ratings: the Silent Hill series!

My rating for 1999’s Silent Hill for PS1 is…



I haven’t yet completed the game, but it’s greatness is clear. I cannot imagine what this must have been like playing in ’99 when this deep, psychological type of horror had not even been established yet. Truly an amazing concept – the bud of a concept that has essentially changed my life.

My rating for 2001’s Silent Hill 2 for PS2 is…



This is the most essential of the game of the series. A masterpiece. Genius storytelling and a trailblazer in atmosphere. Compelling characters and creative, absolutely disturbing creature designs.  Once I saw this, horror was never the same.

My rating for 2003’s Silent Hill 3 for PS2 is…



The follow up to Silent Hill 2 expands on everything great about the series up to that point – the atmosphere, the locations, the characters, the story, the emotion, the creativity, the terror! This game is very scary, and is just as compelling as the predecessors. How often does a sequel live up so beautifully? The cinematic after Heather leaves her apartment – destined for Silent Hill – is just as (if not more) exciting as SH2’s introduction (which is untouchable).

My rating for 2004’s Silent Hill 4: The Room for PS2 is…



This game is truly great, but in very different ways than the previous three. Implementing new gameplay styles and aspects, like first-person scenes and hole-navigation, taking place not in Silent Hill, and having little to do with the story of Alessa, it pretty much leaves the original Silent Hill experience behind. But what it gains is the most excruciating moments of freakiness and scariness I’ve ever been a part of. The game is very weird. Very very weird. The most demented of the series. And the creativity, I believe, was at a high here. It may not be the essential Silent Hill game, but you can definitely tell it came from the same minds.

This is the sad part… Here is where the great ratings end.

My rating for 2007’s Silent Hill: Origins for PS2 is…



Leaving interesting characters in the dust, Origins focuses on Travis Grady’s supposed first exploration of the otherworlds. Not a bad concept, but along with characters, creativity has also been hit hard and game comes off as dry and lacking. It wasn’t until the Motel environment where I thought it deserved to lick the shoes of the first four. It did have some good silent hilly art direction and great puzzles. And the story, once it actually surfaced – the history of Travis’ mom and dad – I thought was very compelling. It was not bad, overall, just lacking – leaving me wondering where the creative spark went.

My rating for 2008’s Silent Hill: Homecoming for PS3 is…



This game is an embarrassment to the series. So much was shamelessly taken from Silent Hill, the movie, and… hello! The movie was based on the game! The characters are worthless, the story is a gimmick, the combat is modernized, the Call-of-Duty-like first-person cinematics completely disregard the atmospheric effect of the previous games, the art direction is Silent-Hill-kitch and completely without inspiration, and Pyramid Head shows up randomly where he doesn’t belong. It’s a brutal dismemberment of all that is beautiful about the series… The only saving grace here, is some monster/boss designs. Specifically, the monsters, Schism and Siam, and the bosses, Scarlet and Asphyxia, are excellent concepts.

My rating for 2009’s Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for PS2 is… 



As a re-imagining of the story of the first game, this one puts emphasis more on exploration, puzzles, and story – a good idea at this point. There are many changes to the format including cell phone HUD, very maneuverable flash light use, and even a camera to take pictures of disturbed spiritual remnants. The biggest change was the monster running system – instead of fighting, you run, and never kill the monsters. This is a pretty nerve-racking experience every time. These changes, if not very silent-hilly, made this installment at least very interesting.

My rating for 2012’s Silent Hill: Downpour for PS3 is…



This game, I thought, was the most commendable essential experience since SH3. The environment, the creativity, the weirdness… it all seemed to be creeeeeeping back into the development of these games. Finally! It seems this one was created in the spirit of the series rather than just capitalizing on prior success. It is different – but not necessarily in a good or bad way – in an interesting way – an acceptable way. I really enjoyed Downpour, although there are many aspects where it could have been better. But, I think they are back on the right track…

Well, there you have it. I’m looking forward to the next one.

If any readers have any at all thoughts on the subject, I encourage you to comment.


2 responses to “ratings: the Silent Hill series!

  1. Your ratings are right on with how I would rate them. SH2 had the most impact on me of any game I have played. I keep waiting for a game to recapture the magic of SH2, but it has never happened and probably never will. Besides SH3 the closest any game has come for me is Fatal Frame 2. SH4 is much better than it received credit for in the media. Walter Sullivan was an amazing character in the series. As it a happens, I am listening the song Alone in the Town by Akira Yamaoka as I write this.

    • Ah, I love the soundtracks to games 2-3! And you are right, they probably never will capture the magic again, and I think part of the reason might be the low graphic quality of the older games. The fuzziness and indiscernibility creates a more abstract feeling. Although, I will admit the HD collection has been very enjoyable – the clarity hasn’t taken anything away.

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