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The Silent Hill series holds a special place in my heart. Silent Hill 3 has been in my top 10 list of horror video games since I played the game at release. I just finished a fresh playthrough of Silent Hill 3 on the PlayStation 2. My love for the game remains but I did have some trouble with the controls and visuals. The game was released in 2003 so these issues are to be expected. However, the horror remains and I still find the game quite terrifying.
ABOUT SILENT HILL 3
Silent Hill 3, the third installment in the iconic survival horror franchise, plunges players into a chilling narrative that blends psychological horror with supernatural dread. Set seventeen years after the events of the first game, Silent Hill 3 follows the harrowing journey of Heather Mason, a young woman thrust into the heart of Silent Hill’s nightmarish realm.
As Heather awakens from a disturbing dream in an abandoned shopping mall, she is pursued by grotesque creatures and haunted by cryptic messages. Navigating the labyrinthine streets of Silent Hill, Heather uncovers a sinister plot involving a cult seeking to unleash an evil deity upon the world. Guided by the ghost of her father, Harry Mason, Heather must confront her inner demons and unravel the truth behind her connection to Silent Hill’s dark past.
The game masterfully employs the shifting realities of Silent Hill, transforming ordinary environments into grotesque reflections of Heather’s inner turmoil. The once-vibrant streets become distorted and decayed, while menacing creatures manifest from the depths of her subconscious. Silent Hill’s oppressive atmosphere and unsettling soundtrack further enhance the sense of dread, creating an immersive experience that lingers long after the game ends.
The PlayStation 2 version of Silent Hill 3 has outdated gameplay mechanics. This shouldn’t be surprising, but I had a difficult time with them. I could not grasp the tank controls so I stuck with analog controls. They work well until the camera shifts. Heather starts running in a different direction with just the slightest movement of the analog stick.
Speaking of the camera, the damn thing is all over the place. For some reason, the camera wants to shift to the front of Heather frequently. I have to hold R2 to get the camera back behind her, and it works most of the time. Sometimes, I would have Heather run in circles to get the camera back to where it should be.
Silent Hill 3 is a dreadful and terrifying game. All these years later, the horror still holds up. There are some well-placed jump scares, and they aren’t used that often to become predictable. Some of the jump scares feel unintentional. They come from creatures from the dark, around corners, or after opening a door.
The utmost horror comes from what you don’t see. You’ll hear things moving and not know what or where from. You may hear someone crying but can’t find the source. The creatures conjure up some of the scariest noises I’ve ever heard, and sometimes you don’t know where they are.
If there is one thing that the Silent Hill series does best, it is atmosphere. Silent Hill 3 is no exception. The fog is a staple in the Silent Hill series. Silent Hill 3 piles fog on thick and it works well. The fog limits your vision even when light isn’t an issue. This technique creates apprehension.
You’ll spend a lot of time in the dark, too. You’re flashlight gives off enough light to navigate easily but your vision is limited creating angst. You’ll know when a creature lingers nearby and sometimes you’ll turn around and the flashlight will reveal the noisemaker shockingly.
Silent Hill 3 has an amazing soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka. The combination of music and ambiance makes for a diverse listening experience. Akira uses a combination of ambiance and industrial sounds that are truly haunting. Some tracks I never forget. You can listen to the soundtrack on Spotify, YouTube, and other music distributors. Listen to the beginning of A Stray Child and Innocent Moon. Whoa!
AS I SEE IT
Silent Hill 3 and the horror within the video game remain relevant. My recent playthrough on the PlayStation 2 comes a few years after my last playthrough of the PlayStation 3 HD version. I still feel scared playing the video game. I even jumped a few times. I’m still amazed by the dreadful atmosphere and the chilling environment. The horror is so well done.
Silent Hill 3 will remain on my top 10 list for years to come, if not for my lifetime. I’ve played a ton of horror video games and there is something about the Silent Hill series that does a great job of scaring the hell out of me.