Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360)

Welcome back to Silent Hill…

I remember one traumatic evening as a fifteen year old, watching a friend running around a hospital in Silent Hill 3 whilst sitting a darkened bedroom, equally horrified and fascinated. This was my only experience of Silent Hill until watching the movie many years later, and then playing Origins on PSP, which was not a bad game, even though I did not get around to finishing it for the same reasons that I did not get around to getting anywhere near finishing Silent Hill 2 or 3 in the HD collection.

As I had not played any of the old Silent Hill games, yet have always been intrigued by them, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to do so with the benefit of achievements and updated graphics. Unfortunately I only managed to get a few hours into SH3 and even less into SH2. The games still retain the atmosphere they are famed for, helped greatly by their already acclaimed use of sound. Hearing enemies before you see them provides a lot of tension, and the use of the radio static is a brilliant device in
creating tension. Unfortunately SH2, the game I started with, looked slightly too dated, even with the updated graphics, and this unfortunately hindered my enjoyment. I could have put up with this though if it was not for issues with the gameplay.

Silent Hill 3 was considerably better looking which led me to stick with it for a bit longer, yet it still had the same core gameplay issues which had caused me to become frustrated and bored with SH2. I was surprised that the camera angles, famed for being awkward in the Silent Hill games, were not a problem for me, and I was also surprised that in SH3 you could actually turn the camera around to the way you were facing with just a click of the left trigger. The combat, which I also anticipated to be a source of annoyance, was not
too bad either. Admittedly it was not particularly fun, but as enemies could easily be ran past and avoided, it was not that much of a problem. Not having the use of both analogue sticks was an inconvenience, but again something I could have overlooked had it not been that I was not enjoying what I was doing. The narrative was definitely the drive of the game, and I found myself joylessly running through corridor after corridor, checking door after door to find it locked, until I finally get to where I need to be, but find I have to go back somewhere to find an obscure item, such as tongs from a bakery, in order to reach a key stuck under a crate, just so I could see the next cut-scene. This is the same problem I had with Origins which has led me to the disappointing conclusion that I simply do not enjoy Silent Hill games. After this realisation occurred I switched off the game, but ended up reading the plots online and watching the endings on You Tube, which is testimony to how interesting the story and psychological exploration is.

Fans of the series I’m sure will enjoy playing through the collection and indulging in a bit of nostalgia. Newcomers to the series may not enjoy as, even though updated, the games look their age. In that case I would recommend a newer Silent Hill game. Yet, many reviews have taught me that the Silent Hill series has gone down hill since SH3, and never managed to get itself on the right track again. Therefore maybe the new games are not a good option for first timers? It is hard to say. What I am left with after my brief time
with the games is the impression that at their time of release these games were something special and different, and that I have sadly missed out.

Verdict: 6/10

+Interesting narrative
+Great use of survival horror
-Poor combat
-Lots of tedious running around and back-tracking
-Can be hard to know where you’re going
-Graphically they still look very much like PS2 games

Kimkylet – Kimberley Secker

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