Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Hands-On
Monsters are still scary in this Silent Hill reimagining.
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Silent Hill is a really lousy place to end up after a car crash. The town is full of creepy people who don't offer the slightest bit of help, walls of ice spontaneously erupt from the ground without even so much as a warning, and undead creatures lunge at anything that moves. We got to check out the beginning of the Silent Hill remake today, dubbed Shattered Memories, and came away shaken up.
The introduction to your haunted experience is pretty imaginative. You are sitting in the office of a psychiatrist with a list of questions in front of you. These are personal questions, mind you, which are a little awkward if you happen to fill out this form during a trade-show event. It asks if you like to drink when you need to relax, if abstract ideas intrigue you, and if you have ever cheated on a significant other, among other questions. The doctor didn't seem to believe all of our answers, but he seemed like a bit of a quack anyway. This psych test shapes how your adventure plays out. For instance, when we talked to a bartender in the game, she asked if we wanted a drink because we looked freaked out, but the main character declined the offer, just like our psych test foretold.
The game begins after you crash your car. Like the game this is based on, you play as Harry Mason and must find your daughter. We were told that the story veers drastically from that of the original, though we didn't see any other story sequences to compare. The beginning is extremely slow-paced. You hold a flashlight in your right hand that is controlled by the Wii Remote, and you move your character with the Nunchuk. There is light puzzle-solving in this segment. For instance, we needed a key for a locked door and had to unzip the jacket of a mannequin to find it.
Things get creepy after that. After finding out that we live in Silent Hill, we stumble back to the beginning where we crashed our car, but things get a little strange. A swing sways for no reason, and if you take a picture of it, you can see a girl sitting down. You can't interact with her, but it sets the mood for what's going to come next.
Walls of ice shoot out of the ground! You can't climb over them (they're cold!) so you must find a way around. Easy enough, right? It's not so easy when a horde of undead creatures is chasing you. There isn't any combat in Shattered Memories, so you have to run like heck whenever you see an evil being. This set off an elaborate chase sequence in which we crashed through doors, quickly scaled walls, and knocked down bookcases to slow our pursuers, all in the scant hope that we would survive.
Silent Hill is a creepy game. Even standing on a noisy show floor, it was easy to get sucked into this world. If the rest of the game can keep up the foreboding atmosphere, this could be the go-to scary game for the Wii when it comes out later this year.
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