadow of a young girl in the middle of the road. You swerve and find yourself waking up from the car crash. Cheryl is missing and now you are drawn to find her in the haunted town of Silent Hill. First thing is first, the game sucks you into a fogged over explorative game. Simply running around empty abandoned streets only to meet monster dogs, and flying bat things coming after you.
A side from the deliberate haunted city we travel to other areas in the game like the Midwitch Elementary School. Which by the way, helps the player to realize it’s not just a fucked up town full of monsters. Maybe they came from somewhere other than just earth? So begins the spiral into the “Other world.” This is where Silent Hill takes a turn from the simple clean fogged town into a cold industrial metallic dark town of hell. Which is not only a cool transition mechanic and breaks the rules of liner thinking.
Needless to say the cop you perceived to be dead in the preview helps you out with trying to find your daughter. Then there’s three other characters whom are residents to Silent Hill. The first is Dahlia a religious heavy mother who also lost her daughter to the evil. Then there’s a nurse named Lisa who works for Dr. Kaufman.
Dr. Kaufman and Dahlia both tried to bring a God of Paradise into the world by sacrificing Dahlia’s daughter Alessa. However, her soul was split and became what we have known to be Cheryl. Now that the two souls are back to one the game takes a turn to saving yourself from the quagmire spiritual drama of Silent Hill.
The endings are variant, but the easter egg hunt begins just after you play through and 99.9% of the time receive the good ending. However, there are bad endings, bad bad endings and good good endings. The final to last easter egg is an alien ending which was placed in the game to be a funny. Not cannon at all to the actual game play. However, has been a staple to the future games none the less.
Now the game is actually fairly simple. You run around and kill monsters or just simply avoid them. There are boss fights which must be defeated one way or another. Gun ammo or not, which I don’t suggest. Save those bullets till the cows come home. Needless to say, the game is explorative and mind bending. It’s also riddled with puzzles and easily will get you lost without a map to refer to. Hell, I’ve even had to make my own map because of one particular level which gets me easily in a loop. None the less, Silent Hill makes itself the near to God Father of Survival/Horror video games.
Silent Hill 2:
I mentioned in a previous post “Flashback to a Super Nintendo” the best way to be a sequel to a video game is to use the previous platform and use it as a basis to jump off into another direction. In it’s own right Silent Hill 2 could have been a game totally on its own. However, still holds onto what its core values is. i.e. Donkey Kong Country 2 uses the same game mechanics but adds to with little high lights which also become core mechanics. Silent Hill took the idea maybe its not so much a ‘cult’ behind the fucked up monster. Maybe it’s just the town itself which loves to toy with people’s imaginations.
Meet James Sunderland. He had a wife three years ago who died from some sickness. I claim cancer though it wasn’t really discussed. However, a couple of days ago he got a letter from his wife telling him to come to Silent Hill to find her. We start in a parking lot just outside of town and travel through a forest, then a cemetery. There we meet the first of a few characters. Angela is a shy and disturbed girl who’s trying to find her mom. I personally suspect she’s got daddy issues which we find out later on, but there’s no other reason why she’s around. Aside from the fact she’s a fucking basket case like everyone else who travels to this town.
Well, like usual the game has us walking around killing monsters from the simplest to the most extreme boss fights. The first boss fight which becomes a fan base service for the Silent Hill community. Simply put, a monster named “Pyramid Head” haunts you through the chaos and evil of your travels through the town. While exploring an apartment we meet Eddy. A fat individual whose run away from the police because he ‘allegedly’ killed a dog. Then we find out he’s a little more fucked up in the head than we thought. Next we meet a little child girl by the name of Laura. She’s in Silent Hill because of James’ wife too. However, some conflict takes place.
First, Laura acts like James’ wife died weeks, or even months ago. James, our lead protagonist whom we have only his word to believe, acts like three years ago she died. So, here lyes the dilemma. Who do we trust? Naturally, I want to believe the protagonist. However, something tells me he’s not giving me the truth as much as the next character in the game. Thus, the player is at a loss of who to believe. Finally, we meet the last character in this game.
A young woman named Maria whom, through James’ observation, looks just like his dead wife.
In the end, there’s a couple of “good endings” which I don’t know which to personally believe is the ending to the game. I personally, sadistically, after being torn through this story prefer the bad endings for this game. Is that sad I’d rather the protagonist jump in his car and careen into the lake and drown?
This game is amazing, it stands the test of time in so many levels. Sure, in today’s plasma/HD television graphic it would look a little ridiculous. However, when you really get to peel the onion of Silent Hill 2, you get a sweet story line. Unforgettable characters and monsters. The core mechanics like I said still exist. An inventory screen with items you collect through the game and use for puzzles within the game. I can’t stress enough how much anybody who is anybody should and need to play this game to appreciate a good survival/horror game.
Silent Hill 3:
Like most rock bands. You get the debut album which establishes the main sound of what you’re about to strap into and listen for about an hour. Then you get the sophomore album which is amazing and wins the Grammys in a sweep. Shortly after, like Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, developers try to make lightening strike twice in the same place. The results can be muddy, weird and sometimes acceptable depending on what your true aim was in life. For a “true sequel” look at Silent Hill 3. It simply tells you for the first time ever in the series you will be playing as a female in a panicky survival/horror game. Let’s dissect this one.
Heather Mason is a tween who walks through what we know as the haunted amusement park of Silent Hill. Then it all becomes a dream and we wake up in a hamburger joint. While calling home we notice some douche nozzle named Douglas is a PI working to find you. Well, we evade him and them meet this lady named Claudia. She informs Heather her life is a lie and she needs to figure her shit out. After running home we find out Heather and Harry Mason (from the first game) are family.
Harry Mason is dead! Claudia hired some monster to kill him.
Heather gets pissed off at Claudia and teams up with Douglas to go to Silent Hill. While there, we visit the same hospital we ran through in Silent Hill 2. Only to find out it wasn’t just a hospital, but an insane asylum.
We run around town and get to the amusement park where history repeats itself. In the mean time we meet this guy named Vincent who’s a preacher for the ‘cult’ which is still not dead from the first video game. If you haven’t caught on, this game bite on to resurrecting God and like a Bulldog, its stubborn to not let go or budge from this premisses. In the end, the bad guy dies. God isn’t brought to life. And Heather tells Douglas she’s going to go by the name her father gave her. Cheryl.
Now over all, for an actual sequel to Silent Hill. This is the lowest of lows. Simply, we’re taking a possible ending to the first game and taking on what would happen if the ending wasn’t necessarily the ending. The connection to wanting to like the protagonist goes out the window because Heather isn’t relatable. When I was a teen playing this game, there was no way I could understand how Heather didn’t want to just ball up in the corner of the room and wish everything disappeared. However, for moving a story forward. This game doesn’t go leap and bounds. Simply put this game goes one step at a time to make sure you, the player, know this has Silent Hill connections. In fact, the first half of the game has NOTHING to do with Silent Hill in the first place. Either way, Silent Hill 3 starts the downward spiral to subsequent sequels which the series can’t escape from. And only a few of these escape the paradigm. Let’s explore the possibilities below.
Silent Hill 4: The Room
I will give you a heads up. This game was not meant to be a Silent Hill game. In fact the working game was simply called Room 302. Till, Konami decided it was time to release a new Silent Hill game. Thus, you take the script and slap the name Silent Hill all over the place. Thus, we get what most guys experience when they don’t have a wing man and the chick they think is hot, turns out to be a velociraptor from the Bronx. This game is like going to the game store. On the outside it says Silent Hill 4. Yet, on the inside is this strange and unusual game which ‘pretends’ to be in the big boys club.
Henry lives in a simple one bedroom apartment and everything was cool till a couple of days ago he’s been experiencing dreams of not being able to leave his apartment. Well, true to freaky form the front door is chained from the inside. In blood a message “don’t go out! -Walter” appears. And what does Henry want to do? He wants out of his room. However, Henry has the case of the stupid bug. Simply because we know he cant open the windows. But nothing says he can’t take the bar stool and try to smash the window open. What, is he afraid of not getting his deposit back? Believe me, he wont be getting it by the time we finish the game.
Anyway, there’s a hole in the bathroom which travels Henry from his “normal” room, into the hellish demented hysteria of what we know and love of Silent Hill. However, we don’t go to Silent Hill. We end up in a subway down the street from Henry’s apartment. There we meet a slut whom dies. Then we travel to a forest and meet some retard who dies too. Essentally, a lot of people die. Only two areas of the whole game is set in some undisclosed “area” of Silent Hill. The forest and prison area. That’s it. Otherwise, we’re running around a subway, hospital, outside the apartment complex, and inside the apartment. Otherwise, nothing is really related to Silent Hill aside from the main antagonist.
His goal is relatively simple and doesn’t really spoil the whole game at all. Mainly because it’s so blatant from the second level of the game. He believes in some way the room 302 is his mother. And he makes a life decision to sacrifice 21 people to bring her back to life. This is where the ‘cult’ comes back to slap us with its dick. Once again this game has to point at something from either Silent Hill 3 or the original to ‘claim to be’ apart of the cannon. Silent Hill 2 did that without even hinting a cult. The only reason why I bring Silent Hill 2 into the mix. James runs through an apartment complex and finds a new paper talking about the antagonist kidnapping and killing a few kids. Otherwise, this game is shameless in trying to be apart of the cool guys club.
The significant difference in Silent Hill 4: The Room is just a few things. First, we get the chance to play in first person for portions of the game. Mainly any time when Henry is in his apartment, we play in first person mode. Which helps with the fear factor. I personally hate first person. Second, the inventory aspect is ditched with only being able to hold an exclusive about of items. Bullets stack only to a limit before becoming a whole other item. So, the panic happens when you have to ditch the security of bullets for puzzle items. Finally, the game goes through five levels, then repeats them over again. I would also add a point the monsters aren’t typical. Ghost can’t just die, and you have to clear haunting in your apartment to keep it safe. Which is an interesting idea that works well for the game.
Otherwise, its like I said before a pretender trying to be apart of the big boy club. Sadly, you may think I’m really ripping on this game, but I’ll tell you… This was the first Silent Hill game I had ever played.
Silent Hill Origins:
I got excited about this game when I heard it would be a Silent Hill game on the go. Yes, it’s a Play Station Portable game. For the best experience I would tell you, the reader, to play with head phones and under the bed sheets in the dark. Have fun!
You are a tr(f)ucker by the name of Travis. We start with him and his buddy talking on the radio, and like normal Silent Hill, static covers up what underlining issues our protagonist has. Well, it’s rainy and Travis has a case of not hitting the white angel. He’s getting a little tired and nearly runs over a woman carrying a baby. He stops and gets out to see if she’s okay, but the fog rolls in and he sees a spirit of a little school girl in his side mirror. At this point he decides to “run” down the street and find a house on fire. There, he hears a girl scream. His heroic moment brings him to find Alessa burned in an upstairs room. When he saves her, he passes outside and wakes up on a bench in the town of Silent Hill. Well, he then makes the decision to go to the hospital and see if the little girl made it. Here we meet Dr. Kaufman, and Lisa. Both of these characters are reprised from the original game. In fact, from this point on, just note everyone is reprised from the original game minus Harry and Cheryl. This is the prequel after all.
Well, we meet Dahlia who’s outright evil from the get-go. Unlike in the original when we thought she was on the same side as us. Nope, within the first five seconds of meeting her she’s telling us to back off from what’s going on in Silent Hill. To be honest, Travis should have listened. There’s really no reason for him to be here.
In the original Silent Hill, there were only three areas of Silent Hill we actually explored. Origins simply stays on the business district of Silent Hill and gives us an insane asylum and a theatre to run through. Otherwise, there was no “ORIGIN” going on.
Subject to taking a post-it note and throwing darts at ideas. Something happened in the development of this game and the team decided to “ORIGIN” Pyramid Head. Instead, we’re working with other shapes. We meet a monster named the Butcher whose wearing something of a block head. Sure, he’s menacing. At a time he use to freak me out. However, after beating the game three times around for multiple endings. Seriously, he’s so low on the totem pole of monsters. It’s like Batman Arkham Asylum, when they hyped the Alligator man. It was a total let down.
By the way, the underlining issues with Travis is so trivial. I won’t even spoil it. Essentially he’s got mommy and daddy issues. But for reasons why he’s in Silent Hill, he could have easily jumped back in his truck like he does in the ending and cary on with life. But he doesn’t. However, watching the spirit of Alessa holding a baby and then hearing Harry and his wife name their daughter Cheryl was simply perfect for wanting players to turn off the PSP and jump onto the original game.
Otherwise, Origins was lame. Some what immersive if you put yourself in the environment to play. Simply put it’s a POS game and prequel shamefully trying to be relevant.
Silent Hill: Homecoming.
Seriously, I’ve been writing this blog post in the past two hours and I’m not even half way done with the whole thing….. I’ve broke these games down barney style and yet there’s four more games to go through…. Here comes Silent Hill Homecoming, which I personally had so much Silent Hill blue balls for when Origins became a total let down. Homecoming took my balls, put them in a vice and tried to squeeze out whatever essence of care I had in the games.
You are Alex, a young man who is on his way home from war. I suspect him to be in the Marines because of the jacket he wears. However, I could be wrong. Or, the research and development team didn’t do a good job at figuring out what branch he’s apart of. Anyway, we have a dream of finding his little brother Josh in a hospital. However, no matter what we do. We can’t seem to find him. So, we wake up from a nightmare next to Travis in his truck. He stopps in Shephard’s Glenn. If you haven’t noticed, the home town. All is not normal here. It’s foggy and the local judge of the town tells you to go home. We do, and find the whole house has pictures of your parents and your brother Josh. But not one photo of you. What the fuck, Chuck? Well, mom is home and she tells you your father went to go look for Josh and hasn’t been home.
We decided to then go looking for him. Through the cemetery we find the mayor is digging up graves from his family plot. We pass out and end up in Silent Hill. Here, Josh runs into a hotel and we’re on the hunt again to find him. We find at this point of the game Pyramid Head shows up for fan service. Simply put, fan service. In Silent Hill 2, he had a function in life. He was the judge of poor demented souls who fucked up in life. In Homecoming, Pyramid Head has no function other than saying, “Hi! Remember me? It’s still Silent Hill… No matter what context of the plot we’ve got going on here.”
Well, the mayor turns out to be a broke soul. We meet a detest who has daughter issues. Then we find out the “order” is abducting people in Shephard’s Glenn and taking them to Silent Hill.
This is when we travel to Silent Hill with the potential girl friend and the token fat police guy so deep fried in stereo typical Okla-bama southern drawl it annoys even the fabrication of subtlety to the game. It even comes right down to a moment of trying to save his life at one point, and I couldn’t hit no fast enough on my first walk through. Holly hell, I didn’t know I could hate a character based on stereo typical dogma.
Anyway, Alex beda-bops in Silent Hill when the boat they took across the lake gets comondeered by people from the “order.” So, now we’re trying to find Dad, Mom, Josh, the girlfriend and the cop guy…. What is the point to this game!?
Finally, after hours of running around nearly aimlessly in a Jail, a church and finally some underground secret area. We find out people from Silent Hill ran away when Alessa’s darkness took over the town. But once every so often of a generational gap. The four founding family’s have to offer a sacrifice to the “GODS OF THIS TOWN.” Apparently, Alex’s family skipped on their promise and thus the home town became engulfed in what happened to Silent Hill. Which leads me to believe the issues of Silent Hill are not just subject to Silent Hill alone. And that, they can either move or spread like a virus.
Either way, this game teaches me a couple of things. Without listing them in any particular manner. First, don’t EVER make a game for the fans. Or add in characters from the past games just to keep the old fans happy. If you do that, you’re totally undermining the subtlety to the story. Next, this game by and large had yet again nothing to do with Silent Hill. It was like playing Silent Hill 3 all over again without playing as a chick. Also, can we please for the love of God drop the “cult/order” bullshit. Seriously, no one cares…. The only reason why these elements even graced the project was because of the movie with also released around the same time. Needless to say, if Silent Hill could drop the cult/order like it was hot. Then we would all be happy in life. Seriously. Finally, if you haven’t noticed I mentioned who you play as in the game. I forgot to mention until this point of the series we played as a protagonist who had no idea how to fight. Thus, controls were sticky and hard to play. Which made the game panicky. You went into fighting a monster not knowing if survival was going to be the outcome. Homecoming took this concept and lit it on fire because Alex is from a war zone. He’s military… Allegedly…. So, to keep this aspect he’s supposed to know how to use a gun, knife, or any other weapons. His agility is off the charts in comparison to Harry. Which was oddly a let down. The fun part to Survival/Horror is to not be able to rely on game mechanics to give you the edge. They’re supposed to either not have them. Or, slowly let you build “experience” to avoid greater horrific moments. Not the other way around.
The game walked into my room with a gold star on it, but then after several play throughs to figure out the full scale of the game. I realized how flimsy and simply dull the gold star really was. P.S. This game doesn’t move the story-plot or over all thread of Silent Hill. It goes into the bin of pretender video games this series has conjured over the course of a near to decade.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Picking up my shattered heart, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories rolls around and low and behold it’s not available to Xbox. Somehow, I woke up in my apartment to find Silent Hill on the Nintendo Wii. Then, after a couple of months I found out they released it on the PSP. Here I go again playing on a portable and having to hide in my bed sheets with ear phones. Now, let’s dive into what memories got shattered. I know mine have been since Silent Hill 3.
It’s a dark snowy night. You find yourself in a car crash and after waking up you notice Cheryl is missing. Well, time to grab your flash light and cell phone and hunt her down. We run into the cop from the first game whom, depending on life choices you make throughout the game will have a different demeanor to you. Reluctant, we get her to try and help us find her. In the mean time we have to travel to our home and see if she’s somehow made it there. Yep, if you haven’t gotten the hint. This is a reimagining to the original. Core characters are all over the place and you learn who they are as the story unfolds. However, something to touch on without really taking this game by the ankles and shaking whatever change we can get for lunch.
Harry is trying to find his daughter and throughout his travels through Silent Hill, in a winter storm, we find out maybe she’s not so much of a little girl as we thought she was. Also in this installment relationships between core characters are vastly different. However, you have to watch how they react to you, and what they’re saying. I’ve found myself in situations where a huge hint of how Harry knows these people is subjected. However, like the “let’s just play through and see if I enjoy this game” mentality I ran right through and totally forgot there’s an immersive story line here. How did I get here? I asked myself… Here’s where I stopped myself and went right back to the beginning where we all left off.
The game loads and I totally forgot this game is supposed to allegedly “psychologically figure me out.” Hold up, Silent Hill 2 did that without even having to blatantly telling me. In a way, Silent Hill had already touched an internal fear without having to psychologically diagnose me. Shattered Memories out right tells you from the get-go, what you do in the game will change the aspect of the game. Examples: If I run around and look at nudity photos, run into the girls restroom, and unzip jackets from an mannequin. Well apparently that means I’m some kind of porno-hound who’s really into getting my dick wet. Conversely, if I’m looking at photos of family’s and stuff like that. Then apparently I’m the wholesome family type of guy. Alternatively, if I just breeze through and try to not alter the game at all on the in game mechanic. Well the game does this thing from point blank of starting every segment of the game with a quiz or task. The first one is a question sheet of Yes and No’s. Then it takes those answers and plays off of them. Some of them are subtle and others are blatant. Which to me was odd…. Odd in a bad way. Like, for some reason my colouring concept of what my home looks like will alter whatever the house is Harry is trying to get to to find Cheryl. Again, subtle and not necessary.
There’s only a new character I’ll point out from the game which grace this installment was a singer name Michelle. She’s a visitor to Silent Hill and is here for the High School Reunion. Needless to say she’s got some drama in her life which I’ve found either way you play the game. Shit’s going down and there’s no way to help fix other people’s issues. Plain and simple, which is a tough pill to swallow sometimes. Speaking of pills! Someone’s a pill popper and it’s NOT Dr. Kaufman.
Now for what we’ve all been looking forward to. The horror of Silent Hill. First and foremost Silent Hill has gone for the subtle approach of scaring the hell out of you. The world is covered in snow right now. So, does everything go polar opposite? Does the world turn into an industrial mayhem of evil and fire? Hell to no. We end up with time stopping, Everything turns into a deeper shade of blue. Doors which can’t be opened are totally covered with thick ice and finally. The monsters are deformed human bodies. The only thing we’ve got going for ourselves is the fact a haunted phone call from Cheryl tells us to run. We can’t fight them at all, and we need to just run. Meanwhile, the name of the game for every stage we play through is to not get, don’t laugh, hugged to death by the demented monster people. It’s a sequence of hide and seek. Because you can hide under beds, in closets and many other areas. But then you have to run around aimlessly to figure out where the safe zone is. Then, to add insult to injury, if you use your GPS to map your route. It makes Harry walk incredibly slow. Like he never heard of multi tasking at all.
Anyway, the point here is without spoiling the end is satisfying for a Silent Hill installment. It definitely is a different ending. There’s simply only one ending which overall closes the game. We realize the reality we’ve conjured in our head is not what we really lived. Sometimes the mind over writes reality so everything is ‘better’ in life. The simple search for truth or the realization of truth can break us from the core. Maybe it’s good to let go of the built reality we’ve all made instead of alienating those around us.
Yes, I may have learned a lesson from Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. However, does not excuse itself from being a crap-tastic Survival/Horror. In fact, I can’t recall any horror in the game. Interesting, I went in for a Survival/Horror and all I got was a game which tried to psycho analyze me. Which let me say was like taking a “survey” on Myspace back when social media was a brand new baby of the internet. It’s really just subject to interpretation. One second I can be upset taking a survey, the next I could be the happiest dude for miles and honestly it wouldn’t matter what out come I got. Essentially Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was an aim and a miss for trying to step out from the mold. However, this is a game from the same people who made Silent Hill Origins. Which again is a game we try to not bring up ever again. Anyway, to close out the absolute ending. Depending on your game play will show one of four different videos Cheryl will watch which will give you some kind of idea to what Harry really was like in life. Again, totally based on how you the player plays the game.
My Grandma use to tell me when it rains the monster come out to play. Who knew she was on to something, because that’s exactly what Silent Hill’s Downpour is all about. Take way the snow, and we’re left with a post apocalyptic town. But let’s get right to the main character….
Murphy is an inmate who dreams of bashing a former inmates skull in. He wakes up and a police officer tells him today is his special day. Ready for transfer, your arms are cuffed and you walk the green mile. Not, you walk to a bus which is then under watch by a female police officer. Well, true to form the bus driver isn’t paying attention to the road and we nearly miss a fake hole in the road. Thus the bus crashes. When we wake up Murphy seems to be the only survivor. Well, like any other inmate in a predicament like this we wanna run away. Well the police officer finds us and slips on a cliff. So, choice comes back to haunt us.
Basically, whatever we do from this point on will alter the games overall ending. OH BOY! Then we are on the road to get to Silent Hill and what comes back to bite us in the ass? Weapons which break when over used. This was something I totally forgot to mention in the Silent Hill Origins section. And let me just say to cover my ass from before. There’s a huge problem when a Katana is used five times on a monster and somehow breaks. Like when did the metal become a Snickers candy bar? Anyway, this came back to bite us in the but again. However, with Downpour an axe actually seemed to last longer than I had originally hoped for. However, when it breaks we’re right back to fighting with fist agains mainly two types of monsters. Or until we find another weapon. Which aren’t always laying around.
There’s a flashlight function which is different for the game. There’s essentally two types of flashlights which will help Murphy through the game. The first simply illuminates. The other uses UVA/B lighting to illuminate blood or some kind of bodily fluid. Sometimes even just simple clues to help in finding a path or hint to a puzzle. Either way, its an improvement to a function which has been widely over looked for all the previous installments. Up till now, all the characters had simply ran around with just a flashlight. It makes me wonder if James, Heather or Harry had an UVA/B light what would illuminate other than just helping them see in the dark.
The monsters are simple. We have a male and female who look like they were covered with pitch and oil. The females have claws and have the scream which makes Murphy stop and cover his ears. The males on the other hand just brawl. Needless to say, there’s some kind of bat thing which is rather brutish. They’re scary at first and having multiples are a pain in the ass. Finally, there’s a bigger and stronger version of the male monsters which take time and effort to kill. They’re rarely ran into. But they do exist. Finally, finally… If you thought we ran out of boogie men. Well, we actually have a character named The Boogie Man. He simply wears a black trench goat, and a bio mask. And he holds a rather large hammer. Unlike the Butcher this guy only shows up a couple of times and yields nearly the same amount of panic you would have for Pyramid Head if you were first playing this game. I think players would laugh at Pyramid Head. However, for those in 2000, Pyramid Head was (is) a scary mother forker. Go figure.
Needless to say, an underlining moment in Silent Hill Downpour is the fact as soon as goal one of running away from the bus is completed you end up in Silent Hill. As soon as Murphy enters Silent Hill, it’s like he took a look and tried realized what a dump it was and makes it a goal to escape Silent Hill. Maybe he should stay for a while. I’ve heard it’s a rather charming place.
Like clock work there’s some kind of baggage to our protagonist. I didn’t really hit it in Homecoming because it gives away the plot terribly. However, for Murphy we find out he was put in jail because he allegedly left his son outside for a few moments and instead of watching his son like a responsible parent. His kid drowns in the near by lake. Murphy goes to jail, for some reason… Because in a logical judicial system we would have amounted it up to complacency and freak accident. Well, this leads Murphy to a hard core lifestyle. Then somehow through the game he’s trying to play it off he’s actually a good guy stuck in situations which his moral choice goes out the window like a normal person and he makes the most horrible choice in life. Example, killing another inmate isn’t going to make you a better person. Even if it gets you to a ‘better’ jail than the one you’re in.
Anyway, the inner conflict of Murphy is realized and then we have a boss fight we have to finish. Twist of a twist goes down and finally we’re left with an ending which isn’t as fulfilling as the predecessors. Example: James gets closure and either just leaves Silent Hill, or kills himself. Heather gets revenge for the death of her father. Henry stops Walter from trying to invade his apartment. Murphy, we figure a little something out about his relationship to the cop chick. Otherwise, everyone lives oddly happily ever after.
Which leads me to ask…. What the hell were we even here for!? Between a road sign saying, “Silent Hill 5 Miles” and the opposite direction. Sometimes I would like to reach through the screen and tell the main character, spelunking is a fun hobby to take up in consideration to all the monsters you’re about to kill. Just giving you a heads up.
Deep down inside, Downpour is a proper sequel for existence in the cannon. It doesn’t hold on to anything ‘cult’ related. There’s no God being resurrected. We simply have a poor soul with some baggage being placed in an unfortunate set of events he has to go through. In any case, Downpour hits all the right notes but the melody isn’t quite what we’re looking for. The game however, does riddle itself with easter eggs and one in particular, incase you ever wondered where Silent Hill 4 took place in. Well, apparently Silent Hill 4 does take place in the town. Just in a separate area from where we’ve either explored or knew of. We know Silent Hill 4 took place in Ashfield. But where that is in relative to Silent Hill. Now we’ve figured out it’s just a district of Silent Hill. So, here’s what raises a few questions. When does Silent Hill 4 take place? I suspect it takes place prior to Origins for a few reasons. First, Origins being the Alessa cannon arks with Silent Hill becoming the haunted town we all have grown to love. So, with the room being in the haunted suburb of Silent Hill in Downpour, we can safely deduce the timing of it is prior to Origins and happening either before or in the meantime of origins happening.
The game mechanics are simple in the game. Use items to break locks. Kill monster with weapons and collect items to unlock puzzles which progress the game. The game is linear and allows you to sandbox in Silent Hill for the most part. However, parts of the game are “unlocked” as you continue the story line. Eventually, three levels in you’ll be able to roam around the town killing monsters as the moments arise. The game has a tendency to change its weather forecast from time to time which means, you have to go into a building or under ground to a subway to get dry. The weather stops raining and then you’re allowed to explore again. Now for fear factor, the game isn’t really scary. There’s jump scare moments which are far and few between. Which allow you to use a quick time event (Another game mechanic from Origins which was horrible then, and horrible now).
But, all of this isn’t even scary. I totally forgot till now of a “monster” which is introduced to chaise you down and destroy you like an item entering a black hole. The only problem I have here is the fact it’s like trying to reinvent the idea of the monster from Shattered Memories. However, instead of death by hugs. We have a black hole chasing after us. What would have been scarier is the fact we don’t need to know what’s actually trying to kill us. If we can’t fight it, why should I know what it is? Take a hint from every scary movie in history. We know a girl is running through the woods from some psycho killer. Then she falls down and the killer gets her with a knife. We don’t need to know anything else. We don’t need to know about a ski mask or a sack bag with eye cut outs; JASON! Ya’know what’s funny, I feel like I’m pointing out a subject matter I would have thought was already figured out. If you look back at Silent Hill 2 they handled subtlety with an art form. I was scared of the random bodies found on the ground. Because I didn’t know who was killing these people. Seems like Silent Hill needs another lecture in subtlety because somewhere between two and now we’ve lost what was horrific about the game, aside from blood, guts and gore.
Overall a fun game, a different installment and something to look at and say it’s at least standing alone. This game doesn’t want to be with the popular crowd. However, the far and few game mechanics which have haunted this series still can’t stop trying to make it’s way into our homes. From breaking weapons, obscure reasons for protagonist to be in Silent Hill, and monsters which don’t really put the fear factor in as much as they used to.
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
This God awful game hit the shelves faster than a diabetic going into shock from a sugar high. Pretty much you create your character and on your birthday you get a gift from the postman debuted in Downpour. Well, without much thought you read the book and see all your life memories are written in. And who could have written this book? Why would they write a book about you in the first place? Well, the question is then raised. What if we rewrote our past? When falling asleep you enter the world of Silent Hill.
Here we go with rolling through a dungeon crawler. You run into an “angel” of Silent Hill whom then gives you a goal to meet in each level. Most of them are collecting keys to all the rooms. Or defeating a specific monster. And or escorting a dog through the level to the exit without getting hurt. If you’re a ‘fan.’ Then you’ll note a lot of old Silent Hill monsters come into this video game. Zombie nurses, the Needle monsters, Pyramid Head is a boss fight. And same with the Butcher.
The game gets really annoying for me because it’s not immersive. It’s a portable game exclusive. The plot is really thin because of a KARMA mechanic. Basically the monsters in Silent Hill will leave Red (evil) residue or White (good) residue. You collect this to dictate if you’re an evil son-of-a-bitch. Or you go for the pure in heart route. Either way, it also changes the outcome of each section to your gaming experience. You do this for three levels per worlds. If I remember correctly there’s like five to six of these worlds.
Meanwhile you collect this gold laying around Silent Hill called Memory residue. Another annoying mechanic is purchasing upgrades. NEVER AGAIN SILENT HILL. Seriously, this is when people should have just walked away. At what point in history had we ever payed the game with in game money for “upgrades?” I’ll help you with this… NEVER. Which is why it’s so stupid of a concept. Here’s what they essentially did. They took Silent Hill and tried to make it into Diablo/World of Warcraft.
I found myself two worlds deep and realizing, I really don’t give a shit about this game. I named the character after me. Made “choices” I thought I would make, and here we go… a moment of Silent Hill Blue Balls once again.
So I saw what is known as the preview of Silent Hill’s next installment. Simply called, Silent Hills. On the Playstation you can buy the demo “P.T.” and see what it’s all about. Here’s all I’ve got to say about it. Finally, something scary, haunting and totally Silent Hill. I’m really excited for this next installment and if I am a believer of history repeating again. Then I might as well say hello to Silent Hill Homecoming again.
Thank you for reading the blog on Silent Hill. I’ve never really posted a Video Game Review. Nor, do I call myself a video gamer. However, I’ve done my research and played all these games with an open heart. I hope I didn’t detour anyone from not wanting to play any of the Silent Hill games I either bashed or pissed on. I believe it’s all subjective and personal through the viewers eyes and perspective. So have fun with any of the installments.
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