Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009)

Genre: Survival-Horror / Adventure | Players: 1 | Developer: Climax Studios

When I heard wind of the first Silent Hill being remade, I was predictably rather excited, as I had always wanted updated graphics and for the tank controls to be taken out behind the meat processing facilty and put out of their misery. When I first played what it actually turned out to be--a reenvisioning--I was vehemently opposed to writing my own neuroses and psychoses over a character who shines as one of the whitest knights in all of gaming: the stalwart and stoic Harry Mason.

I chose to stick it out and was highly rewarded for my bravery. Though it may seem mysterious and magical from the outside, the algorithms used to determine the endings you receive and the contents of your psychological write-up are rather simple, and can yield a good variety of results. There are two parts to the ending you will receive and these are determined by things as concrete as your participation in Dr. K’s exercises and as ephemeral as what you choose to cast your gaze and flashlight upon.

Speaking of which, the Wii version of this game stands head and shoulders above the Sony ports in large part because you are able to control your flashlight with the Wiimote. The level of immersion provided by this, as well as holding it up to your ear when listening to voicemails and calls, is rather staggering and I cannot recommend it enough. As strange as it is, this is probably the definitive Wii experience, for me. Plus, the PS2 version takes door opening animations as a chance to load FAR more than the Wii original. Yes, they were all developed at the same time, but it is clear that the Wii hardware is what the game was designed around.

The change from blood and rust to ice may seem controversial as well, but this provides an entirely new atmosphere of dread, especially in the chase scenarios that do an amazing job of conjuring terror as you flail helplessly around confusing and labyrinthine stretches of the town.

The game quietly and unnervingly presents a reality-of-Oz interpretation of Harry’s experience and actually fleshes him out while making him even more worthy of being a Silent Hill protagonist (as strange as that concept may seem the first time you let it flicker across your brain). Controversial, unsettling, and chilling, Shattered Memories forces you to explore your own memories and decisions as much as Harry’s.

Buyer's Guide:
Originally released for the Wii in 2009 and the PS2 and PSP in early 2010. Easily available in used bins everywhere. I would assume that the PSP port has the same loading issues as its big brother.

5 Sexy Boat Rides out of 5

Nutted by NEG

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