Review by Bkstunt_31
The sequel to the game that started it all!
Silent Hill 3 is the sequel to Konamis franchise horror game Silent Hill. It takes place some time after the events of the original Silent Hill, unlike Silent Hill 2 which didnt really have any direct connection to the first game aside from the location and similar gameplay. Heres what I thought of Silent Hills sequel.
Being a continuation of the original Silent Hill, Silent Hill 3 already had a solid plot to start on. Since the original Silent Hill had multiple endings possible, the best ending was considered canon in the series and is the basis for Silent Hill 3, so hopefully youve played through the original game, so youll be more familiar with the Silent Hill world. As the game starts you control a 17 year old girl named Heather Mason, the baby girl that Harry Mason received and raised after the events of the first Silent Hill. While they both live away from Silent Hill, Heather has begun to experience nightmares of Silent Hill calling out for her. Also things have started to become weird, people are missing and a mysterious woman wont leave Heather alone. She is sucked up against her will into a continuation of the events that happened so long ago.
The entire story as a whole is pretty good. It starts off rather slowly, keeping the player in the dark for a good chunk of the game, but thankfully plot progression comes in regular intervals. I didnt find the story (or gameplay) too scary, and to be honest I was more scared by Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4 than either Silent Hill 3 or its predecessor. But, Silent Hill 3 definitely has its moments where it shines, in either a particularly well done plot point or gruesome scene. I also liked the hint in the game where a contact of Heathers mentions the monsters she is fighting are really human beings. That is just an example of the psychological aspect of Silent Hill that I really enjoy (I think Silent Hill 2 has the best story by far in that category). There are also numerous references to the original Silent Hill scattered throughout the game as well for fans to enjoy.
The game plays very similar to Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2, and not in just the style of the game (Survival Horror). The health system is similar, as well as the health items, and combat is still the same, where you must ready or aim your weapon before you attack. Thankfully, Heather has access to quite a variety of weapons, compared to previous Silent Hill installments. My personal favorite weapon was the katana, but there are numerous melee weapons to choose from as well as your standard handgun/shotgun combo. You still have a radio that will emit static when enemies are near as well as a pocket-flashlight that you can turn on and off at will, to try to sneak around monsters. The light being able to turn on and off is nice, but stealth isnt required at all, really, as Heather can easily outrun the vast majority of her enemies. Other than that, youll basically be controlling Heather as she tries to either reach a certain destination or find a key to a puzzle in order to proceed to said destination.
The graphics in the game are above-par, thats for sure. Everything looks good, theres quite a bit of detail, and the movement flows smoothly. While some enemies return from previous games, such as the token dog, others ones are brand new, with some interesting designs. The backgrounds are extremely detailed, especially in houses and shops, and do a good job in conveying the dark gritty feel of Silent Hill. Ive always found it odd how every environment, even those outside of Silent Hill itself, are always displayed in such gritty run-down conditions. I personally loved the randomness of the backgrounds as I explored Silent Hill 3s different locales. Just the fact that there really isnt a set pattern for those blood-splashes on the wall, or those rust stains on the floor shows a good amount of commitment to make the game look good. While the graphics arent spectacular, they do a good job of setting the mood and letting you know that its dangerous to explore the areas that you need to.
Music/Sound effects: 7/10
Silence. Get used to silence, youll be hearing a lot of it in the music category, which is acceptable since it accentuates the horror themes. The times where you do get to hear music, or a song even, are during key moments in the game. Everything else is filled in with the sound effects of Heather and her enemies. The sound effects are unique since you can tell which enemy is approaching you based solely on how they sound, and the sounds themselves are unique as well. I remember one enemy sounds like a rusty wheel chair approaching you. Overall, everything is pretty average in this category. I do wish there was a tad more music, and while the songs were good, they were way too few and far between.
I was actually pretty disappointed with Silent Hill in regards to this category. Every other Silent Hill game to date gives you the ability to obtain a variety of different endings, usually depending on your actions in the game, but Silent Hill 3, while it does have a couple different endings, only lets you obtain one on your first playthrough, and only has two endings (not counting the traditional UFO ending). On the other hand, Silent Hill 3 has a password system that allows Heather to unlock new costumes and there are quite a few that are unlockable, as well as being able to unlock new weapons in your second playthrough. The costumes I can personally do without, and the weapons make Heather invincible. There is also a ranking system for how well you playthrough the game, and since its rather short to begin with, if you did play through it again, you could complete it in a fraction of the time. Of course, I should also note that you can change the games difficulty and the puzzles difficulty at the beginning of any playthrough.
A decent follow up to wrap up Silent Hills loose ends. Im sure fans of the series and even fans of the genre will enjoy Silent Hill 3, while people who are just looking for a good action title can find more thrills and a better dynamic presentation elsewhere. Have fun and keep playing!
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Silent Hill 3 (US, 08/05/03)
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