Harry Mason returns to Silent Hill in a fantastic reimagining of the original game.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a reimaging of the original Silent Hill. Harry Mason wakes up from a car crash and finds his daughter missing. He clearly panics and begins his search for her. He finds his way into the town of Silent Hill, who was currently experiencing a bizarre snow storm. He begins to search the town and finds it abandoned, save for a few people. He stumbles upon a cop who just makes his list of questions longer rather than shorter. His search grows more desperate as it goes on and he keeps experiencing strange things. Every so often, the world would freeze over and he's be chased by living horrors.
This take on the classic Silent Hill is fantastic. It's emotional, thought provoking and it plays with you. Depending of what you do during the game can change the story. It's the best story in the series, surpassing Silent Hill 2 and the game focuses on it. The twist at the end is one of the most memorable twists in a story. If you enjoy a deep, emotional tale, you'll enjoy this one.
The game plays differently than any Silent Hill before it. There is no combat whatsoever. The encounters with the monsters are labyrinth-like chase sequences. These encounters are few in numbers, instead the game focuses on progression, puzzle and adventure like elements. You control Harry's flashlight with the Wii remote's pointer and interact with objects with the remote's motion controls. There isn't a whole lot to the gameplay, it's mainly solving puzzles and running, but the little details in the gameplay make the experience that much better. Depending on what you do; look at a swimsuit model on a calendar, look at drinks, etc, changes some aspects of the gameplay. One playthrough, a character could look one way, another playthrough and they'd look completely different. You may even find yourself going to different places.
The chase sequences have only one exit and they can get quite frustrating. You just run, hide and throw the monsters off. They are definitely full of tension but overall, other than a few jump scares, the game is not that scary. It's tense and creepy, but not terrifying like previous games. This is in part to no enemy variety, there is only one enemy type. In between gameplay areas, you find yourself in a psychologist's office. You then perform activities that can affect the gameplay and story. These are great from a story point of view but are pretty dull from a gameplay point of view. Other than that, this game is really fun to play.
The audio is pure Silent Hill from the music side of things. The music is tense, frantic and dramatic. The voice work is also better than in the previous Silent Hill games lending the game some believably. Also, the monsters' scream has to be one of the most disturbing sounds I have heard from a creature before and I give them props for that.
The visuals are some of the most impressive on the Wii, building a detailed and realistically styled world. The character models look great as well, though some of their movements in scenes can look awkward. Their facial animation is fantastic and the game normally runs at a steady framerate. The framerate can drop when entering a new area, and sometimes there are a few glitches during the chases, but it's still some of the best we have seen on Wii. The monster's are disturbing to look at and they change depending on what happens in the story, giving around 4 different looks for them. There is no HUD, everything is done in-game via Harry's phone and his animation. This game also has a snow theme and when the world freezes over to allow the monsters to appear, it looks amazing. The shadows can look odd however, even still, they morph around your portable light source and unless you are looking for flaws, they look great.
- Fantastic, emotional story
- Excellent adventure-style gameplay
- Frantic chase sequences
- Voice work is well done
- Music is Silent Hill perfect
- Monster shriek is terrifying
- Shadows can play with you
- Psychological element is interesting
- Game can change depending on how you act
- Visuals are some of the best on Wii
- Gameplay has little variety
- Chases can get frustrating
- Some awkward animations
- Some framerate dips and visual glitches
- Not very scary
Overall, Harry's search for his missing daughter is a great experience, even reimagined. There is a lot of emotion, thought and questions to be found in Silent Hill. Like most Silent Hill games, this is a game that needs to be played twice to notice all of the subtle hints hidden throughout. It may not be exactly as you remember it, but it's worth making some new memories with.