Silent Hill HD Collection fails to live up to the legacy of the games it carries.

User Rating: 6 | Silent Hill HD Collection PS3
Silent Hill 2 and 3 are some of my favourite games on the PS2. They contain some of the best stories and music I have every seen in a video game. So, when this HD collection was announced, I was imediately struck, and got very eager to get it. I did not too long after it was released, in fact, I bought it instead of the new Downpour (which I now regret), but didn't play it effectively until now. Why was that? Many reasons, to be fully disclosed here.
This being a collection, I will judge it on diferent orders and categories that just Graphics, Sound, Story and Gameplay.

Despite being numbered games on the same franchise, and one coming after the other, these are not directly related story-wise. Silent Hill 2 tells the tale of James Sunderland, who found himself going to the quiet little town after reciving a letter from his wife. The catch? She has been dead for three years. So, James goes though the town, meeting quite some interesting fellows out there and understanding exactly what the letter was, or if his wife is alive or dead after all. Silent Hill 3 is about a teenage named Heather, who, after experiencing many weird things on the way home (literaly), finds herself figuring out her past and origins, and maybe somethings she wishes she didn't knew.

As in other games in the series, the story is what makes you keep playing. I have made it sound vague and maybe even silly on these summaries, but that is because they are so full of twists, revelations, and meanings to everything that it trully should be experienced by everyone. SH2 in particular has one of the best stories ever in a video game, full of little details and symbolisms that are so incredibly smart and thoght provoking. Not to demote SH3, since its story is still great, picking up the footsteps of the first Silent Hill game and giving it a great follow up. Even if you have not played that game, 3 still does a great job of telling you what happened then.

The supporting cast is also phenomenal. Despite James and Heather being amazing leads, these games wouldn't have such fame for their stories if it wasn't for the weird and fascinating people you meet. Eddie, Angela, Maria, Claudia, Vincent, and others all compliment the stories greatly, and are a ton of fun and quite deep on their own.

This is definitely the main reason to play these games. 5/5

Both games had amazing soundtrack and solid voice acting. This collection maintains the soundtrack, with some minor changes to the ambient pieces, which do not really matter, since the songs have been kept and are still incredible. You will go back to tracks like Theme of Laura and You're not Here after playing them, believe me. 5/5
EDIT:Truth be told, some tracks have been rearanged, and generaly not for the better, and some songs, like Laura Plays the Piano, sound just awful here.

In terms of voice acting, both games come with new dubs, with only SH2 having the option of using the original voices. And the new ones are... hit and miss. I am biased towards that, since I have seen and heard the original ones so much that it is hard for me to think of these characters with other voices. It doesn't help either that many cast members here also voice characters in the Persona series of RPGs, a series I also love, so anytime Heather is speaking, I can't help but see Yukiko in front of me talking. But looking at them objectively, the new dub is solid in SH3, but weak in SH2. Despite the fact that I hear Yukiko and Yosuke all the time, they are all well done and acted. Some better than others, with Claudia sticking out and Heather being rather weak.

With SH2, the new voices feel like they are going for a Resident Evil Remake style, with the voice actors being not only much more serious, but also sounding more confined and restricted. And this hurts this game. Laura, Eddie and James all sound weak and borderline bored at worst, though Laura does have some standouts. Maria is an interesting case, as while Mary Elizabeth McGlynn is a great voice actress and singer, her voice is too deep for this fragile character, so it comes off as a little awkward. Angela is the oposite, sounding much younger and juvenille for such a tragic character such as herself.

So, in the end, the new voice acting is not particularly good, and I still think the original games have it better, but they are not terrible, and do not ruin the story. 2.5/5

Both games are survival horror titles. Many people will be thrown of by this, since they are pre-Resident Evil 4 survival horror games, and so the gameplay can be a little awkward, although it is often done on purpose.

Both protagonists have to explore Silent Hill (and, in the case of 3, Portland), going thoughout the town to get what they want. To do so, they have acess to many different kind of meele and firearm weapons, which they can use to defeat the enemies. However, combat is not always recomened, since supplies are limited, and enemies are often too much of a pain to take care of. Out of the two games, 3 has the better combat, since it has a bigger variety of weapons to choose from, and I just feel that the control is more fluid there. Plus, that game is a bit more tongue and cheek, giving you such ludacris weapons like a maul to kill enemies. 2 plays safer, but you can still get a kick out of killing enemies there.

The controls are the traditional survival horror tank like. You press forward to go forward, back to go backwards, and you spin the character with left and right. Many people hate this control scheme, but you get used to them in not too long. Hitting enemies and using items is also never a big problem, although I have always though that 2's controls were a bit unresponsive in the combat regard.

While exploring the towns, you will go though many areas. A mall, a subway, apartament complexes, hospitals, and some others. I like to call these areas "dungeos", since that is pretty much how they play like. The other main aspect of the gameplay shines there, which are the puzzles. Out of the two games, 2 has harder puzzles I feel, but they never feel impossible, and are a ton of fun to figure out. These areas are generaly long, and have boss encounters at the end, which you better have saved some ammo and healing items for since, while generaly pretty easy to take care, they can be kind of difficult to win without getting hit, due to the controls.

Both games encourage multiple playthoughs, with dificulty settings for both the puzzles and the combat, and multiple endings to encounter. 2 especially, since there are quite a number of endings, and they are each quite diferent from each other. They also offer a ton of bonus content after beating the game, so if that is your thing, you can get that as well. A first playthough will take around 4 to 5 hours to beat each game, which maybe short, but since they each encourage multiple playthoughs and reward you for that, its no big deal.

Truth be told, this kind of survival horror gameplay may not have aged perfectly, and is definitely not for everyone, but the games are still fun to play, and replay every once in a while. 4/5

This, unfortunately, is where this collection fails. And hard. We are presented two great games in this collection, but there is no reason as to why there are only these two games. Now, I can understand why SH1 is not here - same reason why Metal Gear Solid 1 was not on the MGS Collection - but there is no good reason to omit Silent Hill 4 or even Origins. Only two games is quite a weak packaging, especially after the great Metal Gear collection, also by Konami.

Besides the lack of games, there is no new content on them. Sure, there is the sub-scenario Born From a Wish in SH2, but there is no unlockable artwork, music, or any kind of bonus, outside of what is already on the games. It honestly gives the players no real reason to buy this version of these games, besides the update in the graphics.

And lets talks about that for a minute. Now, in terms of how the games look, SH2 looked alright back on the PS2, and SH3 really stood out as a great looking game. And here, the character models have been sharpened and the textures have been fleshed out a bit, but there is one problem. And that is the lighting, which is terrible, and in games about creating the right mood, this is a major deal. Originaly, you could see the areas no problem, while still being dark enough to create suspense. Here, you can barely see what is going on on screen, even with the flashlight. Many areas, especially in 3, I had myself tilting the camera a lot to find a good view of the area, so I could see where I was going. This obstructs your view of enemies, doors and items, which do not shine as bright to call your atention as they did in previous games. Even when you can see what is going on well enough, the color pallete of the games has taken a turn for the duller for some reason. Again, this is most noticeable on 3, which was vivid and rich in detail, and now the contrast has been taken down quite a bit, making the games less apealing on the eye.

Even worse that all that, the frame rate suffers a lot here too. It will often dip, both in combat and in cutscenes, or even when you are just walking, and that is really distracting. Also, for some reason that I do not comprehend, the fog, a staple of the series, has been lifted, so it is not as thick as before. One could say it makes it easier to see what you are doing, but really, it just erases one of the most iconic things of the franchise, and shows some really awkward, unfinished textures, especially noticeable on the park on SH2. I have also encountered some glitches in both games, with enemeis glitching their locations, and one even made me unable to die to the first encounter to Pyramid Head, which was awesome, but still a glitch. Besides that, other technical problems are all over the place, like jerky shadows and a terrible aspect ratio for the cutscenes, most noticeably in 2, which render some of them nearly unwatchable. The lipsynching is also not matched properly, with the voice flowing without proper lip movement, and the subtitles not coming at the right time. Again, this was not a problem on previous versions of these games.

So, long story short, these games do not look any better, and often worse, than they look on PC and PS2. 1/5

Silent Hill 2 and 3 are still amazing games, don't get me wrong, but this is not the optimal way to experience them. Blame it on the lighting, uninspired new voice acting, technical issues and lack of new content. Get these games for the PS2 or PC if you can, and only bother with this Collection if you have no other way to play them.

The good:
-Silent Hill 2 and 3 are still great games
-Fantastic soundtracks are intact
-Great puzzles
-Encourages multiple playthoughs and rewards you for them

The bad:
-Erratic frame rate
-Lack of new content
-Just two games feel lacking
-Many other technical issues