Forum > Gaming Discussion > Silent Hill Shattered Memories: 9.5 Destructoid, 9/10 Eurogamer, 9/10 Nintendo Life
Silent Hill Shattered Memories: 9.5 Destructoid, 9/10 Eurogamer, 9/10 Nintendo Life
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Thu, 24 Dec 2009 15:06:07

http://gamerlimit.com/2009/12/gamer-limit-review-silent-hill-shattered-memories/


Gamer Limit review

The Silent Hill series has always been about the parallel existence of two dimensions: the real and the nightmare. While scares are plentiful in the real world, the true horrors begin in the bloody, hellish realm.

Similarly, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a game that enhances the split of the two worlds more so than any previous game in the series. So, does this dualism work in the game’s favor, or against it?

There’s no doubt that Shattered Memories takes a vastly different approach to the Silent Hill formula than what gamers have experienced previously. In fact, it seems to question the very nature of horror; what has the power to frighten and unsettle us? Gone are the desecrated corpses, blood-covered rooms, and, yes, even Pyramid Head.

Instead, the game provides glimpses into the ugliness of the world that we all inhabit, seeming to argue (unlike previous entries in the series) that truth is more frightening than fiction. For instance, a journey through the halls of a high school shows the unsettling events surrounding specific students–events that not only could happen, but do happen. Better yet, by the end of the game, you understand the true weight of each of these events, and it is here that you become truly unsettled. Hell, the game gets closer to true morality than any other gaming experience that I’ve had.

Dahlia Gamer Limit Review: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Much has been made of how the game changes based on your actions, including everything from your responses on psychological tests to the things you, as Harry Mason, choose to look at. In fact, the game begins with a psychology warning, stating that the game plays you as much as you play it. In the midst of your play-through, your actions will change a variety of things, including conversations, character appearances and behavior, and, like all Silent Hill games, the ending.

Yet many of these changes prove relatively inconsequential, and while the game attempts to get in your head, it doesn’t necessarily succeed. Instead, it places you into certain categories, and will present situations that it believes will affect you most deeply. But these categories are fairly limited, and on a second run, it’s easy to spot how the game is profiling you.

Speaking of a second run, you’ll definitely want to play through the game at least twice, not only because it will offer a different experience, but because it is very short. Even taking my time on my initial play-through, the game lasted only about seven hours. Rushing through a second run, I was able to finish in about three. This actually proves beneficial; you’ll want to experiment with all of the different decisions you can make in the game, and with five different endings to see, you’ll be glad that you don’t have to slog through a slow, more poorly-paced game.

The game is indeed well-paced, infused with some stellar storytelling that takes the story of the original Silent Hill in such a vastly different direction that it can hardly be called the same story at all. The plot proves far more compelling than the original, containing a surprising and thought-provoking ending that works perfectly with the events of the game. It is truly masterful storytelling.

Dimly Lit

However, things are a bit less masterful when we delve into the gameplay, which has many ups and downs. The vast majority of the game is spent in exploration, with Harry searching the town equipped with nothing but a flashlight and cell phone. While this may sound boring, it is anything but. Shattered Memories is a game that, despite being an entry into a popular monster horror series, is best when it isn’t trying to scare you with monsters.

But these monsters do pop up from time to time as the world around Harry becomes a frozen, nightmarish version of Silent Hill. Streets become encased in ice, and the gameplay shifts drastically from slow but tense exploration to an all out flight for your life. Here, Harry is attacked by mobs of twisted monsters, but lacking any significant defenses, he must simply flee until he reaches a certain area, at which time, he will return to the real world.

Oddly enough, it is in these sections that the game largely lacks fright and tension. Monsters simply run at you and jump onto your back, shrieking all the while. If caught, Harry can shake the deformed body off and continue on, and though death will come if he is mounted one too many times, it’s typically easy to get through a nightmare without failing. The end result is that the nightmares feel nothing more than an exercise in finding the correct path to the exit as quickly as possible.

While the nightmare sections are far from bad, they fail to match up to the thrills found in the real world. Series die hards might want to skin me for this, but the game would have been far better if it had abandoned monster horror altogether and focused entirely on those unsettling real world situations that players can relate to.

Nightmare Attack

So, how does all of this control? For the most part, it’s very well done. It’s quite apparent that the game was custom-made for the Wii; it’s hard to imagine playing the game without waving the Wii Remote around like a flashlight, illuminating dark corners and zooming in on important details.

In addition, the motion controls are used for a variety of actions, including operating bridge controls, rolling down car windows, and even opening a tiny latch on a coin purse. While some of the more minor gestures can take a few tries to get right, the controls rarely feel problematic. On the contrary, it is hard to imagine wielding that flashlight without a Wii Remote in your hands.

Also, the beam from that flashlight sure does look nice. Graphically, the game pulls off some impressive lighting, which offers a great contrast between the normally obscured world and the glimpses of clarity provided by the flashlight. You’ll notice that some objects don’t look great up close, but the game looks very good overall.

If only it ran as well. The game suffers from some serious hitches at times, especially during nightmare sequences. It appears the game uses door transitions to load, as the game will pause rather noticeably if you run between doors too quickly, and the frame rate will very often stutter during these mad dashes. It’s enough to take away the little bit of fear you might have been feeling.

Looking Back

With Akira Yamaoka again in charge of the game’s music, series veterans will know what to expect from the sound. While this isn’t Yamaoka’s best work, there are some stunning vocal songs that make it easier to stomach the fact that there are relatively few tracks in the game. In terms of sound effects, the team seems to have taken a far more minimalist approach compared to past entries. There aren’t nearly as many frightening, sourceless sounds to unsettle you, though the familiar static makes a return.

With its truly original and thought provoking story, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the rare game that is an absolute must-play despite having a number of elements that lead to disappointment. As long as you realize that this is a complete re-imagining of the original Silent Hill, you’ll be extremely impressed with the brilliantly crafted story and disturbing themes. Still, it seems torn between being a horror game and an unsettling experience, and it doesn’t do quite enough to realize all of its great psychological promises.

But if this is the new direction that the roads of Silent Hill will take us, I’ll gladly take the lonely, disconcerting trek.

Rating Category
9.0 Presentation
Some incredibly creative storytelling meshes with striking visuals to create an impressive experience overall.
How does our scoring system work?
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8.5 Gameplay
The flashlight and cell phone based exploration is far more engaging than you might think, but the nightmare sequences don't work as well as they should.
7.5 Sound
Akira Yamaoka's music is always a plus, but the use of sound isn't quite as effective as it could have been.
7.0 Longevity
Even though there's plenty of reason to take it slowly and play through multiple times, this one won't last you very long.
8.5 Overall
Despite some elements that could have been improved considerably, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories takes the series in a much-needed new direction, making this a game that you simply must experience.

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Mon, 28 Dec 2009 17:26:45
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Tue, 29 Dec 2009 14:07:10

If anyone is having problems with chases there is some good info here

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=381463&page=25

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Tue, 29 Dec 2009 18:39:55
This game is going to look like ASS on my HDTV.
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Tue, 29 Dec 2009 18:51:39

SteelAttack said:
This game is going to look like ASS on my HDTV.

Is that a positive of a negative? I can't really tell with you. 

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Tue, 29 Dec 2009 21:03:48

SteelAttack said:
This game is going to look like ASS on my HDTV.

It could look like this.

http://thevgpress.com/forumtopics/silent-hill-shattered-memories-95-destructoid-9-10-eurogamer-9-10-nintendo-life_214_6.html#comment48379

I hear the GAF guys saying that they are suprised at how it runs at 60 FPS a lot of the time.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 03:38:50

gamingeek said:

SteelAttack said:
This game is going to look like ASS on my HDTV.

It could look like this.

http://thevgpress.com/forumtopics/silent-hill-shattered-memories-95-destructoid-9-10-eurogamer-9-10-nintendo-life_214_6.html#comment48379

I hear the GAF guys saying that they are suprised at how it runs at 60 FPS a lot of the time.

I like how you link to literally the only set of good screenshots going around. LOL

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 05:03:14

Foolz said:

gamingeek said:

SteelAttack said:
This game is going to look like ASS on my HDTV.

It could look like this.

http://thevgpress.com/forumtopics/silent-hill-shattered-memories-95-destructoid-9-10-eurogamer-9-10-nintendo-life_214_6.html#comment48379

I hear the GAF guys saying that they are suprised at how it runs at 60 FPS a lot of the time.

I like how you link to literally the only set of good screenshots going around. LOL

LOL Every other screen looks fugly except these ones.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 10:20:16
Exactamundo.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 10:57:28

SteelAttack said:

Foolz said:

gamingeek said:

I like how you link to literally the only set of good screenshots going around. LOL

LOL Every other screen looks fugly except these ones.

Here:

http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=33214

VGChartz review:
The graphics in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories are not only some of the Wii's best on a technical level, but some of the best we've seen (in terms of atmosphere) this entire console generation. Harry animates very naturally, smoothly transitioning from walking, to running, to throwing some disgusting monstrosity. When he's taken enough damage, he limps along realistically, adding to the sense of urgency. Facial expressions on all characters are very believable, making you sympathize with Harry when he's frustrated with another character or get ticked off when Cybil the cop is clearly skeptical of your story. The lighting effects from the flashlight are incredible as well, with every little falling snowflake casting its own shadow and the beam lighting up what's in the center more than what is at the edges.

This is all the more impressive when you take into account the large, open-ended environments that you'll navigate without a hint of a loading screen or framerate drop. Typically, you'll have a detailed area of the town to explore at your leisure, with all kinds of unnecessary-but-welcome little details in every corner. Some graffiti in a far corner will house a phone number you can actually call on your cell phone 'for a good time', and the textures are high-resolution enough that you can actually read signs without having to 'select' them and have text appear onscreen like in other games in the genre.

8.9

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Sat, 02 Jan 2010 20:57:13

Forgive me if this has already been brought up, as I have not gone through the entire thread, but Eric Patterson of Play has an interesting review on this game.  (scans)



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Sun, 03 Jan 2010 07:23:35
Shit I almost picked this one up today, but it's 70 bucks where I live. Sad
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Sun, 03 Jan 2010 13:14:38

SteelAttack said:
Shit I almost picked this one up today, but it's 70 bucks where I live. Sad

Buy it for $70 and then in 8 months when Dvader requests it for $5 (but only if it's in good condition) smash it in his face. LOL

aspro said:

Forgive me if this has already been brought up, as I have not gone through the entire thread, but Eric Patterson of Play has an interesting review on this game.  (scans)



Oh shoot, I know that guy and that review. He's on GAF and we've all chatted to him about his review. Seems like hardcore fans don't like the game but then concede its good. His review was particularly bad because he spends half the review, a whole two pages talking about how hardcore a fan he is and how he personally wanted to remake silent hill and then bitches about it. Then bitches about the game, then says at the end its good.

Edited: Sun, 03 Jan 2010 13:16:55

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Mon, 04 Jan 2010 15:54:49

AtomicGamer review

Shattered Memories is in some ways a true return to form for the series, although with recent news of Akira Yamaoka—whose music and vision has consistently defined the series—leaving Konami, it may be the last true Silent Hill game, period.

Read Full Review >  

9.4

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Mon, 04 Jan 2010 17:11:12
My copy arrives tomorrow or Wednesday. Not sure when I'll get to play it, but I will own it.
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Mon, 04 Jan 2010 17:14:30

robio said:
My copy arrives tomorrow or Wednesday. Not sure when I'll get to play it, but I will own it.

Finally, someone on the site that doesn't warrant a beating.

For now...

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Tue, 05 Jan 2010 02:14:19

gamingeek said:

robio said:
My copy arrives tomorrow or Wednesday. Not sure when I'll get to play it, but I will own it.

Finally, someone on the site that doesn't warrant a beating.

For now...

Do you have a copy? Nyaa

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Tue, 05 Jan 2010 02:57:43

Foolz said:

gamingeek said:

robio said:
My copy arrives tomorrow or Wednesday. Not sure when I'll get to play it, but I will own it.

Finally, someone on the site that doesn't warrant a beating.

For now...

Do you have a copy? Nyaa

LOL

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Tue, 05 Jan 2010 10:31:30
Damnit it's not out here till end of Feb.

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Tue, 05 Jan 2010 11:03:46

gamingeek said:
Damnit it's not out here till end of Feb.

You always have some flimsy excuse up your sleave! Nyaa

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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