The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When players first visited the town of Silent Hill in 1999, they
encountered a twisted, decayed nightmare crawling with monsters
requiring loads of ammunition to kill. Now it’s 2009, and Konami’s
remake of the survival horror gem has ditched the original’s industrial
deterioration, combat, and weapons in exchange for corrupting ice,
pacifism, and a flashlight. Mix in psychological profiling and
Shattered Memories is a very different game, for better and worse.
in the first game, Harry Mason is looking for his daughter Cheryl after
a car wreck near Silent Hill. This is the spot where the two games
fragment into different experiences. In Shattered Memories, Harry lives
in the creepy town, and the entire place is buried in snow. Some
familiar names return, but the characters aren’t exactly as you
remember them. Dahlia is a seductive young lady with a complicated past
involving Harry, and Dr. K takes on the role of the player’s
psychoanalyst. The residents of Silent Hill feel real, and I couldn’t
help but become emotionally invested in them. A narrative smacking of
M. Night Shyamalan is a welcome departure from the ludicrous and
confounding plot of the original.
Shattered Memories also
features an intriguing psychological profiling element. You begin the
game by filling out a surprisingly personal questionnaire that pries
into everything from your virginity to your faithfulness. Harry’s
disposition, characters’ appearances, routes through town, and even the
monsters stalking you undergo noticeable changes based on your answers.
It’s not enough to disturb you to the core of your psyche, but it
definitely warrants another playthrough.
Good thing the story is
so redeeming, because most of the gameplay is divided into mediocre
exploration and infuriating evasion. In the effort to find his
daughter, Harry trudges through the town at the speed of a 40-year-old
pickup truck with flat tires attempting to ford a swamp of molasses.
Clunky, tank-like movement is dictated by the nunchuk, while the Wii
remote directs the flashlight’s imprecise beam, and thus Harry’s
Controlling Harry is an awkward affair that’s
exacerbated by instances when you’re chased by meat monsters. Just when
you thought negotiating your escape through the confusing environments
couldn’t get worse, the underwhelming monsters pounce on you,
initiating a frustrating and unresponsive motion-control prompt. Miming
the action of throwing off enemies after being dogpiled taxes your
patience, which is further amplified by Harry’s decreased speed after
surviving an encounter. Instead of guns or rusty pipes, you’re reduced
to using flares to temporarily stave off the creatures. These chase
segments grow tired very quickly, leaving you missing weapons or any
other option to dispatch your pursuers.
Harry’s fancy phone plays
a big part in navigating the convoluted town, with your reliance on it
rivaling that of the annoying guy who texts during movies. Mysterious
calls require you to lift the Wii remote to your face like an idiot,
effectively annoying anyone in the room with the noises its tinny
speaker produces. In contrast, interesting new layers of interactivity
involving phone number puzzles and capturing pictures of ghosts
exercise your brain to satisfying results.
frustrating control flaws and dull pacing make it a hard game to
recommend. Its engaging characters, improved story, and unique
profiling mechanic only make it worth checking out for diehard Silent
Hill devotees willing to wade through the muck. If you’re a Silent Hill
fan interested in a fresh take on the stale formula, this Wii entry may
be the Cheryl you’ve been searching for – but it comes at a cost.
Email the author Tim Turi, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.