Silent Hill Shattered Memories
After a controversial Silent Hill 4: The Room, the discreet Origins and the half-false step made by Homecoming, few still believed in a possible recovery or positive renewal of the saga. Here, however, the boys of Climax came into play, who tried to rejuvenate some of the mechanics of the previous episodes in favor of new and interesting concepts of gameplay. Let's see what the study led by Tom Hulet has reserved for us in their interpretation of the Silent Hill. The programmers then decided to take a step back and pause on the less pretentious consoles from a technical point of view: the new Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was designed only for PSP, Wii and PS2. Of these versions the version for the Sony laptop will be analyzed.
A cold story
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is not a remake of the first episode but a different vision of how to develop such a particular game. The only elements that bind the two chapters are the names of the characters, the city and the narrative incipit which sees the protagonist Harry Mason and his daughter Cheryl involved in a car accident. Recovering from the shock, Harry becomes aware of the child's disappearance and, without thinking twice, grabs his torch to look for it. The strong point of the game lies precisely in the plot that distinguishes it, for several reasons. First of all, the narrative tool used struck us in a positive way: through psychoanalysis sessions you will live in the memories of the protagonist in order to reconstruct his mental puzzle, piece by piece. The figure of the psychoanalyst acts as a common thread thanks to the various tests he will submit to you as you advance in history. These mental exercises, in addition to being interesting and consistent with the plot, will in turn affect the characters in their appearance and behavior. It will therefore be fun to color a cartoon depicting a house and then see it shortly afterwards in the game, painted as you had imagined, pills of insane madness to the Silent Hill. It is a shame to have to emphasize, despite the goodness of the story, the lack of those devices that are ideally traceable to the original concept and much loved by gamers; you can enjoy a couple towards the end of the game, but you had to make more effort in this sense, especially to make the first part of the plot more alive and interesting. Ultimately we can say that the narrative layout is certainly one of the best, although it does not reach the splendor of the founders, at least it brings a breath of freshness to the series.
Searching and racing
The gameplay of Shattered Memories it is divided into two macro-sections: escape and exploration.
The playability stands on good levels with commands that respond in a precise and immediate manner with the PS2 controller. Some actions, however, are almost useless for the economy of the game, as is the fact of being able to spy on a room from the door before entering it: if there are no enemies, what's the use?
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is linear, a sort of path almost guided in Harry's nightmare and, even if the game manages to capture for its disturbing atmosphere anyway, the adventure won't last more than seven hours. The interesting thing, however, is the replay value factor due to the variable present in the answers given in the tests. It will therefore be the player's responsibility to take the game back and try to verify how the course of the affair would have been if the answers to the tests had been different.
A glacial city
The atmosphere that is breathed in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is certainly perfect and manages to immerse the player in the dark and sinister world that characterized the series. The settings are decidedly engaging, creating disturbed situations in which the player will surely be afraid, even if he takes up what was said earlier about the division of the two sections, in which the exploratory one will be almost reassuring. To help the atmosphere, in addition to messy shops and almost completely abandoned streets, there is the play of lights granted by the torch, a really good job by the Climax guys: everything that the light touches, depending on how it touches it, will generate different shadows, long or short, creating visual effects of sure emotional impact. Generally, programmers did a good job that will surely be a feast for the eyes on a ps2psp, both in terms of environmental choices and character characterization.
The soundtrack, entrusted to Akira Yamaoka in his last appearance in Konami, through the just mentioned music ready to soar in your ears during the most agitated phases, manages to immerse the player completely even if not at the levels of the first episode. Sound effects do their job well even if they are too often imperceptible to be heard properly. For this reason, it is advisable to use headphones to get the most out of every single note.
Overall - 8.1
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a successful experiment in part. There is a lot to work on, first and foremost the extreme division between the exploratory and the escape phase, the clear separation of the two does nothing but damage them since they have elements in common that somehow were linked to each other. The extreme linearity is dangerous in genres in which physical action must subordinate mental/psychological because it risks making the final product an empty container made only of meaningless images. We lower the curtain with a final eulogy to Dr. Kaufman, one of the most interesting characters of recent times.