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Silent Hill 4’s Masterful Design, 15 Years Down the Line » The Video Game Almanac

Silent Hill 4's Masterful Design, 15 Years Down the Line » The Video Game Almanac

Silent Hill four Retro Assessment: Dying from success?

South Ashfield Heights is an effective place to stay. Particularly in comparison with Silent Hill. No, actually!

I discover it truthful to say that Silent Hill 2 is in lots of a gamer’s coronary heart, the most effective horror title ever. The dreadful environment, the long-lasting enemies, drenched in symbolism (And icky, sticky liquids) and the genius in depth evaluation of James’ character.

Method I see it, Silent Hill at it’s core was the deep evaluation of a damaged man. For this reason each recreation after it took a swing at choosing aside it’s principal character’s psyche and tailoring the city and it’s threats to them, particularly. Each enemy is indirectly tied to their previous, to what they did, what they’ve been by way of.

The issue is that horror and components go collectively like peanut butter and nails. You won’t discover them at first, however if you do, that have is ruined. Different giants of the business have survived on strictly formulaic new installments. Each few years, a gaggle of youngsters dressed like they needed to raid the salvation military’s pantry with the lights off will battle or assist God to save lots of the world in Last Fantasy. Yearly, round Christmas time, like clockwork, a brand new CoD will present as much as vacuum youngsters’s wallets extensive and much.

Silent Hill 2 already parted from a hard place, being principally a retread of Silent Hill 1 minus Keiichiro Toyama. Principal character with a leather-based jacket arrives at ghost city on the lookout for misplaced beloved one, fog in all places, enemies are symbollic to the state of affairs at hand, and we unravel a mistery. Workforce Silent’s option to do the identical however higher modified the sport business perpetually. Silent Hill three opted to select up from the top of Harry’s story, and whereas it did away with the fog, it included darkness, monsters have been nonetheless related to the state of affairs at hand, and we have been nonetheless unravelling a mistery.

So the excessive ups at Konami clearly anticipated Silent Hill to proceed evolving in the identical formulaic horror method. Nevertheless, Group Silent, being principally a bunch of idealistic artsy varieties, realized that “components” and “horror” are two key phrases principally present in Scooby Doo. This was, most certainly, not the path they needed to take their work in.

Silent Hill symbolism, verify. However the place’s the blood and rust? Silent Hill four as an alternative opted for a “Mundane creepy” look.

Right here’s the place the state of affairs will get difficult: Staff Silent by no means meant The Room to be a mainline title. It was presupposed to be a by-product set within the universe of Silent Hill. However Konami, displaying early signs of being Konami, determined they’d make more cash if it was marketed as a brand new installment of the primary collection.

Silent Hill 2 conveyed the sensation of being trapped in a spot that desires you to atone on your horrible sins. The third half as an alternative threw you in a madhouse you needed no half in. The Room’s feeling is totally different. In some ways, Henry’s by far probably the most relatable character in the entire saga. He’s just a few dude. He has a horrible case of bedhead. He’s averse to shaving. He clothes in a plain shirt and blue denims. This was a nasty factor.

Supporting character reporting for obligation! … What do you imply I’m the protagonist of this one? I’m even the least necessary a part of my introduction, dammit!

Supporting character reporting for obligation! … What do you imply I’m the protagonist of this one? I’m even the least necessary a part of my introduction, dammit!

You see, Silent Hill up so far had caught to the profitable method: Protagonist arrives at haunted place, protagonist explores haunted place, steadily discovers his or her relation with it and merrily types stuff out in a handful of the way. Henry doesn’t even go to Silent Hill. He’s trapped in his personal room and doesn’t even know if he’s dreaming when he leaves.

The sport world correct appears to carry him in contempt, with a variety of monsters outright ignoring him so long as he steers clear. He begins being by far the weakest in fight in the entire saga and has to take journeys again to his place to have a snack and somewhat cry till he can get again to braving the otherworld. He even lacks the long-lasting outfits of everyone else. James had a subject jacket, Heather had a puffy vest and a sleeveless sweater. Henry has a shirt and denims. In case you tried to cosplay him, you’d get a zero for effort throughout the board. And his secret is about as iconic as his outfit.

There be spoilers forward, so that you’ve been warned: Henry does unravel a mistery, however it turns into more and more apparent that he actually IS just a few dude who was on the flawed place and time and is now paying for it. There’s no deeper which means to any of what he does. The sport is a pure battle for survival. The paralells with the participant ring stronger with Henry than another Silent Hill protagonist. Even in gameplay, Henry’s simply utterly common.

Common peak, common velocity, his animations are very dry, with little idling animations and a totally boilerplate stroll and run versus James’ decided stride or Heather’s cautious and panicky motion. Henry’s simply strolling round. For those who depart him to idle, he gained’t even check out his environment, he’ll simply relaxation a bit.

To emphasise he’s not excellent in a battle, he can’t even change targets, however he can tank hits whereas he’s utilizing an influence assault. Fight is as soon as once more deliberately dangerous, an inherent drawback with most horror video games, nevertheless it does really feel scary and hectic, specifically with all of the teams of enemies you’ll be dealing with in tight quarters. If we needed to briefly describe how the city offers with every customer, James is slowly tortured, with the city hoping he’ll end himself off, Heather is swiftly and brutally killed, until she proves she’s even harder herself, and Henry’s progressively smothered by issues out of his management.

Even his curbstomp appears lackadaisical.

Henry’s incapability to modify targets effectively means he’ll ceaselessly be swarmed by very quite a few teams. Bosses are insane sponges, with the ability to take a strong 6 minutes of shovel strikes earlier than lastly dropping. Even then, until you pin them with a particular merchandise, they’ll simply get again up. Simbolysm just isn’t associated to Henry within the slightest, with enemies as an alternative referring to how Walter killed them or felt about them. All of it will get the purpose throughout that Henry is only one small a part of a ritual a lot greater than himself, and on the similar time, he’s the one one who can cease it.

Storywise, Henry spends the primary half of the sport assembly individuals and watching them die. Sadly, this not being a cleaning soap opera, they don’t have any time to inform us their life story earlier than assembly their doom, and actually, it issues not. Supplemental materials coated this afterward. All of them had names, lives, and a relation with Walter Sullivan, which granted them a golden ticket to representing one thing or different in a nutty ritual. Henry doesn’t care, he’s simply right here to attempt to escape together with his personal cover, nonetheless hooked up to his physique if attainable. Using a supporting forged is one other Silent Hill staple, however there being 21 sacraments (Serial killers could be followers of blackjack too) there’s not a whole lot of time for fleshing out on display. Only for flaying out.

This man seems like a bloody, soiled mashup between Kurt Cobain and Jesus Christ. When you assume he’s the protagonist… You’re proper.

The sport as an alternative turns into about foremost antagonist Walter’s rampage and backstory. The victims ultimately develop into nothing greater than an afterthought and a unusual miniboss squad. Solely considered one of them nonetheless speaks after demise, and it’s principally blubbering.

One very noticeable factor is the sport’s heavy reliance on memos.

Par for the course for horror video games within the early 2000s, positive, however the second half of the sport smacks of operating out of price range. Backtracking was even then a unclean phrase, however The Room took it to a brand new degree: You’d need to escort Eileen via EVERY SINGLE LEVEL as much as that time, in the identical order, too. There have been some new missions in every map, and a few obstacles that have been considerably arduous solo turned true exams of endurance with Eileen ball and chained to Henry’s ankle. This was a completely depressing expertise, and understanding how you can hold Eileen alive primarily required a information or an older brother who was acquainted with the sport.

Don’t you simply wanna save that schmoozy woozy face? No? Properly you’re getting the dangerous ending, then! You dick!

Eileen particularly was an enormous sticking level. Whereas her presence makes fight even scarier, and she will down proper grow to be a menace to the participant relying on their playstyle, she provides nothing. She doesn’t provide help to remedy puzzles, she has no observations, (No useful ones, anyway. This can be a forest!) and she or he incessantly will tank Henry’s strikes together with her face, as a result of pathfinding AIs weren’t nice again in 2004. She’s barely slower than everybody else, making Henry wait round, and may’t use ladders. And if she dies, you get a nasty ending. And she or he cannot be healed from her wounds on onerous problem. Doesn’t all of it sound superb?

He hasn’t seen your daughter. You possibly can cease asking that.

A departure from conventional Silent Hill components in story and gameplay made everybody say this was by far the weakest Silent Hill recreation. I don’t disagree, however I do consider the sport is masterfully crafted regardless. Throughout the entire second half of the sport, Henry and Eileen gained’t even converse a phrase to at least one one other. There are not any cutscenes. Cutscenes are the essential cause why most gamers would even hassle to complete a horror title. Specifically one like this. You’ll be able to ask any of the gamers who went by way of this (If you’ll find them) and most will say that Henry’s very likable they usually related with him, however they didn’t end the sport.

Delicate mannered assassin vs Apathetic motion survivor! And one spinni boi within the background.

And that’s why Silent Hill four did what it needed to do too nicely. A relentless horror expertise, from begin to end, with inbuilt downtime within the type of restricted stock and compelled journeys again to the one saving level the place you might kick your ft up and watch some occasions occur within the first half and keep away from poltergeists making an attempt to kill you within the second. The mixture of Eileen, clunky fight, and a scarcity of character in the primary characters made it fail solely as a result of it needed to reside as much as Silent Hill’s earlier fame. For those who’re in any respect inquisitive about an extremely practical, really horrible horror expertise, you need to undoubtedly look into this title sooner or later. Simply attempt to not microwave the disk when Eileen will get you killed for the 20 th time.

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