The lights are on
Look, I get it. The stakes are higher this generation - you don’t want to be left in the dust, and changing directions is important to innovation. But you’re all over the place lately; I feel like a series that used to make my heart race with every footstep into the unknown fog is losing its grip on me.
You tried to keep up with other action games in Homecoming, but the shift took away part of what the series fun: the everyman protagonist. I loved the characters’ shaky aim and the fact that running was often the superior option to fighting. I mean, if I was in that position, that’s what I’d do, and that’s part of what makes survival horror fun: transporting yourself to the situation and trying to see if you could actually survive.
Then you released Shattered Memories and took all the combat out – which in turn eliminated part of the suspense. Plus, those Wii controls, especially while trying to get through those doors, provided frustration instead of the frenzy you were trying to create. Although, I do give you props for the psychological analysis that took place throughout the game, it was creative and put a fun twist on player choice. Please bring more innovations like that into new games.
Silent Hill: Downpour was probably the closest the series came to its roots, but once again certain aspects fell flat – like recycled enemies. Part of what makes the series tick is its unique foes that are often symbolic of the bigger picture. And once again poor controls took their ugly course, along with a lack of jump-scares and the lack of general terror compared to other entries. I’m begging you, bring back the smothering atmosphere.
I haven’t played Book of Memories, but I’ll admit that it’s hard to be optimistic when it feels like such a departure from the series I love. Silent Hill has always been about capturing solitude, and to properly do that, a multiplayer experience just doesn’t fit for me. It feels so unnatural for the series that it’s off-putting.
So, here’s what I propose. At this point, I think the series really needs to return to its roots to recapture its prominence. The best way to do that? How about a complete remake of one of its older titles? Can I offer up Silent Hill 2, the series’ best showing? Silent Hill 2 already has some of best use of sound in the series, pure silence with your footsteps crunching leaves effectively gets you on edge – imagine that on surround sound now.
And if you updated the controls to something more fluid that wouldn’t turn off the modern-gamer, you might just capture a new audience. Plus, that plot twist is so hard to top that more people need to experience that jaw-dropping moment. I think the series can really benefit from developers being forced to look at what made it such a cult hit in the first place. The HD remake just wasn’t enough, plus 360 users got the short end of the stick.
I don’t want to see one of my favorite series vanish; I also don’t want to be inclined to completely abandon it. The Silent Hill name is strong and, in my opinion, it has the power to resurrect the traditional survival horror genre. I only suggest going with a remake because I think it will open the floodgates for what worked really well with the series. Hopefully, it would spring forth a new Silent Hill title that remains in-line with the series’ original vision, but also innovate with new implementations to also make it feel new and exciting. I want to feel the sense of fear and paranoia about what’s around every corner again. These days, the scares just aren’t there.
Got an opinion? Check out our reader discussion about the evolution of the series.
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
SH2 will always be my favorite Survival Horror game. The RE series is my favorite overall, but I've yet to play a game that had me as emotionally invested as SH2.
The first time I received the "In Water" ending I got choked up, especially when Mary starting reading the letter while I'm staring at the screen. No other game has even come close to having as much atmosphere as SH2 in my opinion.
Also, the music is the game(thanks to Akira Yamaoka)is outstanding. www.youtube.com/watch (My favorite) - www.youtube.com/watch - www.youtube.com/watch
I really liked this series as well, however as bad as it got it just became a niche to me... something to try when I had beaten all the other games out there...
That's sad since the quality and amount of said games continues to increase the less I have for Silent Hill...
Vita will be deciding factor in many ways...
I love Silent Hill games, that's why I haven't played anything after Origins
For the most part I agree with this article. I wanted to like Downpour but it was by far the weakest entry. And that comes from a person who HATES Shattered Memories. I liked the innovation but they totally took a crap right on the entire Silent Hill mythos with that terrible reveal at the end. That said I think Silent Hill 2 should be left alone. I know the 360 HD version is yet to be fixed but that game should be as is. I would rather see a complete this gen remake of the first Silent Hill with all the story and scares/mood/psychological horror intact. Just a lot prettier.
I thought Downpour was great. Vatra should make the next one again but this time they need to improve the enemy designs and variety, also we need to spend a lot more time in the "hell" world.
I have never played any of the other games besides 1 2 3 and 4 because none of the others really ever intrestied me. I have seen a lot of the but there where just meh.
The series is never going to be what it used to be, especially without that Team Silent touch, so all we can hope for at this point is close enough. Now, when you say complete SH 2 remake, are you suggesting something like Capcom's REmake on the GameCube? While that would be lovely, again, no more Team Silent. That makes me not want to see Konami touch 2 or any of the first 4 again.
The last few SH games have tried things and some even succeeded in a few areas but as a whole, none of them felt or did anything great. While I'd love to see Konami put a capable dev on it, they obviously have no idea what to do with this series anymore.
Well written and I agree word for word Kimberley!
People can *** all over The Room all they want, but the fact of the matter is that it's the last good Silent Hill game, even if it isn't *really* a Silent Hill game at all.
Origins and Shattered Memories are ok at best, and Homecoming & Downpour were terrible and weak, respectively.
What I don't understand is...Team Silent spent the first 3 games building a rich and disturbing mythology, a mythology that every game since has gone out of it's way to either ignore or sidestep. What was interesting about Silent Hill wasn't so much the characters, but how those characters reacted and dealt with what the town was doing to them. Everyone seems to forget that the enemies in each game aren't just hanging around when no ones there, they're born of the guilt that people bring with them. It's why the first 4 games had completely different sets of creatures, save for the nurses in SH 2 and 3.
If Konami want's to revive the series to it's former glory, they need to take a good look at what made the first 4 games so successful, dig through Team Silent's original design documents, stop outsourcing development and give us another game worthy of the name.
Only problem, in my opinion, would be the camera; to me the camera style (fixed) was perfect for Silent Hill and horror games because it can focus on a character or a item and build tension and wonder by what it is looking at, but I can't help but feel "modern" gamers would like that camera style back. The camera is what I feel is lacking in modern Silent Hill games, it always goes with a GoW style cam and all tension is lost.
I personally loved Downpour. Too bad Varta most likely won't get a second chance.
You didn't like Shattered Memories? Really? I loved it, maybe because it was the first time I played a silent hill game so I wasn't expecting anything, but the lack of combat made it so that I felt helpless, and that is awesome. In fact I don't think that was done in a horror game before.
I've never played a Silent Hill game before but from reading this it just makes me feel even more like horror games are going down the drain. Especially when series like Silent hill and Resident Evil can't even deliver a horror experience anymore.