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SummaryWelcome to hell..... for the fourth time!
The GoodWell, as you know, this is the 4th installment of Konami's growing horror games. If you are looking at this review and you haven't ever played a Silent Hill game before or even owned one and are looking to an alternative to FIFA.. this review has some SPOILERS in it. So just read this "This game is extremely disturbing and well made! You'll be better off getting some mates round and shutting off all the lights and playing this late in the evening. The more you have to think about Silent Hill 4.. the more decensorcised you will become, thus leading to the disturbing nature of the game. You will be left twitching in the corner and surrounded by stained metal fencing, you will face very wierd enemies and will generally get freaked out by the horrible populous that coincides within the surroundings of Silent Hill.. and Ashfield"
Those of you who have played the other games.. I have put spoilers in here just to further explain myself for the reasons I give. If you are a fan of the game you should know by now not to read a review! Would a Starwars fan not go and see Episode 3 because it was slightly different? I rest my case.
I will highlight the spoilers with big letters before, so skip those if you do not wish to see what happens in the game.
This game is very heavily drawn with plot. Which is marvelous. There is so much to review here as the game is fantastic. Much like Metal Gear Solid 2, this takes a slightly different approach to the series. The differences are not bad at all, infact this game is my 2nd favourite of the four (I'll explain later).
The plot features a man named Henry Townshend, he has payed visits to Silent Hill before, but what is his connection the the place? And why the heck is his door very securely chained up from the inside?! "Don't go out! Walter" is written in blood on the door.. This is nothing compared to what you will see later...
You first enter the game in a new first person view! (which works very well, it may take you some time to get used to the controls, but this is a new angle on the freakyness.. nice!
I won't spoil the beginning too much.. but the door Isn't chained when you first start. The plot slowly reveals it's ugly, twitching cranium and you are left in your room (apartment) to find out what's going on. Everything here is classic Silent Hill, you are going to LOVE the sound production! (but more on the sound later)
I got this game the day it came out and completed it 9 hours later, well, I finished it in a weekend.
SPOILER!! You see, if you put it on easy, ITS VERY EASY! You basically can't die because you always seem to have enough nutrition drinks etc at the right times (but you will soon die towards the end if you do not use them sparingly) END OF SPOILER
The menu system has changed!! YES! Welcome to the new Silent Hill! Finally, the series has managed to latch on to something NOT related to Resident Evil!
I'd love to be able to pick up stuff and examine it and open it up (that's just me though) and i'm quite sure the PS2 has enough power to do so, but this game was released a year AFTER the last, for anything GROUNDBREAKING here you're going to have to wait at least 2-3 years as a single project to get excited.
I would of loved to be able to to more in this game, you can't carry alot of stuff with you this time though (as the plot will reveal). It would of been nice to be able to examine items in 3D and have more weapons which aren't golf clubs.. but I'll save that for later too..
The Hole in your apartment acts as a strange escape from the room, but where exactly do you escape too? The room is the biggest feature in the series though as you will HAVE to return to this room of yours time and time again, it serves as an energy re-charge point and you can read more notes stuffed under your door, look at your neighbours, turn on the radio, use the phone, listen to strange talking sounds coming from the hole... and notice the room looking decidedly different to the last time you left it.
The room is nice to return to from the darkness of the "Portal" worlds you have visted in the game, and each time you return you WILL notice something different. This cannot be good for Henry!
Expect wierd enemies which actually BURP! Use your perfected ability to POWER HIT the enemies with a new strength 'o' meter! (the longer you hold down attack, the greater and slower the swing!) Newly arranged controls! You can swively the character around 360! The old Resident Evil style control has gone, HAHA! You dont have to push up to go forwards anymore, just point to where you want to go. I find this easier to control around enemies, not as nice and smooth to look at if you move it around rapidly..
The animation is great, although Henry does run kinda funny. The enemies are evil! The levels are extremely disturbing (but maybe not as creepy as the other Silent Hill levels)
And for one last good point, this game has multiple endings again!
The BadWell, there are so many thing that I would WANT to have.. this made me just not like what they DIDN'T include.
Some things I would love to see are..
More varied levels which aren't repeated again! You play the first half of the game, then the second half you have to take around a girl and stop her getting beaten whislt wandering the levels you just beat!
There arent any bosses! Before, you used to have an end of level boss, then you'd wake up from the nightmare.. but now, the people you used to know have turned evil and now float after you!
THERE IS NO TORCH!!!!! NOOOOOO!!! I loved the torch! The best part of Silent Hill is the torch! It's the trademark! This also leaves me with this... the levels seem a little too lit up. There is always a light on around you somewhere.
Ok, maybe I am being way too picky, I was just really looking forward to seeming some creepy shadows etc..
The plot is very cool, the room is very cool, the sounds are extremely cool. But a Nurse monster thing actually BURPS when you hit her/it!! You really must hear this.. it sounds awful. I can't believe Akira Yamaoka gave that sound the thumbs up! There are other sounds too which are kind of crappy, most of the badly used sounds are sound effects, the atmospherics and soundtrack are the best yet. END OF SPOILER
Are the sound effects given away on some "Welcome to music production" gift pack or something?! It's seems like the same sound effect pops up almost everywhere, from low budget T.V episodes to games. I'm sure you would of heard some sounds in here on many other things.
Also, henry has only ONE footstep sound for each surface, it's lower pitched when you walk, but still the same sound! I am being really really picky, but i guess these are the kind of things over looked. But they add to the quality! And after such a quick release, im not surprised that they didn't clean up alot of things..
Ah well! The game is fantastic though, but it's not as inviting to play again as the first or second game. There simply isn't enough to get overly excited about. Nothing is brutally scary here, just a little jumpy and un-nerving. I say this now, but at night.. this game rules the horror roost. You WILL be disturbed.
And the only flaw is that this is mostly a play alone at night game, oh, and the weapons aren't varied enough. You won't get the same feelings or enjoyment in the day. Trust me. And you WILL be begging for a sub machine gun sometimes... But your prayers will never be answered.
The Bottom LineSilent Hill 4 is a real treat for fans of the series and people who just want something to do over the weekend. Get some mates over and play this at night. PLEASE! Then write your own review! I'm sure you will respect it more if you do that. You will definately have things to pick at in this game, some sound effects, some levels, some animation. But generally the production is very high, the beginning is exceptionally good and the plot keeps you going throughout.
This game will reaveal it's nastly rusty hook, latch it onto you and pull you into it with a deranged grin. Expect yourselves to be un-nerved and disturbed. Don't let it ruin your night's sleep....
And don't take the doll.
Silent Hill 1 is my favourite as i used to live in a town very similar to it!! But now that I don't, maybe it's lost it's edge.. NAH! The hospital in Silent Hill 1 is by far the best and scariest part in any game, or any THING! Silent Hill 2 was really cool! But sometimes it seemed like the Town wasn't as mean and horrible as it was before.
Silent Hill 3 was great as it latched onto the 1st game for plot, but the hospital was the same as Silent Hill 2 and so were most of the locations and the less said about the bosses the better!
Silent Hill 4 is very different in terms of controls and locals, you are treated to all new levels and characters! But some still have that 'SIlent Hill' feeling about them.
Go and experience this game!!!!!!!! If you do not.. Let's just say it's better to find it before it finds you.
P.S PLEASE! KONAMI! RE-MAKE THE FIRST GAME! GIVE IT SOME MORE FEATURES AND BIGGER LEVELS! MAKE THE ROOMS YOU COULD NOT ENTER AVALIABLE! AND DON'T LEAVE OUT THE SIREN! :)