Silent Hill 4: The Room Hands-On
We got our mitts on the final English-language version of the next chapter in Konami's psychological survival horror series. Find out how it shaped up.
Silent Hill 4: The Room was recently released in Japan, and Konami is following up with the North American release of the game for the PS2, Xbox, and PC next month. We were fortunate to receive the finished PlayStation 2 version of the game early today at a Konami press event showcasing the company's fall lineup, and we rushed it back to our offices to bring you the latest videos and impressions. As you may know, the title of the game refers to the fact that its main character, Henry Townsend, finds himself trapped in his own apartment--and, apparently, in his own psychological worst nightmare. Or perhaps someone else's? It's a unique premise that sets up an adventure that's structured somewhat differently from previous Silent Hill installments (since the apartment serves as a hub into the game's different areas), but it still delivers the similar sorts of creepy thrills and impressive presentational aspects that fans of the series know and love.
Recently, we reported on the final Japanese version of the game, which features the same content and gameplay as the upcoming domestic release, but with some Japanese dialogue and text. So this is the first time we've gotten a chance to see the game entirely in English. The game's use of voice acting actually isn't all that extensive; you hear Henry's confused musings during some of the early cutscenes. And, early on, you'll also meet and hear from a couple of attractive female characters, Henry's next-door neighbor Eileen and a woman named Cynthia, who Henry meets in a bizarre subway and who claims that Henry's in her dream--not the other way around. The voice work seems about on par with previous Silent Hill installments; its quality is closer to what you'd expect from an adventure game of this sort than, say, from the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. Notably, the game retains a Japanese-language option, for those who prefer to play the experience in its original form--and for those who can read Japanese, since this option affects onscreen text.
The game itself transitions between the series' conventional cinematic third-person camera angles and a first-person viewpoint for when you're exploring Henry's mysterious apartment. The apartment's front door is chained shut, the windows are sealed, and the phone line and power are all cut off, but Henry discovers a strange hole in his bathroom that seems to send him to other dimensions, or other dream worlds. It's here that he confronts some of the first foes of the game--disgusting-looking hyenalike creatures that charge at him when he gets close. Beating these down with a trusty pipe doesn't prove too difficult, though.
Henry's job is to escape, and it's your job to explore the game's environments, uncovering secrets, solving puzzles, carefully observing, and battling with scary creatures on occasion. Silent Hill fans know the drill already, but they should find that Silent Hill 4: The Room presents a different take on the series' conventional style of unconventionally creepy horror. Stay tuned for GameSpot's full review of Silent Hill 4 leading up to the game's release.
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