Review by Devin

Reviewed: 09/10/03

Silent Hill 3- One of the best survival horror games I have ever played!

Welcome to the world of survival-horror, as I give my review for the very popular Silent hill 3.

Resident evil has been my main scary game that I enjoy playing,
and up until I saw the preview for Silent hill 2, when it first came out, oddly enough, I had never even heard of the horror known as Silent hill. While Resident evil is a great game, it fits more into a Action/Adventure in the survival-horror genre, as it focuses more on killing all of the zombies and creatures that come at you with various guns. The main things that are meant to 'scare' you, are when the monsters creep up on you, or pop out at you in random places.
while Silent hill doesn't just rely on the beasties jumping at you, it has more overall freakiness to it. From the sounds and music, to the beautifully done graphics and thier more mature based storyline, SH creates the perfect game.

Silent hill 3 brings horror to a whole new level for video games in my opinion. It doesn't just rely on monsters or zombies popping out at you, but it has so much more to it, to freak you out, Like I mentioned above.
As a big fan of horror games, When I saw SH3
I knew I had to give it a try. Being that this was my first Silent hill game, I wasn't sure what to expect, and after so much hype, and weeks of waiting just to be able to finally rent it, I wasn't dissapointed with it. Unlike Silent hill 2, this game continues off of SH1, and brings you into Heather's story.
SH3 is the 'true' sequel to the first silent hill game.
and though many told me to play the first one, before playing this one, I just went ahead and played. It basically explains what all happend in SH1, so there really is no need to play the first one in order to understand what is going on, though I am sure it would help.

Anyway, Continue reading on, as I give my review for one of the best Survival-horror games that I have played thus far.

-Gameplay -

This is where SH3 stands out.
The gameplay is some of the best that I have seen in any horror game. It features tons of unlockables, three endings, extra weapons and more.

Adding challenge and modes to fit any player, You can change the modes of Battles and Puzzles to either Easy, Medium or hard at the very beginning of the game. You can have hardly any enemies, and challenging puzzles, or strong enemies and simple puzzles. Or if you are really daring, put both modes on hard.
Overall, The puzzles are challenging (if you put the puzzle mode on medium or hard.), and really balance out the game with all of the monsters roaming around.

The battles are basically like any other survival-horror game.
Though many say that its better to run then fight, I perfer to lay the beat-down on all beasties that come my way. they give you plenty of ammo and healing items to keep you alive, and you have a handful of Melee weapons to back you up, if you don't have enough bullets to put a monster down. It really just depends on strategy for each monster, though, and which you perfer, to run or fight. But in some cases, it is wise to save alot of your ammo for upcoming boss fights.
And speaking of monsters, theses 'things' are pretty creepy. Alot scarier then what I expected. Each very unique and strange, they all add alot to the freakiness of the game.

The controls are pretty simple, as in most horror games.
The D-pad and the left Analog both work, (I played most of the game with the ps1 controller though, thanks to my ps2 controller messing up after the first few areas of the game.)
and holding the square button while walking will allow Heather to run.
While attacking was a little weird for me at first, because you have to hold the R2 button, while pressing the X button to attack, which often got me confused, since I was used to holding the 'R1' button for Resident evil. Bringing up the menu was also confusing at first, you hit the select button to bring the menu up, but it was only strange to me, because I'm a big fan of Role playing games, and I always tried to hit the triangle button to access the menu, which would only bring up the map. but everything else was pretty basic.

The camera was probably the only bad part about the gameplay, but it is hardly anything to really complain about. Some times the camera would focus around to the front of Heather, rather then staying behind her so you can see whats ahead of you, which leaves you without knowing what monster is ahead, or what item you might be passing up. But you could always use the L2 button to use the Search View, or you could just run in a different area and come back, so the camera will re-position itself.

-Story -

The story in SH3 wasn't the BEST, but it is still very good.
But then again, what survival-horror game features a fifty hour in-depth storyline? I say that they did an awesome job on creating the plot, and its interesting enough to make you want to keep playing. The characters were nicely done also, some characters seem very mysterious and shady, and makes you wonder which side are they really on? good or evil?

The story followes Heather (The first female main character of all the Silent hill games), Harry Masons 17 year old daughter.
Harry Mason is the main character from the first Silent hill game, by the way.
After what seems to be a normal day at the mall, Heathers world gets transformed into a disturbing nightmarish world, after she meets a man named Douglas. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil anything.

-Graphics/Sound/Music -

Here we go, another high point in Silent hill 3.
The graphics in this game are incredible,
The amount of details on all of the locations are surprising, it brings you into this world full of horrors, and you tend to feel like it is not just another game, but that all of this is actually real.
The monsters are terrifying, they are VERY realistic, and will bring fear to almost any player.
The facial graphics and details for the various emotions are well done and are very life-like.
SH3 has some of the best graphics for the Ps2, in my opinion. which puts it up there with FFX and Kingdom Hearts, for me.

The sounds.. What can I say?
The voice acting was amazing, and fit each character perfectly, Normally many people complain about some Voice actors, but all of the voices are done very nicely, and just makes the game feel even more realistic.
Each monster has thier own grunts/moans and horrible noises that they make, which again, adds to the freakiness of the game. Especially when you are walking down a long, (very) dark hallway, with only a little flashlight to guide your way, while hearing a loud and horrifying screech from the upcoming monster that awaits just ahead of you.

Music.. All I can say is that it blends in great with the previous SH games, (from what all music I have heard from the other Silent hill's.) and with some great character themes, and odd songs for the strange and disturbing areas, I think the music in Silent hill 3 fits in perfect.

-Play Time/Replayability -

On my first time through, with both the battle and puzzle modes on medium, It took me about 8 hours to complete. So it is pretty long for a survival-horror game. Not to mention that on Hard, i'm sure it will take atleast 10 or so hours, if it is your first time through, and you like to explore around.

You will probably want to play back through several times, since you can unlock various costumes for Heather and new awesome weapons. The game also features three different endings, and with three modes for both, the monsters/battles and the puzzles, Its sure to keep you busy for a long time.

-Buy or Rent -

This just really depends. Its worth buying if you can afford it.
Or if you don't have the money to spare, you can do like I did and rent it. You can pretty much finish it atleast once before you have to return it. but with all of the extras and such, its worth the buy.

-Overall-

Silent hill 3 raises the bar for the survival-horror genre, and could easily be the best horror game of the year.
Featuring tons of unlockables, amazing graphics and sounds, Interesting characters, and an actual freaky, disturbing, awesome storyline. Overall SH3 is just one of the best horror games I have ever played.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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