Review by silent hillian
Everything you never wanted to see...and everything you always wanted in a game
Striking fear in the hearts of men, Silent Hill has made a name for itself as one of the scariest and best Survival Horror games there are. Sadly, because Resident Evil came out first, Silent Hill is always being compared to it. Some people even go as far as to call the Silent Hill series a clone of the Resident Evil series. I am here to let you, the gamer, know that this far from the truth, and that Silent Hill 3 is not only the best game in the series, but quite possibly the best in the genre.
Unlike the first two Silent Hill's (you HAVE played them, right?), the main character is not looking for someone in this installment. In fact, the protagonist isn't anything like the grown-up males we've seen before. Heather, your average, short-haired blonde sporting a vest, is this game's hero. While in Silent Hill's scenic mall, she has a terrible nightmare, but finds that it's harder to wake up from than she realizes. Armed with a flashlight, the famous radio, and a barrage of new weapons, it's up to you whether she wakes up from the nightmare, or becomes a victim not unlike Freddy Krueger's.
This is where the series really shines. And the latest game is no different. As mentioned before, you are a normal teen-age girl out at a normal mall...or so it would seem. After an all-too-real nightmare about a disturbingly familiar theme park, Heather awakens to find all is well. Before she can leave the mall, however, her world is turned upside down. Stores are pillaged and tattered, there's no one in sight, and the place is crawling with...god-knows-what. I know you'll find as I did compelled to traverse throughout the town to find out what is going on, and if Heather can get out of Silent Hill before it's too late.
To be honest, this is always the most difficult part of a Survival Horror game. As those of us who have played Resident Evil and Dino Crisis (Hmmmm...made by the same people...), the controls were clunky at best, especially when the camera changed. Even the original Silent Hill, with it's free-moving camera, had some problems, in my opinion. But I have found Silent Hill 3's controls to be very tolerable. But sometimes you'll just find it hard to move/maneuver around some of the quicker monsters. Fortunately, there are two different control types: 3D and 2D. I think I've figured them out, and it goes like this: 3D is where forward is forward, backward is backward regardless of which way Heather or the camera is facing. 2D, I believe, is where forward and backward are relative to the way Heather is facing. Now, I only use the former, so I could be wrong, but I believe that is how they work. You'll just have to play the game yourself and decide what works best at keeping you from getting killed.
Without a doubt in my mind, Silent Hill 3 has some of, if not THE, best cutscene models I've seen in a Playstation2 game. ''Well, that's great, but what about the in game models, silent?'' Here's the best part: the in game graphics ARE the same graphics used in cutscenes. That's right, the only way you'll be able to tell the difference between a cutscene and the actual game is the fact that you can't control Heather and the characters are speaking. The characters themselves look great, and the monsters are absolutely terrifying. The realism of the monsters could easily give even the bravest gamer nightmares. Oh, and the real time shadows in the game are amazing, easily rivaling the likes of some Xbox games. Seriously, turn on your flashlight in the game, point it at an object, and the strafe. The shadow not only moves like a real shadow does, it looks like one too. Amazing.
Easily one of the most important parts to the game. Because so much of the game is dark and/or foggy, you will need to rely on your auditory sense to help you know where danger is and how to avoid it. The monsters sound immensely horrifying. Unfortunately for you, the bite of these dogs are much worse than their bark. Footsteps in the game sound authentic. Believe me, when walking down a hallway, your footsteps will, to you, sound like booming echoes, and you'll pray nothing heard them. Gunshots and stabbing motions sound perfect. Of course, what would a section about sound be without mentioning the radio? It is the best part of the game, and part of the reason it is so damn good. When a monster approaches, you'll hear your radio emit static, and you'll know someTHING is nearby, but you won't know WHAT. Unfortunately, some of the monsters are so loud and scary that you can't even hear your radio when they're near. But I think it's a fair trade-off.
I must say, in my opinion, any game with multiple endings is okay in my book. Multiple endings just add to the replayabilty. The first two Silent Hill installments had more than one way to finish the game, and this one, my friends, is no different. Believe me when I say that, despite how freakin' scary the game is, you WILL want to play again to see the different endings. And if the endings aren't enough to entice you, then maybe the added unlockable goodies will be. Just a couple of these include the flame thrower and the sub-machine gun with infinite ammo. As if those seemed sweet enough, there ARE more. But you'll have to beat the game to find out what they are. =P
Rent or Buy: Buy
I realize that Survival Horror games are not for everyone. If that is the case for you, I HIGHLY recommend that you at least rent the game. For everyone else, this is one of the best and scariest games of the year. Easily. Buy it now. And if this whole review wasn't enough to help you make up your mind, if you need that push to get the game, Silent Hill 3 comes with a FREE added bonus: the official Silent Hill 3 soundtrack. Fans of the game will love it, and even those that aren't sure about Silent Hill may find themselves humming a tune or two from it.
Silent Hill 3 raises the bar for all Survival Horror games and shows every other type of game the quality of story, sound, graphics, and replayabilty we crave. Grab your blankie, close your eyes, and pray for daylight to come...Silent Hill is back and better than ever.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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