|System: Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Climax Group||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec.8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In the late 90's, the 32-bit era gave birth to the survival horror genre. The two main series in the genre that had gamers playing during the day with their lights on were Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Resident Evil shocked players with its jump scares and zombies, while Silent Hill relied on a more psychological kind of terror. Both series are frightening in their own ways, but, personally, I've always found Silent Hill to be much more disturbing, and therefore more compelling to play. As a huge fan of the original Silent Hill, I was quite apprehensive about the idea of a "reimagining" of the classic title, especially since it would be on the Wii and implement motion controls into the experience. Thankfully, although the game does have its issues, it is still one of the most interesting and unique Silent Hill experiences to date.
Perhaps the game's greatest strength is that it doesn't just attempt to be a visually prettier remake of the original Silent Hill. Instead, besides the basics of it taking place in Silent Hill, revolving around Harry's search for his missing daughter Cheryl, and using some of the same character names, this is a completely new title. Even so, players will still be in control of Harry who manages to crash his car (doesn't he always) in the town of Silent Hill. Upon waking up after the accident, Harry notices that Cheryl is gone, as is most of his memory, leaving you to search the town for clues to her whereabouts while also trying to come to grips with his scrambled memories.
Before you get to take control of Harry, you're first psychologically profiled by the game. You are asked a series of odd questions that shed light on everything from your drinking habits to your sex life. These kinds of mind games are a big part of this title's experience, even going as far as starting off with a psychological warning as the game boots up stating that the game is playing you as much as you are playing it. Intermittently, throughout the title, you'll find yourself sitting across a desk from a therapist. He'll often question you, discuss various things that may pertain to what is currently going on in your adventure, and have you do things such as listing your perfect day of high school classes or even coloring in a picture of your house and family. Many of the questions he asks and the tasks he has you perform will actually shape your experience, adding a ton of replayability when done differently. Some examples of the changes that these things can cause may be as arbitrary as changing the color of your old house to more drastic and important differences such as determining the character's you'll meet or the way some characters will act. This aspect of the game is truly novel and interesting, making you want to play through the game several times just to see all of the possible differences.
While exploring Silent Hill, you'll need to make use of your cell phone. This device is pretty well integrated into the experience and can be used to save the game, as your map, to hear incoming calls and messages, and even as a camera. Throughout the game you'll find apparitions that need to be photographed, discarded mementos from someone else's life that need to be collected, and random items of interest that will all result in either voice or text messages being received. These voice messages can be really interesting as well as quite unsettling, and will come through the speaker on your Wii Remote, making them sound even more distorted and otherworldly. The map function of your phone can also be somewhat useful, although much of the game's exploration is quite linear in nature, usually only involving one path/door to take.
Players will control Harry's movements with the analog stick while aiming a flashlight and turning by pointing the Wii Remote. This works well when exploring the ins and outs of the dark and snow-covered town, pulling you further into the experience as you shine light onto whatever you wish to illuminate. The lighting effects caused by the flashlight are quite good, accurately creating shadows that change in size and positioning depending on how you're pointing it and where you're located. The shadows cast by your flashlight really add to the creepy vibe of the game and can occasionally cause a scare or two by themselves.