Review by whitestripes

Reviewed: 06/12/03 | Updated: 06/12/03

Best game of the genre......so far

The third game now in the Silent Hill series. And it's easily the best ever so far, perhaps even for a survival horror game. And it’s not difficult to see why. This is a game designed for one and only one purpose: To inflict raw, unparalleled terror in the gamer. And it succeeds, brilliantly, where others have failed. This is gaming at its most terrifying, claustrophobic and depressing. It’s also one of the most technically fulfilling titles on the Playstation 2. Kudos to Konami for creating a world spawning with pixels of evil, complex lighting and sharp textures.

Story.
I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the plot is the main attraction of the game. Here’s a brief synopsis of the plot. You control Heather, a girl who clearly is very close to her father. She finds herself in an eerily disturbing amusement park, and later wakes up to find that it’s a nightmare. (or is it…?) A detective named Douglas soon pursues her, and to escape from him, Heather inevitably gets thrusted into the world of Silent Hill.

Graphics.
Now how do I ever start? You’ll just have to see it for yourself. The visuals are detailed beautifully. We are talking bloody baths; walls covered with pulsating flesh and cages that could only so reveal the tortured ‘thing’ inside. The lighting is beautiful, even so as the game takes place in almost total darkness. The level of detail is so extensive that shadows fall anywhere and everywhere they are supposed to.

Sound.
Wonderful. The background sounds are creepy. Although silent at most times, screams or moaning can be heard all of a sudden, while you are going through the game. Furthermore, there can also be mechanical changeling, chattering teeth, crying sounds. The sounds are there to unsettle the player, to induce fear and discomfort in the player. The soundtrack is also a gem. From the lead title song to many others, it’s one of the best original game soundtracks.

Gameplay.
Two words – Survival Horror. To survive the horror. Puzzles are not so much the norm now, where the game now places its emphasis on killing the monsters. Backtracking is kept to a minimum, ammo is abundant (at least in a sense) and save points are always around at the right place, and right time. Combat has improved; you can fire your gun while moving. Attacking with a sword or pipe is much easier, there are 3 forms of attack – all performed by pressing different directional buttons. Most puzzles only require you combing items, or inputting codes.

But here’s where the flaws are. Controls are still shaky; you still have to press down a button to run. The camera angles are unreliable too; you can be attacked from the front and looking the other way. Sometimes, the game is too dark, whereby you cannot even see what and how many are attacking you.

Replay value.
There are multiple endings and unlockable items for use in your new game. I won’t spoil it for anyone though. Complete the game and you’ll know.

Scores.
Story9/10
Graphics 9/10
Sound9/10
Gameplay8/10
Replay Value7/10

Conclusion.
Silent Hill 3 is undoubtedly one of the best ever survival horror titles. Even though it does little to expand the genre, however, as a game designed to induce terror, it has accomplished superbly, that this game surpasses its predecessors. Here is where it gains the extra point for it’s rating I’m giving. This game is arguably the benchmark of the genre. It will be interesting to see how future survival horror titles take off from here.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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