'Silent Hill: Shattered Memories' Review - Flashlight In The Pan!

Silent Hill Shattered Memoriesreview Flashlight Pan

The original 'Silent Hill' is a bona fide classic. It isn't the first example of a survival horror game, but it's one of the best. And it spawned a series that still continues to today, right up to Konami's recently released 'Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.' A return to the first game's story, 'Shattered Memories' allows players to relive the initial trip to that creepy town with new, Wii-powered visuals and a fresh approach to the gameplay.

The Basics

'Silent Hill: Shattered Memories' is essentially a rehash of the first game. The setup is at least: Harry Mason and his daughter Cheryl are knocked out in a car crash at the opening. When Harry comes to, Cheryl is gone and his memory is fuzzy, confused. From there, the story veers sharply off course as players investigate the town of Silent Hill in their search for the missing child.

The Highs

And Now For Something Completely Different...

'Shattered Memories' takes a completely new approach to the series' gameplay, which has traditionally been cut from the survival horror mold. There's no health bar, no inventory to manage, no combat at all in fact. Encounters with the town's horrific beasties occur at specific moments, sections of play which require that players escape to safety with minimal monster contact.

Pretty Scary

'Shattered Memories' looks great, especially for a Wii game. Harry is constantly wielding a flashlight, controlled with the Wii remote, and the lighting effects are impressive. The surroundings are similarly solid, if a bit bland at times.

Good Use Of Tech

Throughout the game, players will find locations of interest that trigger cell phone calls and voicemails. To listen to this, you basically have to hold the Wii remote's speaker up to your ear as if it were a phone. This relatively simple element serves to up the creepiness factor considerably.

Psychoanalyzing Your Play

At key points in the story, the action jumps ahead in time to a shrink's office. Players observe from a first-person perspective as the doctor asks a variety of probing questions. How these questions are answered influences how the subsequent section of game plays out. It's a cool feature, and one whose influence becomes more apparent after multiple playthroughs.

Same Setup, New Story

The story is more a reboot than a straight remake, complete with a fairly shocking twist at the end of the game.

The Lows

Trial and Error

The exploration bits are great fun, with lots of tactile environmental interactions (compliments of the ever-adaptable Wii remote), but the escape sections bring things to a crashing halt. Constant (and constantly creepy) forward momentum is replaced with a mad dash through confusingly laid out environments, requiring players to play and replay the same parts over and over again until the proper path has been figured out. The exploration bits, guided as they are, work so well that it would almost have been preferable to see the action sequences presented a bit better as no-lose propositions. 'Shattered Memories' isn't rewarding for being challenging; it is rewarding for allowing players to participate in an engrossing, frightening story.

The Verdict

'Silent Hill: Shattered Memories' isn't perfect by any stretch, but fans of 'Silent Hill' and horror in general will love having the opportunity to experience the events of the first game in a whole new light.