Game Review - by Jeremiah Pratt
Death, Despair a town gone to hell sound familiar yes. Although If you're wondering how similar Silent Hill is to Resident Evil, well you'll see. Now for reference sake Resident Evil set the premise for Horror games to follow. The golden book of Sam (whatever that means) for Horror Action. Let's just say Silent Hill follows the book, but forgot to read the ending (this is a good thing).
The Story is based around the widower Harry Mason. He lost his wife to a disease that has left a shadow over his soul. He has a daughter Cheryl who was very young when Mom died. He hasn't taken a vacation since his wife's death, but now Silent Hill resort looks somewhat comforting. Silent Hill has a history though not known to Harry of course. 7 years ago there was tragic fire that struck the town. The town has dipped way past the tourist's season. There isn't a soul around wonder why, don't ask me I don't know. Harry Mason on his way to Silent Hill comes into car trouble. This results in a late arrival to town. Cheryl is sleeping in the back seat as a motorcycle cop roars past his truck. Moment's later Harry spots the motorcycle dumped on the shoulder. There is no one to be seen. It paints an ominous picture. Suddenly, a shadow appears in front of the car. Harry turns the wheel in panic. The car slides off the edge of the road and into a gully. Harry eventually regains consciousness. Cheryl is nowhere to be seen. It is unusually cold. Snow is falling out of season. Where has Cheryl disappeared to? Harry walks toward a town he sees in the distance.
The game interface is similar to Resident Evil, except the aiming is more difficult. All the other controls are incorporated such as, side step, run etc. The most interesting feature is the Dual Shock Vibration. The vibration is really realistic; it vibrates to Harry's heartbeat. While Harry gets injured the vibration increases in frequency.
The graphics are fairly good, not super great but consider the game takes place in darkness. Although the over all graphics again don't shine. The game does sport some pretty damn good attention to detail. More specifically, street signs you can read shops with items in window, fire hydrants, cars, lampposts, and mailboxes. I can go on and on, plus in the Alternate Town, it looks like Hell. Full metal floors, bodies hanging from walls, blood all over the place. Need I go on, unfortunately, the animations took I minor dive. The creatures don't have that many moves to their name. The flying demons seem to float at you instead of fly. The demon dogs tend to just leap at you instead of give full chase. Harry's motions are all right, and sport some new moves (run into a wall, or fall off some steps). You find that Harry is not as coordinated as the regular protagonist is.
The SoundFX, almost deserve the full score but some sounds are not accurately applied. In particular the walking via grass sounds weird. Plus the voice acting although appreciated is a little scripted. For example there are some lengthy pauses in dialog. Which makes you feel like the characters are not really holding a real conversation. This may get annoying depending on your tolerance. It didn't bother me much I always appreciate any type of voice used in games. The Musical Score deserves a perfect score, even though there isn't much. When you do hear it, prepare to get freaked out. My heart skipped a beat each time the music kicked into gear. It definitely sets the mood.
The Gameplay is not a let down. Silent Hill had a burden not to follow the footsteps of Resident Evil completely. They accomplished this with having fewer enemies haha. But with more baddies via quantity to keep you busy. Silent Hill is definitely a dark game, so dark you need a flashlight. This piece of equipment combined with your Baddie Sonar radio. Are absolutely necessary to complete the game. Just try turning your radio and flashlight off and see what happens. In the issue of control Harry is not a good shot. I don't know what you suspected from a writer. Therefore heed this folks he does not have spec ops background! If you do shoot make it count, but he does auto-aim. This arises a problem sometimes since harry likes shooting dead bodies. The enemy AI relies totally on sight, so you can avoid most battles by killing the lights and sneak behind.
Overall Silent Hill as suspected every one including myself instantly compared it to Capcom's Resident Evil. But shockingly enough Silent Hill snuck some originality into the game. One being Harry can't shoot for crap, second the addition of detailed maps, radio and flashlight. Plus the game is dark as dark can get even with your lights on. The Gameplay is slightly linear, point A to point B thing. But the sounds and music score will keep you freaked out. I would have to say that Silent Hill compared to Resident Evil shines in the respect to creep factor. There is an on going feeling when you play Silent Hill. The feeling of what the Hell is going on, what do you do, where do you go. And where the heck is Cheryl is she alive? What's with this Alternate World? Need I go on, I think I better not. Just welcome our new trend setter Silent Hill.