SummaryA letter that should stay sealed... but it didn't.
The Good| Price of deception |
It took me a year to finally agree with myself to get Silent Hill 2 in my collection. For long time, fear of terror I might find in that game was overflowing my interest in the story, but wisely enough, I got the game and soon got familiar with horror-survival genre in general, wanting more and more to work on my feeble mind. But I always justified that some fears are worth going through for the rewarding part of the story. Well, the thing with this game is completely different story. Just the sight of that dark man from the game awakened my every inch of fear I still carried. It was too strong to even consider that creature as a human, and I didn't have the guts to try and find out more about it. And checking on some stuff about prequels, it was as repelling as entering the hell itself. Years have passed, and my lust for cinematics and game's story was still far beyond my reach whenever I saw the silhouette of that man. But getting familiar with at least half a dozen of Capcom titles in due time, and how my every thought of not liking their games turned into placing them on the throne of my collection, I started to think more logical. But what does logic have to do with fear, I ask you? Nothing, but there was noone to tell me that then. So next time I had the opportunity, I didn't let this game slip my hands and I grabbed it willingly, hoping that no matter how hard will it be for me to like it, Capcom will make me believe in the end, like they always did so far. And hence the playing nightmare started to collect its victims... and I was in the very front row.
| What women do |
"Okay", I said to myself, "you know what you're doing, you saw the trailer alright". Well, the truth is, there's nothing that could prepare me for what I saw, and what I expected to see. But Alyssa was beckoning me to play with her, and she was such an innocent looking girl, a little annoying, but it gets to your heart quite easily. So gentle, so lovely, and so lively creature. I can't say I liked her, nor her... snooping around, but I had no choice but to proceed and lead this quest of mine to the end of the game. I shuddered at the sole thought of what all is awaiting me ahead, just to see the 'satisfying' end... or so I've thought. This girl brought me straight into the jaws of horror that I haven't yet experienced (and frankly, hoped not to). Constantly dying first hour of gameplay was not only horrifying, but annoying that I couldn't blast the foe that was chasing me... and honestly, even if I could I believe I would still keep on running. But luckily, that very first subordinate (that's how they're called in the game) was the only one that explained me the meaning of terror. Sure, others were terrorizing me just as well, and were probably even tougher to beat, but there was no horror in them, it was like a prelude between them and Alyssa, and I knew the winner the moment they touched her skirt. As much as nagging and sobbing for the fact I bought this lousy game first couple of hours of gameplay, I started to regain the crazy look in my eyes as the game progressed further ahead. But the thing is, if it weren't for female protagonist leading the whole plot, I could've easily forget about this game without a thin line of second thought.
| Move me tenderly |
Probably the greatest point in this game are the character movements. Not much in the gameplay which doesn't offer much, but in the various of ingame cinematics. It like a scared animal swiftly reacts on the nearby threat, the character motion is as quick as you've never seen, and yet belongs to an age. The movements of Alyssa and Denis, for example, are typical children movements, swift, playful, irritating, everything that marks a person of that age. And all the other characters have been taken care of with precise enjoyment. The game itself varies from typical horror-survival games to the fact you control your character in a fully 3D world with abilities to walk, run, crouch and crawl on your knees. You do not have a weapon that can defeat you enemy, but merely something to hold them off, yet for a very very brief time. And until you solve all the mysteries that connects them, you don't get to reach the boss battle, which is quite fun... if you have natural immunity to blisters.
The Bad| Song me not |
I've always loved the composition that marked Capcom games, from wonderful piano score in every Resident Evil game I've played so far, to action paced music in Dino Crisis 2 or Devil May Cry, and orchestrated score in Onimusha series. However, this game gave me very few tracks to actually fine fitting and not bothersome for the entire atmosphere. Some piano tunes while reading something were nice, pre-rendered cinematics were taken car of with... acceptable peculiarity, and although annoying, tracks while being chased by various subordinates helped to build incredible suspense so are acceptable, but not for too long. I've been looking forward to hear some original tune that would mark this game that Capcom so clearly took under their custody, but no, the soundtrack of this game can be reduced to a single phrase - crap. This would be much more enjoyable game if the soundtrack was better, so this kinda reduced the general feeling while playing it. Especially since voice-acting was so superb in every point (except in synchronization with music due to being too loud to understand, but hence subtitles were included so that can pass), from brittish accent to voice talents chosen for characters.
The Bottom Line| Unique alright... but is that enough |
Not everyday you see something like this released. This kind of experimentation with horror-survival genre could only be expected from Capcom's side, and they did a great job with good graphic (nothing revolutionary like MGS2, though), compelling story (for what it's worth, it was peculiar to me, but not that compelling), interesting locations to visit, gruesome scenes to witness (actually, it's not as bad as I feared, people tend to exaggerate how gruesome this game is, it is horror alright, and definitely for mature audience only, but there are just different senses of fear, and mines are going numb lately, so skip this game if you don't want to have unpleasant dreams afterwards), and a young gal whacking all the evil and setting the things straight. The most enjoyable part, I must say, is when you defeat the subordinate and then come to the rescue of its victims. That sort of "doing the good deeds" part was my stronger side to continue playing the game and try not to concentrate on death scenes as after I'm done with the badguy, he'll wish he had extra large dippers included in the script. Hey, I might be a bit old fashioned here, but I'm still just a human, and I tend to love when I can help someone... especially in the way Alyssa was helping people in this game. The game doesn't bare heavy puzzles, and is rather logical (once you see all the elements, you'll know what to use and where), and only challenge with the puzzles is the fact you're constantly being chased while solving them, so you don't have time to just solve them, but to devise some escaping strategy as well. Also, Alyssa looks really great in the final battle, clothes-wise, and especially in the cutscene afterwards. This girl grows on you with an ease, yet constantly makes you think if she's really worthy all the pain. And the ultimate thing in this game is... you get to replay it. Eeeek! Wrong answer. No! The ultimate thing is that after you finish the game, you get a new main menu selection that lets you watch all the cinematics (ingame and pre-rendered) over and over and over... I just wish many games would have that option (and especially for ending cinematic, not just those before like in FFX). Would save me the trouble of keeping savegames and losing space on memory cards.