Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Review
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a remake of the first Silent Hill game that released on the Sony PlayStation. Calling it a remake is actually a bit ignorant. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is actually considered a re-imagining of the original game. It shares many of the same story elements and characters, but delivers them in a fresh new package for the Wii.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories follows Harry Mason and the events that took place in Silent Hill. Harry has a car accident early in the story and loses contact with his daughter Cheryl. This provokes him to begin searching for her in the town of Silent Hill. Harry seldom runs into other characters, but when he does, his encounters can be described as unnerving.
Shattered Memories does a great job of delivering the creepy, mysterious events surrounding the car crash. It has fine pacing with cut-scenes, that actually have surprisingly good voice actors, and psychological profiling included, breaking up the tense gameplay.
Psychological profiling is placed at the beginning of each chapter and really dives into the player’s mind by asking personal questions. Most of which have small effects on the environment and characters in the game. Players also have the choice to examine signs and other objects in the environment. Some of these choices may even affect the outcome, resulting in four possible regular endings. Overall, I enjoyed the slow, methodical pacing in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and though it may seem familiar, Shattered Memories reinvents itself with a different style of gameplay.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories has two different styles of gameplay. The first style, and the one in which you will spend the majority of your time, are the puzzle and exploration scenes. There are no immediate threats during these portions of the game, but that doesn’t stop them from being good. Each environment is dark and atmospheric, plus fairly realistic which makes exploration interesting; you will get to explore a high school, a café, an amusement park and more. Adding to the atmosphere is your trusty flashlight, your only source of light in most areas.
You must use the Wii Remote to point your flashlight around the environment which adds another layer of depth. Using your flashlight will light your way and help you find signs and pictures to examine, some of which have clues for solving puzzles. Puzzles are plentiful in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but never wear out their welcome. They are interactive segments that force you to use the Wii Remote. You can open cupboards, shake cans, and even use the Wii Remote to interact with a toy piano, amongst a whole host of different objects. The use of the Wii Remote here is brilliant and will continue to surprise you throughout the game.
While these sections are dark and full of atmosphere, there is no immediate threat. This all changes when you enter the game’s nightmare sequences. These sequences will begin automatically when you reach specific points in the game. You will immediately recognize these sequences because the whole world begins to freeze around you.
Nightmare sequences are much different than the exploration parts of the game. Here you will be chased down by monsters until you either escape, or die. These sections are highly tense, mostly because your only defense is to run, you get no weapons, so you must flee. Moving Harry is easily done with the Nunchuck Analog Stick, and holding Z makes Harry run. Running comes highly recommend because it will allow you to auto jump, climb, or open certain obstacles outlined in blue.
These sections start off fairly easy, but can get quite difficult as you progress through the game. As the areas have been frozen in, open paths will be small in numbers and connected in a maze-like fashion. Luckily there are a few tools at your disposal. You can pick up flares and use them to scare off monsters, or throw obstacles in their way as you run past them.
More motion controls are necessary during these sections, and while they mostly work, they can be a tad frustrating. They occur when you approach obstacles that can be knocked over and when monsters jump on you. It is important that you stay calm and follow the on screen directions with precision. Otherwise you will become monster meat. This is easier said than done though, because sometimes your adrenaline will be high causing a panicky reaction. Enemies can follow you through doors and even drag you out of hiding spots, so the sense of fear follows you throughout every moment of these sequences.
Aside from the major gameplay mechanics, there are some other unique features in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Harry has a smartphone that comes installed with useful software. You can view a map of Silent Hill, take photos, and even accept incoming calls and voice messages. Calls come through the Wii Remote much like they do in No More Heroes. These calls always send a chill down my spine, and even more so when you start making outgoing calls. If you get bored of the smart phone, you can seek out some of the game’s hidden mementos, haunted objects, camera ghosts and even UFOs. OK, so the camera is required for two of those additional quests, forgive me.
Shattered Memories is a visually impressive game with realistic and detailed environments. The flashlight is represented with impressive lighting techniques including shadows cast by numerous objects. Characters themselves are also well crafted with great models and animation to boot. I also quite like the Nightmare sequences in this game. They are crystal-like, cold and hollow environments that definitely appease my odd winter obsession.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories also features a great soundtrack composed by series legend, Akira Yamaoka. Shattered Memories was the last Silent Hill soundtrack that Akira Yamaoka worked on. There beautiful compositions complete with fantastic lyrical performances, and tracks with a strong atmospheric presence. His work and passion really shines through on this soundtrack, and sadly feels like an eerie goodbye to the series.
If you’re looking for a scary and challenging game to play on the Wii, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories fits the description. There is an amazing and horrific atmosphere throughout the game, plus some great gameplay choices that created a unique Silent Hill experience. The game isn’t without flaws, a game breaking glitch comes to mind, but if you’re willing to look past them, you will find an incredible experience.
Obtained by: Purchase