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Old 01-05-2012, 03:14 PM   #1
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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - 2.5/5

A little subtraction because it is the least Silent Hill-ish game of all the Silent Hill games. Even Silent Hill: The Escape which I played on my iPhone, which is basically nothing more than a maze escape game, was more Silent Hill-ish than this.

It starts with the same basic premise as the original Silent Hill game of which it's supposed to be a reimagining of, with a car crash and a father looking for his lost daughter in the town of Silent Hill. And that's where the similarities ends. There is nothing in the rest of the story that even resembles the original game.

Of characters, they've used four of the original game, namely a doctor, a nurse, an old, crazy lady and a police officer. However, they've changed them all - which wouldn't be a bad thing, except that the police officer feels completely unnecessary despite being involved a lot, and the nurse feels like she's been put there just as an excuse to have another original SH character in the game. The doctor is still a good character(if not better) with an actually good reason to be there, but the old, crazy lady has been turned into goth/punk, teenage girl that acts quite a bit, well... slutty. At least in the incarnation of her you encounter the most. Not a bad character in itself, but it could've been anyone - it feels like just another excuse to use the name of another character from the original SH cast.

The gameplay was nothing much to speak of. You walk or run around, solve a locking puzzle, get a key, unlock a door, and start a nightmare scene. You aren't left with much exploring to do, as there just about never optional ways to go. And if you are so lucky to come over somewhere optional to go, the only thing you'll find, if anything, is perhaps an extra memento or message. But it still doesn't make the game feel less linear. In fact, this is perhaps the most linear game I've played in years.

Yes, sometimes you get SMS, MMS, or voice messages on your phone - these might be meant for you, or they might be remnants of the past, hints to what has happened before, like a lovers' quarrel over the phone, or threats to a store owner. These little bits of information are often quite interesting, and while most of them are gotten automatically when you reach certain places, quite a few are also optional and require you to check out areas where radio noise sounds get louder, or take a photo of places where you can see shadows from the past. And they often accompany small, unique items you pick up called mementos. These mementos are simple collectables, though can also hint to events that has happened. Other than that, they have no real significance.

And the nightmare scenes are for the most part just running around wildly, because despite having a GPS on your phone, you won't be able to use it much during these sequences. While you can slowly walk while looking at your phone, you can not run, and it takes time just taking the phone up and then opening the GPS app on it. So when you're chased by five or six monsters who wants to hump you, and they're only seconds behind you, what you don't want to do is to stop and look for directions. Yes, you can open up a larger version of the GPS which pauses the game, but you still have to go through the other stuff first. And after you're done you'll have to exit the app and put your cellphone back into your pocket, which takes another second or two.

So when I finally got a flare, which wards off enemies when used, I thought, "hey, now I can finally stop and check the map!" But no. Ofcourse you can't. Harry Mason doesn't want to use both his hands, you see. So you can't check the map that one time you're safe. And if you actually get to check the GPS, it is for the most part useless. Despite it showing a big X at the place you need to go, and shows where you are with a neat little arrow, there is nothing that indicates where you have to go. You can't follow the streets or anything, because you basically run through huge holes in walls, jump from roofs, and everything else but taking a route that actually makes sense - or that can actually be understood on the map, which all other major games in the franchise has been able to do right.

Speaking of safe, you can hide from the monsters! Oh yes, hide in a closet or under a bed, and you'll be safe for half a minute... except that the monsters that follows you enjoys staying in the same room that you're hiding in, and after a while they'll sniff you out, so it's back to running again. Useless feature. Just keep on holding that run button! And try to take the most roundabout way you can, that's usually the way to where you need to go.

The only time the nightmare sequence was slightly good was at the end, surprisingly. This because it now added a puzzle element to it, albeit a simple one at that, and some level design that felt slightly more Silent Hill-ish.

Enemies, which you only encounter in these nightmare sequences, are boring and bland. Basically, they're just humans clad in pork skin all over, with some variation to their heads. And the only thing they do is jump on you and hold you tight, because - as all survival horror gamers know - there's nothing more scary than someone wanting to cuddle you! And they love group hugs! What? Don't believe me? Try it out for yourself. They'll jump on and grab you like a koala bear grabs a tree, and then they do... nothing. And when you die, you lay down, and one of them lies silently and eerily comfortable on top of you... I do wonder what they do after the screen fades black... But that's a whole different kind of horror.

Between each chapter(though the game does not label them as such) you get to be a psychology patient. You get to talk to the doctor, or psychiatrist, and he has you do practical tests that defines your mentality, and you can answer yes or no to the shrink's questions. The game even starts with one of these sessions. These are perhaps the most interesting parts of the game itself, mostly because you get to do some new and original stuff(for a horror game, anyway), like sorting photos of people between who you think are dead and who you think are only sleeping, or colouring a drawing of a happy home. These sessions supposedly has some effect on the gameplay(I tried doing something differently once, without seeing any consequences of those actions, though), but likely has more to say on your final report at the end of the game.

Voice acting is good all over, and the music and ambient sounds are mostly good. There are a couple of times it's downright bad, but mostly it's as good as classic Silent Hill games. The visuals, although nothing immensely impressive, are for the most part good, except when it comes to stencil shadows, which can often look more like graphical bugs. Especially when you shine your flashlight at lace fences, wire mesh litter bins, or the like.

On a more technical note, the game lags. Often. Badly. Especially when you're using the camera on your cellphone. I also had the game freeze up one time, and had to replay a rather boring nightmare sequence and skip a few cut scenes to get back to where I was.

It's not a bad game, but it's definitely not a great game. Most of the characters feels either bland or unnecessary, and only added in for the sake of fandom. Gameplay and level design is downright bad, even though the controls feels natural. It's only a few hours long, which means they at least didn't prolong it too much with more of the same stuff. Audio and visuals are generally good. The story is decent only, and confusing most of the way, but it has a great ending with a nice twist on top. And it ended it all with a nice, little bonus at the end where you got to read a personality report on yourself - which in my case hit spot on.

In the end, there's one thing I'll have to say: This isn't a Silent Hill game. It's a survival horror game that has been branded with the Silent Hill name for the sake of sales. The characters and locations could've easily been swapped out with just about anything. In fact, you could just change the name of all the characters and locations, and you might actually have gotten a better game. The changes wouldn't have mattered at all story wise. They wouldn't have had to add in characters with no actual reason for being there or motivation for helping you. You might actually have had better reasons to visit certain areas than the developers just wanting to show that they know there's a mall in the town of Silent Hill. None of what makes up the Silent Hill games - the mythology, the characters, the atmosphere, the story telling - can be found in this game. What you will find is a completely different atmosphere, different characters with the same names, or the same characters with no real impact on the story, the main character, or you, no actual mythology at all, and a completely different style of story telling. Not all of this is bad, it's just not a Silent Hill game.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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Nice comprehensible review. But here's a few things (let's argue! ):

1-So you know it's a reimagining yet you complain about how different it is?
2-The cop (forgot her name) and Lisa are supposed to reflect yours and Cheryls' psyche, namely sexuality and guilt -- you know, those psychology-tests-thingies from Dr. K.. And the cop was also Cheryl's memories trying to become whole again; a guidinglight of some sort; a "lighthouse". *wink-wink*
3-Again, as you said, it is a reimagination, so why would they want to create a new name when Dahlia's there for the taking?
4-You're telling me SH1 creatures were scary? Or that PS1-era polygons made them scary i.d. your imagination?
5-The "voice acting is all over"? And this is coming from some1 who played the others SHs? ...Really?

Heres my two cents: I myself don't mind if it has the SH name or not but dang they should've gone with something else cause blinded fans seem to get all enraged cause they miss the symbolism-filled world, missing entirely the fact that Shattered Memories deals with symbolism differently and perhaps in a more complex way (with just a few in-your-face moments). If it went on and about without the SH name, people wouldn't be so bitchy and wouldve seen the game from what it is: a brilliantly made game; a gem -- but then again, what does it matter? Why can't they just see it as it is? A reimagining.

But now that we're at it: SH2 town and creatures had a neat meaning there's no denying that but come on it's filled with mostly stupid characters, iffy writing\voicework and a predictable main-plot (am I seriously the only one who knew how she died 5min. in?); It's a great game but not an example of fine art or some BS like that. Why all the crazy praise?!

EDIT: See what you did Guyra ? I'm starting to sound bitchy myself now

Last edited by TiAgUh; 01-05-2012 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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Ah, I'll just go over these point by point.

1. Yes, it's called a reimagining. However, a reimagining usually has something to do with the original work. This basically doesn't.
2. While I do understand they're there to represent certain parts of yours and cheryl's psyches, Cybil(the cop) feels completely unnecessary most of the time, and her character feels empty, while Lisa - which in my opinion seemed like a nice reimagined character, had so little screen time with so little impact that she was more redundant than anything else. In my opinion, their inclusion didn't work especially well.
3. Because it's not actually a reimagining. It's a completely new game with basically nothing to do with either the series or original work at all, so it seems like the use of the SH name and the names of characters and places in it have been taken purely for selling points. Shattered Memories has as much to do with the Silent Hill series as, say, Alan Wake does.
4. Actually, I'm saying SH1 had variation. And that enemies that don't do enemy like things aren't exactly scary. And yes, I would say that the enemies in the original game was actually scarier than this. At least they tried to hurt you.
5. It seems you missed a word. "Voice acting is good all over".

They've got symbolism in spades, but they don't have anything of the mythos or the atmosphere that generally are what makes a Silent Hill game. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with the original game except for reusing names from SH. Take an example:

If I released a title called Zelda: Ocarina of Time Redux, and marketed it as a reimagining of the original game... Had it start out with a boy living in the woods being woken up by a faerie, and the game had a lot of the names from the original work in it... And then changed the story into a murder mystery with the King of Hyrule being dead, Zelda being an important witness, and Ganondorf the main suspect? Would that still be a Zelda game? Would I really be able to call that a "reimagining" of the original work? I really don't think that would hold up, yet it's essentially the same as what has been done with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The only reason it has the SH name is because that makes it sell better.

Now, don't mistake me for a Silent Hill fanboy. Sure, I like the games, and have played all the major ones except for Homecoming(though I've tried it a little), but they have more than their fair share of flaws. Even SH2, which people praise up and down to no extent. Yes, it has a lot of symbolism tied in neatly with the story line, but it has a lot of simply boring gameplay too. (I was one of the many who didn't understand how she died until the end, I must admit, though. Hehe! )

I loved the idea of Shattered Memories - a reimagining of the original game, with all combat removed. But the execution was poor, and it only has the Silent Hill name for selling points, as I've said a few times now. If at least it hadn't tried to fool us into thinking it was supposed to be a SH game(and do such a poor job of it) I would've given it a slightly better score of 3/5, half a point more, but still not more because it's simply not a great game. Gameplay is stale and predictable, story is only decent, characters are for the most part hollow, and the parts that are supposed to be scary and exciting are only boring and frustrating.

Haha, at least you don't sound as bitchy as I do. xD
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:39 AM   #4
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5- Indeed I missed, wth. Maybe cuz it was late and stuff...gotta have my beauty sleep ya know.
But allow me to question your opinions again :

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reimagine
Quote:
Definition of REIMAGINE

transitive verb
: to imagine again or anew; especially: to form a new conception of : re-create
1 and 3 - They have the father-looking-for-young-daughter plot and they have the weird foggy town with monsters. What more is SH? The cult? That wasn't in the 2nd aswell. They changed the meaning of everything, creating something anew; with a (mostly) blank slate. Zelda Redux would only need to have a "Zelda" and a "Link", the rest would be up to the dev team. It's not like the original game wouldn't be there anymore.
4- We seriously need variation from stuff we're running from? You're not exactly trying to figure out how to kill the mofos; SH1 creatures were only varied design-wise (size and uglyness) since they were all slow and clumsy (cept the oh-so-original zombie dog). And too many 'hurting' and/or 'cuddling' always ends the same way = death, so what's the difference here?
2- I guess you find the story just decent cause you didn't give a f about the characters so I have nothing to say about that since I quite think some of their subtleties passed a bit over your head (not calling you dumb or anything dude, even if you are a little *).

What mythos? The 2nd one and Homecoming were nothing like the 1st and 3rd (haven't played the 4th or psp games).
The only thing they had in common was the mysterious town and the way it messed with the characters' inner-demons. Wasn't that in S.Memories aswell? The difference was HOW it did that -- something that was just vaguely explained in the 3rd...by a nutty bookworm that only speaks in riddles --, and then changed the number of characters actually being affected to just 1: Cheryl\Harry.

I guess in the end it's all up to our understanding of what a reimagination is supposed to represent. You say you aren't a SH fanboy and I believe you (liar liar!) so maybe you just found it sucky overall, despite being a SH game or not (even tho I get the feeling you didn't like it just cause you were expecting something else, mythos-wise, as you say).

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Btw, if you played the 4th: how does it compare to the others?
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:50 PM   #5
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Hey again!

And no, I'm not a Silent Hill fanboy. But I used to be, about five years ago. At that point I played through all of them, tried to get all the endings, read a lot, etc. These days I'm not so hyped up about them, and have no problem seeing their flaws and shortcomings where they are. Which is probably why I haven't played Shattered Memories before now, and have yet to play Homecoming. Then again, maybe there's a little bit of "fanboy" left in me since I still take interest in the series, hehe!

To say I don't "give a f" is pretty wrong. As I already stated, I really liked Dr. Kaufmann, and though I didn't express it very well in the first post, I also liked Dahlia's and Lisa's characters. I didn't like the implementation of the latter though, and I didn't like how they just used the original characters' names for reasons I've already explained. The revelation at the end of the game was very nice in my opinion, but the story itself was still only decent. The idea wasn't bad, but it was for the most part poorly executed.

SH1, SH3, and SH0/Origins are those directly connected with each other story wise. Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 4 also have pretty direct connections, despite not being direct sequels regarding the main stories. And SH4 has direct connection to SH1.

The cult is actually in SH2, too, though not by means of a cult member. Most direct example of that is Pyramid Head himself. Yes, he's a representation of James' guilt and feelings of wanting to be punished, but that representation has taken on the form of the cult's executioner(which is one legitimate reason to have it in Homecoming, though that was probably more about fan service than anything else). You also have pretty big references to the gods that the cult worships and their rituals, even more so if you also play the extra scenario that came with Restless Dreams/Inner Fears - but also in the main game.

As for the monsters - yes, variety is needed. Even zombie games has more variety than this. As for SH1, the enemies had different ways of attacking and different was of moving - and unlike in Shattered Memories, they actually attacked. They tried to hurt you. The naked men in Shattered Memories didn't. For a supposedly horror game, that's not very scary.

Yes, you might be right about that this might be a bit about ones personal understanding of a reimagining. In my opinion though, when the game could've easily had any title slapped onto it other than "Silent Hill", then it doesn't actually work well as a reimagining.


As for SH4, it's overall a good game. You have to revisit all the areas once though, which can be a bit boring. But there's a lot of nice things with it. It has perhaps the most creepy antagonist of the series, and as I mentioned earlier, som direct ties to SH2. But the reuse of areas in the game is what has bothered most people about the game, and with good reason. However, if you can get through that, it's a nice game.

Also, I just found out that the developers of Shattered Memories are the same developers who created SH0/Origins. Which, in my opinion, is the worst Silent Hill game made(not counting Homecoming as I haven't played that, nor counting spinoff games).
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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Well, I've always found the references in SH2 kinda useless background story since you could pretty much guess wth piramide head was all about a few encounters in. I also remember that there was a secret ending where you could resurrect his wife with some gem in a island and, if I'm not mistaken, there was something cult-y about it. (But) It all felt more like a "hey there was a previous game ya know?" wink than something proper.

Yeah, we kinda end up agreeing to disagree on most things but hey t'was a neat discussion nonetheless, even if mighty bitchy.

Btw dunno if I missed it but I really don't wanna read that wall of text all over again which platform you played it? Cause it worked like a charm on my PSP so no lag whatsoever. Oh, and if you like subtlety then Homecoming is not for you -- it even has a few SAW-like moments.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:50 AM   #7
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I think Shattered Memories is the best SH game yet (although together with the second one). The things you say and do in the psychology tests matters a lot during the game (and I love the twist in the end, which you can actually get hints of earlier). The whole game is like a psychological evaluation of you, the player (which is sort of what SH2 was aiming for). Brilliant.

I'm really looking forward to Downpour.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:59 AM   #8
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I'm on the fence about Downpour. It has some of the elements from S.Memories which is neat-o and all but watching some of the trailers it just seems like it's going the check-list pathway; the "what do fans want? let's put it" reasoning that never works.

I mean, look at S.Memories. It did it's own thing and for that it was great (I know Guyra agrees with me ).
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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Back from almost two weeks without internet!

Regarding Downpour, I'm with TiAgUh. It looks like it might be another "fan service game". We'll have to see. (And yes, you have actually made me feel slightly different about SM, mate. lol! )
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgUh View Post
I'm on the fence about Downpour. It has some of the elements from S.Memories which is neat-o and all but watching some of the trailers it just seems like it's going the check-list pathway; the "what do fans want? let's put it" reasoning that never works.
There is a reason why it doesn't work. By "fans" they mean bunch of guys developing the game, not the masses who will play it. If they really want to give what real fans want than send the series back to Japan.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:00 PM   #11
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I'm gonna have to strongly disagree with you on this one, OP. Did you play the original Silent Hill 1 on the PSX and get all the endings??? In one ending...

***SPOILER ALERT***

Harry DIES in a car crash. It turns out the whole game was a dream in his head, and the monsters weren't real. And in his passing, he leaves behind his daughter Cheryl. And in SM, we find out the game is about Cheryl struggling with the emotion of Harry's death from a car crash which happened in the old PSX game.

***END SPOILERS***

Regardless of whether or not the developers want to call "Shattered Memories" a new game or a re-imagining, SM does have perfect continuity with Silent Hill 1's "bad" ending. I'd say the game is pretty Silent Hill.

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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^ That's an interesting way to put it. I'm eager to see their reimagining of SH2 with the dog ending.

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If they really want to give what real fans want than send the series back to Japan.
Team Silent disbanded long ago (cause the 4th one received average scores), so by "back to Japan" you mean back to the fixed cameras and all that? Whatever the case, letting other studios have a go with the franchise is totally fine by me -- we've gotten Shattered Memories out of it didn't we --, but yeah stinkers are guaranteed here and there.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgUh View Post
Team Silent disbanded long ago (cause the 4th one received average scores), so by "back to Japan" you mean back to the fixed cameras and all that? Whatever the case, letting other studios have a go with the franchise is totally fine by me -- we've gotten Shattered Memories out of it didn't we --, but yeah stinkers are guaranteed here and there.
The only reason I feel like sending the game back to Japan is country's ability to associate emotions with horror. They come up with great stories & scares. I know 4th got average reviews, but still it had an interesting story.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgUh View Post
Team Silent disbanded long ago (cause the 4th one received average scores), so by "back to Japan" you mean back to the fixed cameras and all that?
Just thought I'd pipe up and say: what!? They disbanded just because the forth game received mixed reviews? That's pretty lame. They had a good track record, what with SH1, 2 and 3... One weak game shouldn't have finished them off! Unless there were some other reasons as well; such as debts etc. Haven't the current IP holders (forgotten their name) made more stinkers in comparison?

I've only played SH 1, 2, 3 and Homecoming, so I'm not 100% clued up on the series and its history like I should be. I am planning on playing the fourth, despite its criticisms, Shattered Memories and Downpour, though I'll most likely be renting the latter. I am looking forward to this HD collection too!

And I agree with Sandman: the series needs to return back to its original creators in Japan! At least their horror is more subtle compared to the typical Hollywood scares and shock tactics that plague games and movies!
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyShinigami View Post
Just thought I'd pipe up and say: what!? They disbanded just because the forth game received mixed reviews? That's pretty lame. They had a good track record, what with SH1, 2 and 3... One weak game shouldn't have finished them off! Unless there were some other reasons as well; such as debts etc. Haven't the current IP holders (forgotten their name) made more stinkers in comparison?
There multiple stories on why they disbanded. Most acceptable one is that Konami itself disbanded the team. However, SH4 was not the reason.

Disbanding does not mean they are dead or there aren't other guys there.

Keiichiro Toyama, director of SH1, went on to direct Siren/Forbidden Siren, another survival horror. Although not as good as SH, he did pretty neat job with Siren.

Quote:
I've only played SH 1, 2, 3 and Homecoming, so I'm not 100% clued up on the series and its history like I should be. I am planning on playing the fourth, despite its criticisms, Shattered Memories and Downpour, though I'll most likely be renting the latter. I am looking forward to this HD collection too!
Trust me SH4 isn't as bad as people say it is. It is pretty good in terms of story line. & the average ratings it got are around 70% plus.

Quote:
And I agree with Sandman: the series needs to return back to its original creators in Japan! At least their horror is more subtle compared to the typical Hollywood scares and shock tactics that plague games and movies!
thanks.

I just would like to add one more praise to the Japanese: Fatal Frame
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:20 PM   #16
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SH4 is a good game. On the downside it got a bit repetitive towards the end and the fact that you had to walk back to a storage chest in order to switch keys all the time got really boring fast. But the game had an interesting story which was brilliantly told through player interactions.

The only ones I haven't played are Origins and Homecoming. I'm a bit sceptic about Homecoming with the "ex-military is taking out the trash with big guns"-premise. I should get it some day though and would be interested to hear opinions about it from people who played it.

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Old 02-01-2012, 01:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
There multiple stories on why they disbanded. Most acceptable one is that Konami itself disbanded the team. However, SH4 was not the reason.
You can get as much reports that it was cause Konami didn't liked the direction the 4th one headed (and scores) as otherwise, like outsouring for monetary purposes or whatever. Either way, the reason doesn't matter = they've gone their separate routes.

By naming those 2 you're just showing how Japan isn't better in any way. Fatal Frame is all about the jump scares and Siren games only have the creepy background story going for it, while others such as R.E. or Clock Tower are a joke story-wise. There are no other horror games that Japanese devs really excelled at, by marrying neatly the world and scares as you said before, beside the SH series (so far).

And like Henke said, we too can name games from the states or elsewhere that delivered one thing or the other, and maybe both.

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(...) with the "ex-military is taking out the trash with big guns"-premise.
Then you should play it *wink-wink*. Although it's more action-focused than previous ones, yes.

Last edited by TiAgUh; 02-01-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:29 AM   #18
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I don't think there's a need to create another thread for this.

5min. of brand new Downpour gameplay (no spoilers)

It's not looking so good:
Spoiler:
Fighting looks awful -- but then again, it always did --, and I hate when interactable objects flash like that. And what's with the loud heartbeat? Anyway, the graphics seem nice (way to dark to tell right now).
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #19
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Wow, the sound is amazing. I think it seems really promising.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:23 AM   #20
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Wow, the sound is amazing.
Wut?
Anyway, IGN just gave it a 4.5 out of 10 (their video review - http://uk.ign.com/videos/2012/03/11/...review?show=HD), while others seem to be giving it a 7ish.
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