Release Date: 1/19/2010
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The Good: Looks great, haunting atmosphere, nightmare sequences are intense, simple approach to exploration works well
The Bad: Strays pretty far from traditional Silent Hill formula, a bit on the short side, can be too easy at times
The survival horror is a slowly dying genre, and the king of the genre, Silent Hill, is barely keeping it alive. Shattered Memories is the first American made Silent Hill, and the whole formula has pretty much changed. Hardcore fans will probably not like this, but the elements that make SH scary are still in tact. The game is more about enjoying the experience and less about winning. Puzzles are very simple, there’s no combat, so it’s all about exploration and atmosphere.
You play as Harry Mason who wakes up from a car crash to look for his daughter Cheryl. He runs into different characters (including a MILF’d up Cibil) and you run around the town of Toluca to find her. In between sequences you are in a therapy sessions and these consist of mini-games, and are pretty neat because they change the out come of the story and the ending. This is a new element for the SH series, and I hope this comes back in some form.
Once you step into the dark you run around with your flashlight and are basically trying to find mementos, and trigger sequences such as when the screen gets staticky. This means that there is something nearby that will send you some sort of message on your phone. While these are creepy, you can also snap pictures with your phone camera and this usually is also worked into puzzles.
When you see a white triangle above something that means you can interact with it. These can be little micro puzzles because you use a hand to push and pull things. While this was obviously created for the Wii version it works great here on the PSP. Most puzzles aren’t nearly as mind bending as past SH games because most of the time the key is in the same room as the locked door, and clues usually don’t need more decrypting. What may get you is navigating the nightmare sequences.
Now these are different than the air raid siren bringing rust that consumes SH in past games. Usually a scene will trigger something and ice will start covering the room. As you run around you must find the X that’s on your map because it’s usually a puzzle you have to solve to continue. While you run around scary creatures chase you and you must knock down objects to block their path, and to let you know you’ve been there before. Some sequences have you running around hallways and bringing you in circles until you go into the right sequence of doors. These sections can be quite hair raising because of the music, sounds of the creatures, and if they catch up to you you have to shake them off via on screen prompts.
There are some unique parts of the game that make it cinematic such as riding in cars in first person, and figuring out how to get out of them, and the first person swimming sequence at the end of the game. Silent Hill has never been quite so cinematic before and it’s a great addition. Despite all this the game has a great twist ending, and has enough uniquity to keep you busy to the end. However, the departure from traditional Silent Hill elements may make some people hate this game. The game looks amazing on the PSP and really feels like it was built from the ground up for the device. This is a top notch title for the handheld, and we need more of them.