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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Silent Hill Origins

Every story begins somewhere.



Story

The game takes place 'several years' before the first game (on the PlayStation), with Travis trying to make up time during his delivery by cutting through a small town know as Silent Hill. While driving, the road becomes foggy and he barely avoids hitting a girl in the road. When he gets out looking for her, he is follows the young girl until he loses her but comes across a burning building.

Travis runs in to see if anyone’s inside, after traversing the burning house, he finds a girl with 3rd degree burns over most, if not all, of her body, he manages to rescue her before passing out and then waking up in the town of Silent Hill.


Gameplay

The game plays like many of the Silent Hill entries before, focusing on puzzles with elements of survival-horror. You'll spend much of your time searching for the next piece of a puzzle while avoiding or fighting demented and warped creatures of Travis' mind.

The camera switches between static and moving, at some points, generally in small rooms, the camera is fixed into a certain position. When in larger rooms or halls the camera is behind Travis and can be manipulated with the shoulder buttons.

Combat is pretty over-simplified, the left shoulder locks on to enemies while X allows you to attack (or can be held for power attacks). Weapons have slightly different speeds, meaning you'll have to use a bit of strategy for some enemies (obviously, if the enemy is fast, a big sledgehammer is not a wise choice).


Graphics

The graphics are pretty good for a slightly older game. Being Silent Hill, the game adopts the old fashioned screen effects such as static when an enemy is near and grain effects. Environments are decently detailed as are the characters. Lighting is done very well and gives the game a very dark feeling.

The game can be given a much darker appearance via brightness

Controls, Voice, Audio and Music

The controls are quite simplistic, as there aren't many buttons on a PSP and will be learned quite quickly. The voice work ranges from acceptable to cheesy, which seems to be a staple for the earlier installments, so I'm not sure if it was intended or not.

The audio, when it's there, is well done, lending an ominous vibe to the area around Travis. Small movements can cause large amounts of noise when you're walking down a dark and empty hall. The music is very well done, as Akira Yamaoka was the composer, so I would expect nothing less from him. The music picks up heavily when Travis has what he needs to confront the areas boss, and altering when Travis enters the Otherworld.

Travis about to enter the Otherworld

Overall

This is a great addition to the series, and if you're a fan, I highly suggest giving it a try.

8.5/10.0

Pros

+ Great music score
+ Well executed game overall
+ Chilling feeling for much of the game

Cons

- Voice work is laughable in some areas
- Camera is sometimes uncooperative
- The combat seems lacking and not very in-depth outside of minute 'strategy'