Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Complete Review (Spoiler Free)

Story: The story is amazing. If you enjoyed the stories is the first 3 Silent Hills, this game will be a joy to you. It has a tight narrative, well acted and superbly paced. The game play and story fit together like a glove. The use of the psychology tests to tailor the details of the story to the specific player are used masterfully, and fit easily within the whole narrative. The characters are all compelling and multi-layered. A fantastic tale for any medium, this game should be played by anyone who is a fan of psychological thrillers.

Game Play: The game play is composed of three "modes" or sequence types. The first type is the wandering type. You search around the town, solve puzzles, take pictures, and interact with various other characters. This is the mode that most advances the plot, and in my opinion, the most fun to play. You get to have a lot of interaction, and just being able to passively observe all the details in the environments is a lot of fun. The puzzles are challenging, but not aggravating, and unlike some prior SHs none of them require strange out of game knowledge to complete without a guide. The atmosphere during these is somber, and moody, and more than a little spooky.

The second type are the Psychiatrist’s office where you interact with a doctor, who puts the events of the game in a very psychological light, and presents you with psych tests in order to judge what kind of a person you are, and what to throw out at you in the game. These sections are really intriguing, and add a lot to the story. They’re also a little bit disorienting, as you are thrown out of the action and onto the couch; however, this is clearly intentional, and serves to punctuate the events of the game.

The third type are the "nightmare chase" sequences. This is where you drop everything, and run away from unkillable monsters. It’s intense, and panicky, and more than a little frustrating, especially if you don’t have a good sense of direction as the paths are very twisting, and non-linear.

Graphics: The graphics in the game are surprisingly beautiful and detailed. I found it a shame that some much of the world had to be run through at high speed, because I spent a lot of time in the wandering sequences just enjoying all of the gorgeous detail in the environments. The snow and ice were especially pretty and actually looked real. The flashlight similarly shed light in a realistic manner and threw neat shadows all over the place. The character model’s were very good, although Harry’s face seemed just a touch rubbery (especially without glasses on).

Controls:
The wii controls are… a mixed bag, from my point of view. On the one hand, controlling the flashlight was a joy. Using it to *steer* however, was not, and I found myself running in all directions, and at a disadvantage because of my shaky hands. It was also hard to turn during the chase sequences. Shaking off monsters worked really well, although it was tiring; it was difficult at first, but after I got the hang of it simulating shaking off monsters with the wiimote was really very immersive. Likewise I found the cellphone menu to be well implemented and easy to use.

Music and Sound: While not quite as fantastic as the music in previous Silent Hill games, it’s still *really good*. It fit the mood well, and was used in a minimalist way that fit the tone of each scene. I quite like the soundtrack, although mostly the vocal tracks.

Overall: The game is a fine example of the series. While the lack of combat is a huge thing to adapt to, the system fits the game. In fact, all of the elements really gel into one great experience. The game is short, but extremely well paced, and has immense replay value because of the psych profile system and multiple endings. If you are a fan of horror, play this game!

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