Review by Naru2005

Reviewed: 07/04/03 | Updated: 07/04/03

Konami has done it again! A great terrifying experience!(JP)

Back in 1999, Konami introduced a new type of survival horror into the market. This type of horror game lets you play as a civilian with no training and no weapons to start with. The only way you can get weapons is by finding them throughout the game as you progress. This game was called ''Silent Hill''. Silent Hill puts you into a town named Silent Hill(:P). The first game you assume the role of Harry Mason who is going on a search for his non-biological daughter whom he lost after his jeep careened off the road.

Then in 2001, Konami introduced its sequel to Silent Hill, known as Silent Hill 2. For this game, it lets you assume the role of James Sunderland, who is returning to Silent Hill to uncover the truth of whether his late wife who died three years ago is still alive or not because of some cryptic message he received saying she'll be ''waiting for him there''.

Here comes the time in 2003, Konami promising us that they'll bring us the best horror adventure yet in their Silent Hill franchise. Does the scare factor raise the bar higher? Yes, it does, and this can easily surpass Resident Evil in a number of ways. I managed to get a copy of the Japanese version in time :).

Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Available for Sony PlayStation 2 in Europe and Japan. Soon to be released in the US for the PS2 and PC versions.

Storyline and Introduction
You assume the role of Heather, a seventeen year old girl who is having nightmares while she is waking up. Her main objective is to get out of this creepy nightmare once in for all!

Gameplay and Scare Factor
Some people might say, ''Whoa! We get to play as a girl?!''. Well, survival horrors are never scary enough with males as the main character, whether their trained or not. Trained females could get scary, like in Resident Evil. But untrained females like Heather here is a different story. Sure, it depends on which difficulty you pick in the main menu, as the multiple difficulty and riddle settings are back if you played the previous two games. Each combination gives you a different experience as you're playing through. Ammo wont be lying around much, so don't expect 300 rounds of pistol ammo in your inventory in your first time through.

The scare factor is more scary than before, at least for me. I couldn't sleep as the reason that I was playing this game at night with me alone in a room with large speakers connected to my PS2. This kind of scare can live up to ''The Exorcist'', depends on what kind of person you are. And the items you'll be collecting through are use to solve puzzles as before. Combine option is returned from Silent Hill 2, where you combine items rather than to use one at a time.

Graphics and Visual Presentation
Well, if you're using a RF switch(Hmm??) as a hookup for your PS2 to the TV, well, picture quality is bad and dimmer. So don't kinda get angry at the graphics of this game.

It is unbelievable! This is one of the best looking PS2 games so far in 2003. These kind of graphics can easily look as good as the Resident Evil remake for the Gamecube. Everything is detailed right there, including the facial expressions and movements that there is no need to use loads of CG movies anymore. The cutscenes are done in real time(ala Metal Gear Solid 2). Certainly there is a option to switch between Sharp/Normal picture and whether to change the noise on or off. This could be the game that pushes the PS2 to the near limits. Konami is getting there and giving us their best!

Oh yes.. The monsters are more scary and grotesque than before. I wonder who designed those monsters(as opposed to Masahiro Ito who designed the monsters for Silent Hill 2).

Sound and Music
Once again, Akira Yamaoka has done the sound/music for the Silent Hill franchise and still remains in the same position right now. He is also the person who brought you the soundtracks. The Silent Hill 3 SoundTrack is expected to ship with the game to North American(NTSC/UC) customers only. Us Japanese(NTSC/J) owners receives a mini-soundtrack along with the game in a 8cm disc which contains about 5 tracks for us to listen. Not bad though. :)

Controls and Replay Value
Having trouble with 3D movements? Well, you can switch between 2D and 3D in the options menu so you can choose which one is best for you. 2D means wherever you push the joystick, that's the way Heather will move for you. 3D is like this: Right is to turn right, Left is to turn left, up is to move forward, and down is to move backward. Might be a little hard, so my advice is to stick with 2D.

With the controls you desire, the replay value is not much, but it gives you some reasons to go back to it. There are a few endings to get(yes, multiple endings again like always), several unlockable costumes to change the look of Heather, and some hidden weapons for your shooting pleasure. This game will keep you hooked for a while, and you might want to try out the previous Silent Hill games if you haven't done so just to see the difference between them.

Rent or Buy
Buy it! If you are a USA/Canada customer, then you need to buy it. The soundtrack makes up for the short but horrifying experience. Listen to the soundtrack after your done with the game, or vice-versa. The North American version is expected to retail for $49.99. If you're a Silent Hill fan, this is the one that's waiting for your money to go through. But it's definitely your choice and no one can stop you from making your decisions and trusting your instincts.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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