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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories review

The hills are alive with the sound of... um, silence

Other than a rubbish GBA text adventure, there hasn't been a single Silent Hill game released on a Nintendo console. The only survival horror series that consistently rivals Resident Evil for terror and atmosphere has somehow managed to slip Nintendo by in the past. Shattered Memories changes this and it's a good job too, because it's easily one of the best Silent Hill games yet.

Although Shattered Memories is technically a 'remake' of the PlayStation original, it's not a remake in the same way that the GameCube version of Resident Evil was. Here, although you once again play as Harry Mason, a writer who crashes his car in the town of Silent Hill and wakes to find his daughter Cheryl missing, the actual story and the game itself are 100% different from the original. Character names and general plot details aside, this is a completely new game.

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If Looks Could Kill

If we had to sum up Silent Hill: Shattered Memories in a single word, it'd be 'cinematic'. A lot of games try (and fail) to feel like you're playing a movie but Shattered Memories manages it near-perfectly. From the superbly atmospheric intro which starts with a home video, kicks into a dramatic scene in a psychiatrist's office and ends with the car crash, everything is so impressively put together that it's clear that a great deal of work went into getting this game just right.

Once you get to take control of the action this feeling remains. All the controls feel spot-on, especially your Wii Remote torch, which you can use by simply pointing at different parts of the room to bathe them in light, casting impressive shadows against the wall.

In fact, 'impressive' is a word that can be used to describe the game's graphics as a whole. It really does look spectacular. All the minute background scenery in the town's shops, restaurants and houses is of such high quality that you can zoom in with the torch (by holding the B button) and read almost every sign, book title, piece of graffiti and crisp packet you can see. Go into the diner and you can read the menu. Head to the playground and you can see the list of rules attached to a fence (with the "No drug use" rule crossed out by the local gang). Go to the school and you can check out students' art projects, the cuttings in their lockers and their prom photos. This may not seem like a big deal in terms of the game itself but it's actually immensely helpful in developing the town's character as a whole.

This isn't just an abandoned game map with loads of blank walls and small low-res items that the developers have just stuck in there to fill things out a bit. This actually feels like a real town which had real people living in it, which makes it all the eerier that the place has been almost completely abandoned.

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Also adding to the immersion in a much more obvious way is Harry's mobile phone, which he finds within the game's first 20 minutes. This phone replaces the radio from the original game and is incredibly handy because it has a number of uses. It's an interactive map that you can write notes on, it's a camera (take photos of certain areas and you'll reveal ghosts of murdered Silent Hill residents), it's a plot device (you'll regularly get calls and texts from characters throughout the game, some of whom you thought were dead) and it starts emitting static when there's a monster or an 'echo' (a haunted memento of a deceased resident) nearby.

Just Call Me

Naturally, the phone's final use is the ability to call any of the many numbers you'll see throughout the game, even ones that have nothing to do with the story. At one point you'll see graffiti in the school with a girl's phone number written on it, claiming that she'll perform 'tasks' for you for money or vodka. You can call that number and hear her answer the phone, then get freaked out and hang up when you don't say anything. All this happens through the Wii Remote speakers, and it's deliberately a little quieter than usual so you have to hold it up to your ear like a real phone to hear it properly.

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Comments

17 comments so far...
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  1. Tekkonkinkreet Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 11:03

    6 hours is way too short. it must be the shortest silent hill title in the entire series then. that's a shame, especially if the game plays like a dream.

  2. mirage 5x5 Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 11:21

    i dont mind if the game is short as long as its a good game (as long not to shot mind you)
    but might let this game come down in price first

  3. DragonOnSteroids Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 11:43

    To the pre-owned section!

    I'll definitely will be looking out for this, but only if I find it for cheap.

  4. Onna76_NL Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 12:17

    Hmmm I'm a slow gamer so 6 hours means 12 for me :D Sounds fair to me and don't forget, lot of HD games these days are pretty short as well. Bioshock 2 about 10 hours, Mirror's Edge about 6 hours. What's up with games these days being "short"?

  5. DragonOnSteroids Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 12:37

    Well, it seems that zavvi.com are selling this for Ł24.99.

    I saw this not long after I posted my last post on this...

    Creepy...

  6. sivlock Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 13:18

    I've had this on pre order since earlier this month just over 20 quid so not too bad even if it is short probably still be enjoyable.

  7. Piplup Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 17:05

    You could have mentioned how scary it was... you know since it is a Survival Horror and all...

    But will it beat Fatal Frame 4?

  8. MrGooseyMoose Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 17:54

    Many great games can be short. Whilst it's a shame, it won't stop me coming after this with ma grubby mits. :)

    What bothers me is the repetetive nature of the enemies. The creators of such a great frachise in horror gaming can surely do better... I do like the idea of having to run, though. :P

  9. RedInker Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 18:04

    You can preorder it online at Game for Ł24.99. Bargain. Can't wait to get this.

  10. Piplup Wednesday 24th Feb 2010 at 18:07

    Many great games can be short. Whilst it's a shame, it won't stop me coming after this with ma grubby mits. :)

    What bothers me is the repetetive nature of the enemies. The creators of such a great frachise in horror gaming can surely do better... I do like the idea of having to run, though. :P


    Yeah, enemy design was always a strong point of Silent Hill, though.

  11. DragonOnSteroids Thursday 25th Feb 2010 at 10:49

    Yeah, enemy design was always a strong point of Silent Hill, though.

    The door enemy suddenly came to mind...

  12. sivlock Thursday 25th Feb 2010 at 13:28

    Never played a Silent Hill but my mate said the pyramid men were messed up and scary.

  13. Piplup Thursday 25th Feb 2010 at 16:27

    Yeah, enemy design was always a strong point of Silent Hill, though.

    The door enemy suddenly came to mind...


    Are you talking about the ones in Silent Hill 2? That's not a door...It's something much deeper...

  14. EveA Monday 1st Mar 2010 at 16:36

    I absolutely adore this game, I got it for my birthday on friday, first played it on saturday and the whole day at school today I fantasized about going home and searching for my daughter some more. The first hour of game-play is chilling and unsettling but when you get used to the 'Icy nightmare' portions it pretty much eases up and you can start to pay attention to the stunning graphics, motion controls and use of music and SFX. Overall I think this game warrants a gold award as, even though you can get through it in about eight hours, each new time you play you experience something different.

    Another thing i'd like to comment on is the amount of immense detail put into the props and backgrounds.

    Oh, and the version of Cybil I got was a kind, nice woman with a grey shirt (done up ALL the way :D) and green tie and short, brown hair.

  15. shane12234 Sunday 14th Mar 2010 at 14:30

    This game is great apart from the running bits and the truley terrable fuzzy graphics.And theres not enough emphasiss on exsploration and to few things to interact with.70% sounds about right.

  16. xs3mx Saturday 20th Mar 2010 at 21:56

    This Deffo Deserves A Gold Award

    So The Game Is Short, So What At Least Its Not Overlong & Who Wants To Play Through A Game Near 26 Hours Over & Over, The Fact Its Short Will Make People Go Back & Do The Replayablility/

  17. Link Lunatic Monday 29th Mar 2010 at 17:42

    I got this game for my birthday and finished it 3 days later. Yes it is short but it is very enjoyable and a brilliant story and some of the puzzles are actually hard like in the art studio how the hell would you know what to do with all the sculptures it took me a good half hour to do that puzzle
    So Chris Scullion silent hill deserves a little better than 86% at least 89% or i will come after you :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :evil:

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