Note: This post was supposed to be my Halloween post, to review the game I was playing during that time. In my silly stupidity I left it as a Draft Post, meaning it was never actually published to the blog. Everything still stands in it, and so I'm publishing it as my proper "review" of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Enjoy.
Ah, Silent Hill, it's good to be back, even if I am stuck being dragged into frozen hallucination worlds every now and then. Which actually helps to break up the problem the old games had of "Should I be solving this puzzle or running like hell" by separating the game into two very different "modes" as you play.
And thank you for doing motion controls right, for once. It makes the escape sequences and exploring, and even talking to people(due to the ability to look around during dialog) very immersive and actually good to play. That is, if "unnervingly creepy and real feeling" can be called good to play, which I say it can.
Every time I step away from the Wii Silent Hill game, I keep asking myself "why haven't other motion games done it this way instead of just replacing button presses with motion gestures?" And I keep coming short of an answer. It just...works.
Gotta say one negative thing about it though. It's really hard to read the cell phone text messages on a smaller TV. It's very clear this game is meant to be played on a widescreen TV, but unfortunetly our only TV that fits the bill is right in the middle of the living room...which is not where Silent Hill should be played when there are younger siblings about for obvious reasons. So I'll just have to put up with barely being able to read them. (So far, everything important to playing the game has been in audio tapes or had subtitles that are big enough to read even on small screens. I have no idea why they didn't think to include the text messages on the cell phone in this treatment.)
Edit from later: I've now since finished the game, and I can safely say that it's conclusion is well worth the effort of finishing it. It also helps to explain what is fully going on in the end if you're paying attention, which sadly makes the game suddenly less scary and more tragic on a replay.
I also must say this game is certainly not for kids. It's got adult content up the walls and beyond. But that's actually ok, because the subject it deals with in it's conclusion is a pretty serious, deep, adult subject about the mind and how easily it is broken, and kids might not fully understand or sympathize with who they are meant to in the end. I'm trying not to spoil it, so I can't go into details.
But I will say this game is both about your own mind and way of thinking, and yet it's also deeply about it's own main character's mind(who is not who or what you think they are at the beginning). It's got a message but it tells it in a very deep, dark, and yet simple way. Even the main menu has a deeper meaning that's only apparent after you see the game's conclusion, and will leave you with a much different feeling about it then when you started playing. It's beautiful, and not entirely heartless, despite telling it with a perfectly straight face and deeply tying it to your own psyche.
Yes, it's also creepy as usual, and quite a bit different from the old Silent Hill(yet not, some parts are almost a mirror of the old game on purpose for reasons I can't say here.) But I for one am glad I took the ride.
Happy Super Late Halloween all!