Friday, 25 March 2011

Silent hill: Shattered memories

Gamespot score:8.0(great)

my score:7.8

(+)Pros:-Chilling and creepy story,-picture taking system is horrifyingly good,-simple yet fun puzzles,-chasing segments are fun and scary-multiple endings provide replayability,-choices made affect big parts of the game.

(-)Cons:-Very short,-horrible mapping system,-some incredibly confusing areas.

gameplay time:Less than 10 hours

Silent hill....a name many around would be familiar with, gamers and non-gamers alike. The silent hill franchise should be no stranger to many, especially the gamers, its existence has haunted the lives of many up to this very day (with the upcoming release of silent hill 8). The silent hill franchise started out good, fufilling its purpose as a horror game for the 1st 3 installments, but started to degrade after that, for as you see, the next few silent hills( the room,orgins, homecoming) werent very scary at all, and the game took a more combat based approach more than a horror based one. Well with the release of shattered memories, many of those new things are casted away, and once again, Im glad to say, silent hill has returned to its horrific roots.

Shattered memories puts the players in the shoes of harry mason, an ill-fortuned man who was driving with his daughter, sheryl, when suddenly something happened, and his car is sent crashing down a slope through the side rails. All hell breaks loose as he finds out that his daughter is missing after he awakes from the crash. Harry, in a desperate attempt to locate his daugther, sets off with just his phone and torchlight in hand. After travelling awhile, he realised the disappearance of his daugther, is not an ordinary matter, and also starts to encounter weird creatures, as well as the freezing up of certain areas. So Harry's journey begins, to search for his missing daughter, in the one and only lonely town, silent hill.

Those familiar with silent hill should be quite at home, since the core basics are all here. You roam from area to area, room to room, looking for key items required for you to proceed. However, hardcore players would immediately notice something different. In shattered memories, there are no confusing puzzles, no intense backtracking or any crazy skull cracking problems to solve, most of the puzzles in this game are much more managable. To the hardcores, this can be disappointing, but to more casual players, such as myself, this is a good thing. No longer do we have to rave through the internet skimming through faqs to search for things such as keys or rings, most of the things in shattered memories are simple enough to DIY. Though the puzzles are simple enough for a silent hill game, for an average gamer, they are at standard level in the universal gaming heights.

The more recent silent hill games have been very adept at focusing on combat rather on the horror elements. Shattered memories takes it away, and adds horror in again. While navigating through the areas, you can see silhoutes of a little girl wandering around, with heavy static sounds, very creepy stuff. Also, picture taking is a scary thing, you will see unseen stuff when the picture is taken, though there is usually a silhoute beforehand, after taking the picture, you will still be creeped out. As for combat, they took it out completely in this game, and fret not, its for the better. The combat is replaced with chases, which is exactly what it means. You run from crazy mannequin like monsters that relentless hunt you down. Heres the thing, you cant just run, the mannequins will absolutely run faster than you do, and just continous running will do you no good. You have to make use of your surroundings, you can hide under tables, in cabinets, and hope the enemies just walk past, not noticing you. You can also make jumps, topple cupboards or crawl under holes, anything, you can practically do anything do make yourself not get caught.

Shattered memories is probably one of the best silent hill games yet, but it still has its issues. This game, in trade for all the awesome stuff it has, is made shorter. You will spend no more than 5 hours clearing the main game once, hunting the other endings will make no significant changes in time played, since you will by then have known solutions to all the puzzles. Also, the areas are very confusing, some of them anyways. The school and the forest especially, combine that with the horrible mapping system (which you access by taking out the phone), you get very very bad navigation.
Shattered memories is a very good game, but not yet in the great standards. With the release of silent hill 8, who knows? I may not be picking it up, but if I somehow manage to play it, I hope its a good game. As someone suayed into the silent hill's fan base through this game, i would say shatted memories is a good game to start with if you're not into the series.

Happy gaming.