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.
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.
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.