Review by twoface124

Reviewed: 08/15/06

Silent Hill 3: Things that go bump in the night

I started the series playing Silent Hill 3 because it was the only one I could get my hands on. I didn't expect to enjoy it or for it to be so engrossing, since I just bought it because I was bored, but all I have to say is, leave your lights on.

Graphics- 10/10
Side One: You like carnage? You'll like this game. The graphics completely and totally add to the atmosphere, and the shadows made by Heather's flashlight also add a nice effect. You even leave bloody footprints when you walk through a pool of blood! The graphics are amazing, and they've improved greatly since the beginning of the series. Pixilated blood isn't very scary. Silent hill always has pretty amazing graphics for the time it is released though. They do an exceptionally good job with the three levels of reality. First being normal, the shopping mall at the beginning of the game, then there's what comes when the lights go out and monsters appear. Lastly of course looks like HELL and I mean it. Decapitated bodies falling out of lockers, people hanging from the ceiling dripping blood into a bucket. It's incredibly disturbing, and incredibly realistic.
Side Two: Amen. In an age where photorealism isn't too far off in the future, Silent Hill 3 positively shines as extraordinary in its attention to detail. Lighting, playing an important part in the game's horror elements, is virtually flawless. Shadows sink into the darkness as well as you do, and it becomes increasingly obvious how little is left of human intelligence in hell - the walls range from sterile and clean, to decrepit and unkempt, and finally, to oozing with blood as you walk by. You can suddenly blink and think out of the corner of your eye a Closer has appeared beside your TV, almost just as it was in the game. You blink again, and it's gone. The graphics of SH3 blend together with all of its other perks... and eventually, what little bit of detail is left out, your mind doesn't have trouble imagining. Two thumbs up.

Controls- 8/10
Side One: It was a pain to control Heather every now and then because suddenly the camera would move in front of her. You'll be sitting there in the dark with a flashlight unable to get the camera into the position you need it to see. It adds to the spooky-ness, but it'll have you screaming at your playstation every time. The game is also pretty linear. Too many broken locks. Unlike Silent Hill 1 you don't get to just explore quite as much. It feels like you're being pulled somewhere rather than exploring....a few optional side quests, or more rooms would be appreciated.
Side Two: Gameplay... makes this game's five-six hour mark seem twice the hell it really is - an impressive feat for the developers to accomplish, but not to be praised. Admittedly, the few problems in controls eventually flatten out into a decent gamer's own skills, but swinging the camera about so you can spot the three headless things running towards you down the hall is definitely a pain. However, it becomes an acquired taste of sorts, and the difficulty in controls can even become... somewhat... appealing.


Plot- 9/10
Side One: Unlike the other two Silent Hill games, you aren't in Silent Hill to look for a lost loved one. You start in a completely different town, and the plot brings Silent Hill to you. It's a nice change, considering the fact that if every Silent Hill game had a person looking for their kid or wife, it'd get old fast. The main problem with the game is the fact that the ending (the normal one) will leave you rather angry with Konami for not leaving you with some spooky ending that will keep you up all night like the game itself. In addition, the game was not nearly long enough. It had great potential, but five hours is not enough considering it leaves a ton of plot holes, as fun as it is to leave it up to people's imaginations.
Side Two: You wake up from a dream... it was so real, and now you're being stalked by a creepy detective. A woman approaches you in a shopping mall, and suddenly, everything goes all to hell - literally. The floors disappear as flying masses of rotting flesh attempt to claw at your skin, and your only comfort is that pistol you found just before this all started... Slowly, you become a bit less crazed at the world you've stumbled into, but you never really do get used to the true horror that seems to be coming from the resort town of Silent Hill... Eventually... the only comfort in the world to you is lost, and suddenly, your stalker is your only ally. A lunatic who seems to love the death all around him begins to push you towards an end... aw crap. One of the two real endings will leave some screaming at the TV - all the suspense you've built up disappears in an instant, and perhaps that was the desired effect. The other leaves nightmares fresh in your mind... but only if you liked pain and killing things during the game. Sufficed to say, this is a plot that leaves you dangling over an abyss... although the ending may or may not appeal to your liking.

Sound- 10/10
Side One: The sounds in this game also add a lot to the atmosphere. The noises come at you unexpectedly and sound inhuman and unnatural. Also, the radio static that plays when an enemy is near by adds to the suspense, and leaves you dreading hearing it. At some points the music in the background makes you think your radio is defying you because there are so many scream and grunts and things that sound like flesh tearing.
Side Two: What's that? Static..? What the hell... Suddenly a growling noise, or maybe the sounds of dragging flesh on tile meet your ears. Its source crawls out from the dark, and finally, the sounds of guns blazing and falling bodies fills the air. Sufficed to say, the mind-bending music in the game completes the terrifying atmosphere of a hellish prison sinking into reality, and undoubtedly it's a fine soundtrack for your nightmares.

Characters 9/10
Side One: As annoying and angsty as Heather is, the characters are pretty realistic and you can see the emotion put into the game. It's also rather nice to finally be able to control a female lead character. The people at Konami aren't sexist! They were just taking their time! The bad guys are also pretty interesting in this game...Claudia and Vincent, two characters who at first seem to be devoid of sanity slowly develop into eccentrics whose personalities really effect the roles the play in the game.
Side Two: The protagonist of SH3 seems like a whiny kid several years younger than she is, but then again, you ARE in hell. A girl alone in the dark with shaky voice acting... very nice. If the series were to end here, the final hero of Silent Hill might be one of the ones to remember. Even the antagonists who seem to appear and disappear without a trace are interesting characters - Claudia, an insane women and a tool of some terrible god, and Vincent, neither your enemy, nor your friend in this place where all things go to die. Overall, the characters here may get on your nerves a bit, but eventually, you find some interest in their quirks.

Riddles 7/10
Side One: The riddles in this game leave more to be desired. They're either too simple, or far too complex. Either the creators expect you to be able to analyze shakespeare, or they want you to take a blow dryer, plug it in, then toss it in the water to electrocute a monster. Overall the riddles are alright, though they are nothing to rant about.
Side Two: Sorry Konami - my other half is right. The riddles in this game range from brainless to migraine-inducing, and there is rarely a happy medium. It takes you a moment to realize when these moments occur, but they do shine, and truly, it's not SO bad once you learn these problems, and they don't drag down the puzzles of the series as a whole


Monsters- 8/10
Side One: The monsters in the game are also freaky at first. Whether you're facing a dog with it's face slit in half vertically, or a gigantic throbbing freak, you'll be scared out of your mind. As the game goes along however, it leaves more to be desired, although Valtiel, the twitchy mysterious human corpse that appears before every level goes nightmare on you will just disturb you for the entire course of the game.
Side Two: Well well well... twice my size, without a head, and pincers hidden in its hulking arms, and it's heading my way. I CAN just... run... right? Eventually, they become a mere nasty surprise, but the horror at first leaves a few hairs standing on end at the least. Unfortunately, the ability to adapt being in human nature, by the end, the most terrible monster in the game seems like a large, even uglier version of Claudia, your main enemy in the game, and Konami should have been able to do a little something to renew the horror.


Overall this game is amazing, and it'll scare your pants off.
As I've said
Keep the lights on.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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