|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Climax||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
February 28, 2007 - Silent Hill has been one of those few survival horror games with a slow, mysterious pace. Its incredible graphics, detailed story, and realistic characters have helped keep the series strong, but it still hasn't achieved the fan base that games like Resident Evil have. In order to attract more gamers to the series, Konami is going back to Silent Hill's roots and exploring the origin of the series. Oddly enough, instead of releasing Silent Hill 5 on PS3 right now, they decided to cater toward the portable audience instead.
Since the PSP features a number of horror movies for sale, it's only natural that some gamers may want to play a horror game on the system. Konami wants to deliver a game to them that plays out like a movie. The use of the wide screen display will help deliver a film-like effect and the subtle details such as the dirt, the blood, the tiny bits of gore, etc, truly bring the game to life.
The graphics are very unusual for the game series. For the first time ever, they are toned down as the PSP can't even begin to handle the graphics of a game like Silent Hill 3. Still, even though the game doesn't match the graphics quality, because the Silent Hill series always looked like it was next-gen technology, this game actually looks like early PS2 software, not PSP software. The graphics also look different than normal Silent Hill fare as they remind me more of The Getaway than traditional Konami graphics, but they still look superb. Cutscenes are still eerie and present a great story, so PSP fans won't miss out on the spectacular FMVs.
The gameplay has been altered as well in order to match the same style that fans have fallen in love with since Resident Evil 4. The lead character, a truck driver named Travis O' Grady, wanders into town and fights using an over-the-shoulder perspective just like Resident Evil 4's Leon Kennedy. He can use various items in the game and can switch between striking weapons and firearms without going into a menu screen as the main screen itself contains the weapons you're carrying. The screen will display weapon changes you make by pressing buttons. This makes action go much faster and it's handy to be able to pull out a sledgehammer and whack enemies that get too close.
Unfortunately, the intelligence of the enemies I have seen so far isn't nearly as advanced as Resident Evil 4, although it does match R.E.3 and still delivers a pretty frightening experience. Although the enemies I have seen in the preview version pretty much just walk forward and strike, they do follow you through doorways. Luckily, Konami added an option to block the doors so you can keep enemies off your back. Just don't waste time blocking doors you'll need to get back through, however. If you have a chance to kill an enemy, you might as well do it.
As far as combat graphics go, blood is prevalent, but no more realistic than Infection. The animation of the main character and the enemies isn't even up to SOCOM's level, so don't expect the character movements to enhance the level of realism already in the game.
The voice acting seems pretty decent, but the sound effects and the music are what make the game so special. There are a number of great sounds in the gameplay such as a sledgehammer bludgeoning enemies and the classic gunshot, but more wonderful effects lie within the FMVs.
The game's soundtrack is worth owning by itself as the game features 14 eerie tracks from Silent Hill music veteran Akira Yamaoka. Four of the tracks feature vocals by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, who has performed vocals for some songs in the last few Silent Hill games. Perhaps the soundtrack can be heard using the PSP's Music Player, but that is probably just a pipe dream.
This Silent Hill gameplay is much different than others, but will attract new gamers to the series and should entice Silent Hill fans to purchase a PSP. With incredible graphics, old and new areas of the Silent Hill series, the same music vets, and more, I can definitely recommend renting or buying a copy when it is released May 1st, 2007.
By Philip Hanan
CCC Freelance Writer
May 12, 2006
finally find out why that Silent Hill lakeside property
you just bought was such a steal
What the hell happened in Silent Hill that made it the horrible place that it is today? That's the question that goes through every players' mind when he or she plays any game of the Silent Hill series. I'm told there are plenty of gamers who's lives are ruined because they lie awake in bed each night wondering wondering just wondering .
If I told you right now what the origins of Silent Hill are you would probably kill me. Well I don't know, anymore than you do. But I can tell you that even as a professional game journalist it would be hard to keep that one a secret.
Silent Hill Origins is the first game in the series to make a debut on the PSP. It will take place before the town became such a tourist trap (literally...hehe). Events take place in a slightly more peaceful time, when visitors wouldn't be fearing for their lives at the unspeakable displays of terror they endured. If you're a faithful follower of the series you'll encounter younger versions of characters from the previous titles.
A truck driver visits the town on his delivery run and begins to sense that something is not quite right with the locals. He begins to suffer hallucinations, a condition that has plagued him since childhood. But is he really hallucinating or are these events actually happening? It doesn't take long for the town to start getting strange and he realizes that there is a deep, dark and terrible secret behind all the horror and insanity. At any rate, truck drivers are terrifying, like clowns, only drunker!
By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer