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I have the pleasure of owning a PlayStation 2 copy of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I bought the game when it was released in January 2010. I remember playing the game on my PlayStation 2 and feeling a bit underwhelmed by the video game. So, it has been sitting on a shelf ever since.
Fast forward to 2023 and my curiosity strikes me when I go through my collection of video games. I find Silent Hill: Shattered Memories sitting there. I decided to hook up my fat PlayStation 3 and play the video game. This time I record my gameplay.
After more than 13 years since I have played the video game, how do I feel about it now? Let’s dive in.
ABOUT SILENT HILL: SHATTERED MEMORIES
The story follows Harry Mason, who wakes up after a car accident to find that his daughter Cheryl is missing. Harry will wander the snowy streets of Silent Hill searching for answers to her disappearance, but when the world freezes over, he will need to escape the lumbering demons that haunt his steps.
Harry will need to navigate both worlds to discover the truth; not just about his missing daughter, but also about the type of person he actually is. Players will be drawn into the mysterious town using the Wii Remote as a flashlight and a cellphone as they search for clues. The choices they make will shape Harry Mason, as well as the people he meets and the places he visits. The enemies evolve as well, taking the form of the player’s deepest fears.
I like what Silent Hill: Shattered Memories does to showcase the relationship between Harry and Cheryl at the beginning of the game. The opening sequence is one of the best parts of the game. The bond between the two is powerfully represented through recorded video on an old VHS camera. This sequence solidifies my emotional attachment to these characters.
Cybil Bennett plays an important role in the storyline. She is a police officer with access to police records. Her privileges allow her to reveal information about Harry that we may not have known otherwise. Cybil and Lisa Garland, a nurse, have a major plot point later on in the game.
Dahlia Mason is an annoying character. I get that she introduces chaos into the storyline but I just couldn’t connect with her.
The storyline in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is decent. It’s an abridged and re-envisioned version of the original Silent Hill. Harry is a decent guy who gets into a car accident while his daughter, Cheryl, is in the car with him. When he wakes up, she is missing.
As the game progresses, a lot of questions pop up around all the characters. The mysteries expand and contract as these questions are answered. By the end of the game, you are clear on everything going on. This game has 5 or more endings so you’ll need to do several playthroughs to get them all.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories does have some disturbing and uncomfortable plot points. I can do disturbing and uncomfortable but when everything seems to revolve around sex, it gets a bit redundant. They could have added some variety. Just about every plot point had sex involved.
This is where Silent Hill: Shattered Memories falls short. The gameplay is horrendous and gimmicky. The controls feel stiff, I’m constantly interrupted by the phone, the chase sequences are infuriating, it’s too dark, and Harry is too big.
The controls are a product of the PlayStation 2. I get that and I can deal with the movement issues. The real issue is interacting with objects. Moving, grabbing, and manipulating objects are not fluid. They often cause more frustration than anything else.
The phone drives me crazy. The game came out around the time cell phones were becoming mainstream. Since cell phones were all the craze, Silent Hill needed to tap into it, and boy did they. You’ll be taking phone calls, reading text messages, and taking pictures. You’ll even solve puzzles with it. No thanks.
The chase sequences are so infuriating. I despised every time the world froze and I had to navigate these mazes. The map didn’t feel helpful at all. It all basically boiled down to trial and error. Not my type of mechanic for fun-factor.
Harry takes up a large portion of the screen. Mix that with how dark everything is and I find it hard to see. When the world is dark and all you have is a flashlight, you can only see what the flashlight is pointing at. You have this large screen but can only see about 20% of what’s on it. I don’t like it. You can make horror without having to resort to a limited view. Also, they should have moved the camera further away from Harry.
I suppose the horror may be there for some but for me, I feel like it fell short. There are a few moments that are eerie but they are so far and few in between. The original Silent Hill is much scarier. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories seems to concern itself more with gimmicky mechanics rather than horror.
AS I SEE IT
I can’t say that I’m a fan of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The controls are wonky, the chase sequences are ridiculous, and the gimmicks are a bit much. This game did not age well. There are plenty of cliches and stereotypes. There are a lot of gameplay mechanics that ruin this game. It’s just a hot mess.
The only redeeming quality is the storyline. It can get a little goofy at times but all in all, it’s not a bad story. The story alone is worth a playthrough.