Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Silent Hill- Shattered Memories, available at Amazon

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is one of the most divisive games in the series. Personally, I love it.

Shattered Memories is a “re-imagining”of the first Silent Hill game, not a remake. This is an important distinction, because the two stories differ in critical ways. You still play as Harry Mason, searching Silent Hill for his daughter Cheryl, but the plot doesn’t mirror the original. On one hand, it’s a completely new experience with many nods toward Silent Hill. On the other hand, players who go in with knowledge of that first game will find themselves even more shocked by the twists.

Another big difference that sets it apart from the series is its gameplay style. While it still sends you into the streets of Silent Hill to explore, the puzzles are much simpler and there is no combat.

In fact, monsters don’t appear at all except in the Otherworld, which here is an iced-over version of the town. Certain key moments trigger the Otherworld, and these are chase sequences where you must flee the monsters and find your way to the exit. You’l have a few items, such as flares, but for the most part you’ll be forced to run and hide. The monsters themselves, meanwhile, change in design depending on the game’s psychoanalysis of you.

That is a really cool feature of Shattered Memories. Your actions, interactions with characters, and especially your answers during the psychiatry sessions (which occur from a first-person perspective in between major segments of the game), determine your psychological profile. This affects both the monsters and your allies. For example, one player might encounter a friendly, helpful Cybil, while another player meets a more aggressive Cybil. It all depends on your answers and actions.

The Wiimote functions both as Harry’s flashlight and cell phone, and the phone is a great feature. You’ll need to use it at certain points, but you can also try any phone number you find. (For an added bonus, try calling Konami’s help hotline from within the game.)

Now, let’s talk about the horror. Shattered Memories is much less focused on supernatural and gruesome horror than the rest of the series. Yet it touches more on real fears, fears each of us might encounter in our regular lives.

And more than anything else, it felt lonely to me as I played. As I walked through the isolated streets of Silent Hill, ran from enemies in an icy world only I (well, Harry) could see, and tried to figure out the mystery of what was happening, it filled me with a haunting loneliness that really built up the game’s atmosphere.

I love Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. It’s not like other Silent Hill games, but please, don’t dismiss it without giving it a chance.h creepy elements, a haunting atmosphere, epic moments, and fun gameplay give it a shot.

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