When it comes down to it, Silent Hill is one of – if not my absolute – favorite game series. Silent Hill 3 was the first game I played in the series and it opened me up to a whole new level of storytelling. The puzzles were amazing and frankly it was scary as hell. Ever since then I’ve been in love with the series. I’ve played nearly every game in the series and because of that, I know that there have been some mistakes along the way. It happens in every series. There are always games that die hard fans aren’t going to enjoy. The problem with Silent Hill is that this has been happening for a long time and I think I realized why.
For the longest time, Silent Hill was a Japanese take on American horror. That’s what made it so familiar and scary at the same time. But after the fourth game, the development moved to European and American developers. Then it became an American take on American horror. It became stale and boring. The developers relied too much on overused tricks like Pyramid Head to draw in people. The only exception to the rule was Climax, who made two decent, if not really good Silent Hill games.
Moving towards the future though, it looked grim for Silent Hill fans. I thought the series to be dead for the longest time. Lo and behold though it’s still alive and kicking. Coming from Hideo Kojima and Del Toro is a new Silent Hill game. Now I can’t help but wonder how involved these two will actually be in the development of the game. Del Toro is busy with movies and Kojima still has to finish Metal Gear. That said, Kojima has stated several times earlier this year that he wanted to work on a Silent Hill game. And he seemed to be pretty involved in the creation of the teaser that appeared on the PSN over GamesCom. So maybe, just maybe there’s hope that he’ll be involved as more than just a name. I would love to see what his take on horror would be.
And then there’s Norman Reedus. Daryl has pretty much been the only well written character on The Walking Dead since the show began so I’m surprised that his fame has taken off somewhat. I do wonder why or how he wound up doing this project though. I suppose the money is good enough. Even so, I hope he brings a good amount of acting to the main character.
I hope when TGS comes around we’ll get another look (or maybe another fun teaser) at the game. I would love to know how far in development the game was, so I know how long I have to wait.
And because I love Silent Hill so much I’m going to do a short ranking of the series from least favorite to favorite. Any Silent Hill fan will probably be able to guess the order of the games and that’s fine. Hope you enjoy anyways. The only game you won’t see on this list is the Vita game Book of Memories because I never got around to playing it.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Easily my least favorite game in the series. The graphics were piss poor for a PS3 game and the animation of the characters was awful. Beyond that, the game’s combat shifted into a third person action game. It made everything extremely easy and it just wasn’t scary. The story was pretty bad as well. The twist they put on the cultists and other familiar elements of Silent Hill felt desperate and boring, like they couldn’t come up with anything original. Some of the characters themselves were vaguely interesting and the game had some decent puzzles. Aside from that this is easily the one Silent Hill game you should avoid.
Silent Hill: Downpour
I never did get to finish this one. Something about it didn’t click with me. The fixed angles and look of Silent Hill fit, but it was still vaguely third person. The combat wasn’t good and the story of Murphy never connected with me. I wouldn’t say avoid this one, but it’s not a must play either.
Silent Hill 4: The Room
This one is pretty divisive between fans. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the first person stuff in Henry’s room. Beyond that, I felt that Henry himself was easily the most boring protagonist we’ve had in a Silent Hill game yet. I realize the story isn’t Henry’s, but forcing us to play as a blank slate for the entire game isn’t how it should be. The puzzles and enemies were cool and Eileen was an interesting character. Walter as the villain was really cool as well. My only other gripe would be the fact that you were forced to retread all of the levels again halfway through the game.
Silent Hill 1
The original. It doesn’t really hold up as well as you’d hope, but it’s worth a play just for the fact that it started this whole thing. The puzzles are still awesome and the boss fights are crazy. The voice acting is terrible, but if you’re looking for some nostalgia I’d pick it up.
Silent Hill: Origins
While I wasn’t too pleased with the fact that the next Silent Hill game would be on PSP and go back to the whole cultist story that we dealt with in Silent Hill 1 and 3. That said, the game turned out to be way more interesting than I could have hoped for. It played like a Silent Hill game and the monster design was really cool. The areas were really fun as well and the boss battles were great as well. The game came out later on the PS2 so I would definitely check it out.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
This game is half the reason I bought a Wii (the other half being Smash Bros). I was all for the idea of a reboot of the series and Climax brought the story of Silent Hill 1 into new light. I loved the way everything changed on the fly and adapted to your play style. The fact that there was no combat was a little disappointing, but it did make the chases more terrifying. The characters were really well written and the ending was enjoyable too. Like Origins, this game came out on the PS2 later on, but I would highly recommend playing it on the Wii. The Wiimote controls the flashlight and the radio/cell phone calls come out through the speaker and make it so much more immersive.
Silent Hill 2
SURPRISE! Or maybe not. Maybe I’ve talked about all this before. I love Silent Hill 2. Everything came together in this one. Pyramid Head became a staple of the series because of this game. It’s easily one of the most disturbing horror games of all time and held up as one of the best games of all time. There’s absolutely no reason to avoid this game. If you were to play one Silent Hill game in your life time, make it Silent Hill 2.
Silent Hill 3
I always have a soft spot in my heart for the first game I’ve played in a series. Silent Hill 3 was what introduced me to the series. I love all the characters (especially Vincent and Heather). It has some of the scarier moments in gaming. From the carnival to the fun house everything is terrifying. The story was awesome. There’s so much to unpack about this game, but above all else I would say it’s better to play it and experience it for yourself.