Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Review

Platform: PSP
Genre: Horror/Survival

Usually I don't like horror games ... but I've had my share of them: Undying, Silent Hill 2, Alone in the Dark, Obscure (awesome Sum41 intro) and a few more. So getting a horror game for the PSP (which I use before going to sleep ... the last hours of gaming, before dream-land) didn't seem like the greatest idea ever.

What made me get this game ? The fact that the game apparently makes a profile of the player to deliver the ultimate scare.

So, the story of the game is set in Silent Hill (bet you didn't see this one coming). Henry Mason and his 7-year old daughter, Cheryl are victims of a car accident. When Henry recovers his consciousness, Cheryl is missing and he goes out to find her.

The only item Henry has in his pocket is his cell-phone. Using it, the player may view the map, call random numbers seen through town (some funny easter eggs), save the game, take pictures.

Instead of pouring waves of monsters over the player, the game offers a lot of very interesting puzzles where you have to use everything in your surrounding to get through. The most interesting one was at the planetarium. You'll see :P. As for monsters, there are none, only in Henry's nightmares.

The way the player interacts with world is quite well done. You use the analog nub to do the exact thing that you want Henry to do. Like you have to rotate it to spin a radio dial and so on.

The town is full of memories. Every now and then Henry's phone will start emitting static sounds and lights to flicker. The stronger the sound the closer you are to a object filled with emotions. When you find it, a sorta spooky scene will take place and Henry will receive a phone-call or a text-message with something that happened there in the past. Also sometimes he will see ghost-like shapes which can only reveal their true shape if photographed with the phone, also giving a hint of what happened a long time ago. From school-girls working in night-clubs to girls killed in the woods .... Silent Hill has many untold stories.

From the time Henry will be pulled into a nightmare. Huge blocks of ice will rise from beneath the city and creatures will start hunting him down. Usually you will just have to run from point A to B while avoiding monsters. but bear in mind that they are faster than Henry and if you want a map you need to stop, take the phone out and check the map. Frustrating at first ... but after a while you start to see the big picture and figure your way out. First time I tried the game I ran in circles for 20 minutes, the when I actually finished the game I made the same nightmare in ... one straight run. Also if you fail, you will be reset at the starting point for that nightmare.

One of the creepy parts (well for me at least) is the psychologist. Every now and then, you will face him and he will ask you weird questions or give you weird tasks. Listening him talk and hearing his ideas ... scared me at first. Anyway, based on these decisions you will receive one of the four endings (+1 secret ending possible to get only on 2nd walkthrough) and some things will change in Silent Hill .... like the characters (how they're dressed ... slutty/formal, how they behave).

The graphics are pretty cute and the shadows (although it's a psp game) look really great.

So this was a horror game I finished and I'm planning to play it again ... sometime.

the bad: kinda short
the good: replay value, psycho-profile thingy, feeling