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About the product
- A re-imagining of the original Silent Hill that turns everything you thought you knew on its head
- The game watches you and adapts to your actions to create a unique experience to each player and intensify their fears
- Implementation of a cell phone as the user interface, which acts as a story telling device, map, puzzle helper, and camera that provides seamless flow with no interruption in gameplay
- New nightmare sequence focus on escape and evasion rather than direct confrontation
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories will feature an all-new soundtrack by acclaimed series composer Akira Yamaoka
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The story follows Harry Mason, who wakes up after a car accident to find that his daughter Cheryl is missing. Harry will wander the snowy streets of Silent Hill searching for answers of her disappearance, but when the world freezes over, he will need to escape the lumbering demons that haunt his steps. Harry will need to navigate both worlds to discover the truth; not just about his missing daughter, but also the type of person he actually is. Silent Hill's debut on the Nintendo Wii makes the fear more real than ever before. Players will be drawn into the mysterious town using the Wii Remote as a flashlight and a cellphone as they search for clues. Choices they make will shape Harry Mason, as well as the people he meets and the places he visits. The enemies evolve as well, taking the form of the player's deepest fears. Silent Hill promises to be more terrifying than ever, bringing the fear to Wii, PS2, and PSP.
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STORY - After Harry Mason is in a car crash, he falls out of his car and blacks out on a blanket of snow. When he wakes up, he is horrified to find that his daughter Cheryl who had been traveling with him is now missing. Thus begins the story and Harry's trek to find out where his daughter is. Along the way, he will be presented with shocking questions that will leave him wondering what is real and what is a dream.
Interspersed among Harry's adventures in the town of Silent Hill are various interactive scenes in a psychiatrist's office for you to complete. These help morph the story into your personal experience. The characters you interact with, the locations you visit, and the puzzles you solve are heavily influenced by how you respond in these sessions. By changing up answers, you literally can play the game many different ways and encounter different cutscenes and endings each playthrough. Usually your psychiatrist will ask you true/false or yes/no questions in addition to having you complete an activity such as dividing pictures into certain categories. How you respond is completely up to you and will impact how your personal game plays out.
I loved the story and the directions it took; it was the major factor that kept me coming back to play this game. I've played hundreds of video games in my lifetime, and this is one of the best stories I've ever experienced. Everywhere Harry went and everything Harry did was for a logical reason. Also, the pace at which the story unraveled was perfect. As you keep playing, the plot gets crazier and more messed up, psychologically pulling you deeper and deeper into the story. By the end, you will have a lot to think about.
GAMEPLAY - I believe technically this game is classified as survival horror. While it definitely does have horror elements, I'd probably be more inclined to call it an adventure/thriller game. As many other reviewers have pointed out, there is NO combat in this game. At certain points, you will have to flee from humanoid creatures that want to cause you harm, but apart from that, you are free to explore your environment without fear of monsters. With that being said, you should still be prepared for things that pop out at you to deliver some jump scares.
You play this game from a 3rd person perspective, but there is no camera-shifting. You are always looking over Harry's shoulder, just barely refraining from being 1st person. Moving around is simple by using the nunchuk. The wiimote is used as a flashlight to illuminate and zoom in on items. The wiimote's speaker will also act as your cell phone, which you use as your map, save file, and main communication with other characters. I thought moving around was incredibly easy, and I was able to pick it up perfectly within the first few minutes of gameplay. Responsiveness was excellent, and I never had a problem with controls.
The majority of the game consists of Harry exploring locations and solving puzzles along the way. The puzzles that you solve always make sense and have a reason for being there unlike some games where you'll have to do ridiculous tasks that would never be found in real life. Personally, I found many of the puzzles to be too easy and would have preferred more of a challenge, but every now and then there would be a tough problem that would be satisfyingly difficult. Some of the puzzles were Wii motion-based. These were always really fun to do, and once again, I always found the responsiveness to be spot on.
I won't mention too much about the chase scenes, because you really just have to experience them to enjoy and understand them. Basically, you have to run from pursuers and get to a certain location. Normal entrances and exits are blocked off, though, so it's somewhat of a maze situation where you will encounter dead ends and have monsters jumping onto you. You cannot fight the creatures, but you can throw them off of you by using the wii-remote. You can also use flares scattered throughout the scene to scare the monsters away temporarily. In my opinion, there are enough chase scenes in the game to keep you on your toes. They can often get intense; although, they probably won't have you scared out of your mind.
"Silent Hill: Shattered Memories" is a very linear game. Your goals are fairly obvious, and your locations are usually spacious enough to explore but compact enough to keep you from wandering around aimlessly. There aren't many locked doors in the game, and when there are, they are usually accessible in another playthrough by making different choices. The town is completely covered in snow, and there are many shops that you will see but never be able to enter because the snow is piled up in front of the door. There are many, many locations that you will explore in the game, but once you leave one, you usually aren't going to be able to go back.
The length of the game seems to be disappointing to most players, and I will admit that I found the game to be a bit short. It clocked in at about 8 hours for me. I did immediately start a new game, though, and essentially played a completely different game with just the same plot skeleton. This second playthrough only lasted about 4 hours since I didn't use as much time to explore slowly. The replay value definitely balances out the short length.
GRAPHICS/SOUND - The graphics are completely based on whether you're comparing them to current games or other games on the Wii. If you're going to compare this game's graphics to graphics found in modern games like Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, then you'll be disappointed. If you compare the graphics to other Wii games, then you might be slightly impressed. While they definitely aren't breaking any records in regards to realism, the graphics are really not bad to look at. Also, the game is detailed. Every poster usually has readable script on it; every item has been designed and placed into the environment with care. I own quite a few Wii games and can't think of another Wii title with this level of graphics. The lip syncing of characters again isn't breaking any records, but I still find it to be well done.
I really like the voice acting in this game; it's all very professionally done. As I've mentioned before, the characters you interact with can drastically change in your next playthrough. I felt like the voice actors could have made these changes even more distinct with their voices, but that's only something you'll notice on a second or third playthrough; it won't bother you at all during your first game.
I've noticed that many reviewers mentioned the music as being particularly atmospheric, and they are 100% correct. The scenes with an absence of music are creepy, but the settings with music are even more moody. There's such a variety in the songs you will hear, but they are all beautifully spooky and worth listening to. The songs with vocals are my favorite, and I find myself listening to them often even when I'm not playing the game.
~Language (a few rare S-words being the worst)
~Sexual Situations (Strong flirting between characters, psychiatrist scenes asking you personal questions about sexual habits; posters in the game of scantily clad models)
~Alcohol, Cigarette, and Substance Usage (some of the characters drink quite often, some characters use pills legally but heavily, some characters smoke)
~Horror Elements (nothing that will probably give you nightmares, but nothing suitable for kids either)
~Violence (nothing too crazy, just dead carcasses of animals found in a few places; monsters jumping on top of you)
OVERALL - I've fallen in love with this game and love discovering new locations and character personalities each playthrough. The story is captivating, and I personally love the idea and implementation of the chase scenes. The graphics are great looking on the wii, and the voice acting and music are both wonderful to hear. The length would be the only potential downfall, but the replay value easily balances it out. This game has made me excited to try other games in the same series, which is probably one of the best things a game can do. I highly recommend this game to those looking for a creepy, light horror game with adventure elements mixed in with it.
"Silent Hill: Shattered Memories" preserves the main story concept from Silent Hill's first game: You are Harry Mason, trapped in the town of Silent Hill looking for your daughter Cheryl. However, while the original was about defeating monsters and solving puzzles, this game is based on differing story paths based on the player's choices and actions. Some of these choices are more obvious - for example, the game begins with a psychological survey. Others, like where your eyes focus during certain scenes, are more subtly recorded. Like in Silent Hill 2, every action - even out of cutscenes - can potentially alter the course of events; this isn't limited to the development of the plot, but also things like the appearance and behavior of certain characters.
The game is divided up into three major game modes: "cutscene", "exploration", and "escape". Cutscenes in this game are for the most part semi-interactive. You can look around, fiddle with things, and so on during cutscenes. In some cases, the Wiimote will be used to agree/disagree by "nodding" or "shaking" your field of vision. Some factors, like where your eyes look during cutscenes, are not explicitly noted by the game, but are registered nonetheless. The trick is figuring out what the game "cares" about and what it doesn't - but the process of discovery is interesting in its own right.
Exploration scenes make up the majority of the game. Unlike in previous games, there is no combat, so exploration consists largely of trying to find keys and so on. The only "encounters" are ghostly images and messages that the player can discover, which are fairly unsettling, but it lacks the oppressive atmosphere of previous Silent Hill games. Until I realized this, it had a lot more potential for scary stuff, but the only combat-like portions are put into very identifiable sections: the "escape" sections. In Escape scenes, Harry has to run from monsters; it's fast-paced and more about evasion than defeating enemies. Usable doors are marked with a teal glow, though they may not be the "right" route or the "best" route. Some interactive environmental pieces will slow down enemies or can be used to evade them, like lockers (can be hidden in) or windows (can be jumped through). These scenes are fast-paced enough to be disconcerting, but the way they're "sectioned off" means that the tension in general is sort of weird. Rather than being something that can happen anytime, these sequences are very distinct and reflect a major gameplay change. This negatively affects the atmosphere of paranoia the game tries to foster.
Essentially, the most interesting part of the game is how choices affect gameplay. The actual branching paths may be relatively limited, but you do get a sense of "the way you choose" actually determining what happens. It's a game where the player is constantly being judged, even if they don't know what for. If choices are made honestly, the game says something about the player, too. It's not just the usual "pick dialogue options" set-up; occasionally, there will be an activity like coloring a house or hearing a story and determining who the "guilty" party is. It's a neat attempt to actually explore different methods of interaction.
The graphics aren't great, but the animation is smooth and fluid. The environments don't feel as scary as previous Silent Hill games, but this is most likely because the blood and rust theme of previous games is replaced by a snow-and-ice theme. The interface is pretty good, especially since Harry's phone serves as the primary menu system.
Overall, Shattered Memories is a good addition to the Silent Hill series while being radically different, gameplay-wise, than the other games. It's not quite as expansive as it could be, but it definitely feels like your choices and actions have consequences. For this reason alone, it's worth trying out.
We purchased Silent Hill Shattered Memories from Amazon with our own funds.
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