Silent Hill 4
I played Silent Hill 3, but somehow playing that did nothing to help me here. Damn.
We start off with Silent Hill (original) and the attempt to bring a god into our world via birthing which failed, which brought forth a girl who became the heroine of Silent Hill 3.
What does that have to do with Silent Hill 4 : The Room? I don't know! Let's just move on.
You play as a guy who used to go on vacation to Silent Hill, but right now you'll just be happy if you could get the heck out of your own apartment! It seems that only recently you found that you couldn't go anywhere anymore thanks to the fact that somebody chained you doors down from the inside!
You can stare out your windows, and out the peephole of your door, but you can't leave.
Can't jump out the windows because they're sealed tight, can't get out the door because it's chained tight, can't call out and can't even watch TV! Man! That really blows!
The door, bearing a rather cryptic message signed by a guy named Walter (whom you‘ll get to know much much better as the game goes along), seems to be the only way out... or is it?
Suddenly it looks like a hole has appeared in your bathroom wall, which leads to a dark twisted "world" resembling the psuedo "Paradise" envisioned by Dahlia, Claudia and the rest of the evil Silent Hill occultists from the previous games. Does this mean this game is tied into the previous three?
As you go from outside world to "Paradise", moving from pocket "world" to pocket "world", the hole slowly becomes bigger and bigger... and eventually you'll even have to find a second "hole" but you'll see that when you play the game.
After you "beat" one section of "Paradise", you'll be shuffled off to another section of the hellish land which you'll also have to beat. Unlike SH3, however, this game is light on the puzzles and heavy on the exploration. While there are some puzzles, you mostly have to Image 1 of 9. Click to enlarge
Image 1 of 9. Click to enlarge
Yes, as you pass from world to world you eventually begin to discover why this is happening to you, and it's not a pretty thing either! Definitely not a pretty thing! I don't want to spoil the story so I'll stop here.
Instead I'll go into the game mechanics. At first I would have thought the game was a typical Silent Hill game, but then I played Silent Hill 3 and that theory went right out the window. This game is, in comparison to it's predecessor, is abit more polished of a gaming experience than SH3.
Movement is easier here than in SH3 which is akin to the old pre-Resident Evil 4 movement problems past Resident Evil games had.
Mapping is done automatically, unlike SH3 in which you need to find a map in order to track your progress.
The attack mode is also abit more polished, and it's a little easier to "finish" off your lesser opponents than it was in SH3 (in other words I could easier pull off the "stomp on it until it's dead" move in this game).
Even the inventory is improved over it's predecessor version, which is another plus! Being able to pull up inventory onto the screen, and quick change weapons or use items was so much better.
Yes, you could hold far less in this game than in SH3, but since you also had the benefit of using your "apartment prison" as a base of operation you could easily retreat back there and drop unnecessary things between outworld missions (instead of having to hold onto everything as you did in SH3)!
Now the minuses. Image 2 of 9. Click to enlarge
Even with a bit more polished gaming experience for the most part it's still the same Silent Hill with not much changing past the introduction of first person mode (while in the apartment) and small things here and there which set it apart from previous Silent Hill games. Yes, it has definite differences that set it apart from SH3, but it doesn't make a large leap in development ala Resident Evil
Image 2 of 9. Click to enlarge
Look, comparing it to Resident Evil? Take a look at where this game stands!
Silent Hill equals Resident Evil
Silent Hill 2 equals Resident Evil 2
Silent Hill 3 equals Resident Evil 3
Silent Hill 4 : The Room equals Resident Evil : Code Veronica X...
Yes. This is the fourth game, and the fourth game of Resident Evil was Code Veronica (X)!
I see another two Silent Hills coming about (Silent Hill Zero and Silent Hill 5) before we see it taking that light-year leap in development ala Resident Evil 4 (Silent Hill 5 should be that leap in development if it does indeed take place)!
Guess only time, and the release of the next Silent Hill, will answer that question though.
But since I don't plan to wait until the next game before I release this review let's break it down now...
Silent Hill Breakdown the 4th
What's Hot? - Once again I'm playing it, but NOT buying it this time out... but maybe later.
I liked this one, like I liked Silent Hill 3. Gameplay is solid, and even abit polished over SH3, and the story is pretty good too. I have to say that I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes next when they roll out the next game of the series. And considering SH3 was in 2003, and SH4 was in 2004? I figure we're due a game either this year or next year... maybe.
What's Not? - It doesn't have as much flaws as SH3, but it's not perfect either.
Still I don't think the quirks are enough this time to restrain you from playing.
The loss of the adjustable "riddle" level is abit of a shame though, that was one of the nice things from SH3!
Moments to Remember? - ...no "homages" to past Silent Hill games? Or at least if there WAS "homages" I totally missed them? I can't remember anything memorable here... sorry. Think the guy running the apartments might have been the investigator from SH3 though... maybe...
What to Ignore? - Eventually you'll need to take a trip to Image 3 of 9. Click to enlarge
Here, in this hospital, tall Amazonian female creatures wander the halls. They're not terribly hard to beat, mind you, but as you whack them with your melee weapon (won't work with the guns) you are assaulted with the mind numbingly horrific sounds of... burping.
Image 3 of 9. Click to enlarge
...burping...? YES! Burping! Burping as in the burping noise you make when eating chocolate frogs in the Harry Potter video games burping... that sort of kills the mood of the scene to be ambushed by a female thing that burps everytime you hit it.
It only gets worse when you face three of these things on a tighter stairway heading downstairs, and you are "treated" to the sound of non-stop burping as they "slide" down the stairs after you knock them down.
Yes. Apparently even the undead can suffer problems with excess gas. Go figure.
Overall? - Hmm... I have to say I have no big preference between this and Silent Hill 3.
Even if I had to pick one over the other? I can't. Oh, and why did I buy SH3 and not SH4 : The Room?
That's because it was the only game on sale. Blockbusters didn't put SH4 on sale yet.
So otherwise I'm equally for both games, each having their own pluses and minuses.
Now some players have noted that the game hasn't evolved much since the original, but I can't say either way on that since I haven't played Silent Hill (or Silent Hill 2), all I can remark on is these two games.
And while I'm not total fans of the series, I am a fairly interested player who finds merit in both games.
But I would like to see the games evolve further, and when the next Silent Hill game comes I hope to see it take all the improvements from this game and evolve them to make the game even better next time.
WHEN the next Silent Hill comes out, let alone what that game is, however, is a mystery to me.
Anyone know anything about that? Interested gamer here who'd like to know! Thanks!
Graphically one of the most impressive games on the system, its early levels are an absolute delight to play for the beginner and expert alike...
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