Silent Hill HD Collection Review
So They’ve Killed A Lot Of The Atmosphere Off, And It Ruins The Tension In The Two Games A Lot, But What Does It Mean For Everything Else?
Platform : Xbox360/Playstation3
Developer : Konami
Publisher : Konami
Never have I been so personally let down by a video game. With the release of the Silent Hill HD Collection, it feels sad that the original publishers Konami see fit to re-release Silent Hill 2 and 3 in such a god-awful state. I’ve been admittedly looking forward to this for awhile, seeing these two classic gems of gaming in full singing, dancing, high class vision. Instead, it’s an awful trade up, with sound issues, graphic annoyances and shocking amount of slowdown. Oh and they’ve taken the fog effects out of both Silent Hill games.
I’ll reiterate that.
They have taken the fog effects out of both Silent Hill games.
I lie a bit - it is there, but only as far as the characters vision can go. With the quintessential fog element toned down, you can see the hilariously obvious perfect circle of vision around either James or Heather. With games which are built on atmosphere like these two, any off kilter addition/subtraction damages the experience of it all.
I cannot go on enough about the removal, or at least toning down, of the fog effects in places of the games. It is bloody hilarious to meet a character saying “oh watch out for the fog”, when around you there’s just dark grey clouds in the sky. It takes A LOT away from the whole traumatic experience of the original versions. Sure, at the start of Silent Hill 2, you’re still on the same twisty near endless forest path into the town the horrific demonic noises with knowing what’s causing it off-screen, but without the dense trademark fog, it loses most tenseness it had and the feeling of horror you’re about to endure upon yourself. Another example is when you see a demon for the first time, you see it clear as day! In the original, it’s just a shadow wandering off into the thick impenetrable fog, adding to the dilemma and fear of following it. Here, well we see it’s a demon… SO WHY FOLLOW IT JAMES?!?!
I don’t want to crap all over the 'HDification' of the in-game graphics in both games entirely, because that has been done very well. Perhaps a bit too well – a lot of original texture work that made the locations and town of Silent Hill looks grim and dirty have gone. That can’t be faulted but the FMV sequences and picture scenes showing quest items have not had any touching up done to them at all, so it’s a mighty grinding of gears, going from the lushness for in-game quality to a behind the times looking cut scene.
Another piss take is the lag and freezing in moving about the town, which for a HD remake on a superior machine is inexcusable. It’s constant stop/start moving about outside, with it being far worse on the Playstation 3 than the X-Box 360. Since it reads the game from your console hard drive, which takes a long 15 minutes to install in the first place, it’s constantly on your drive to load the next bit as you run around town. Absolute rubbish when you consider the space on a Blu-ray disc in the first place. I don’t understand how a game that’s over 10 years old can perform worse with age on better technology, even emulation being hard to accomplish the older we go… unless whoever was doing the remaking decided to do a bodge job to meet a release date. With the recent announcement of the second Silent hill movie being released in the States Halloween time, surely it would have been a wiser move to get this RIGHT, and chuck it out at the same time, what with it being a horror game and all, for maximum exposure. Instead it feels like it’s just been chucked out to fend for its self.
There’s already been one patch released (on the first day of release funnily enough), but I can’t see what it’s really improved. There are plans to release another one which will fix painfully obvious audio syncing and music issues but I feel that the damage has already been done. It’s saying something when fans of the games are showing original art director Masahiro Ito comparisons to his original work and these HD rereleases then he dumps scorn all over them. An artist should never see his baby being pissed on. Clearly, Konami has made a massive mistake off loading the actual responsibility of up scaling both games for the HD generation to Hijinx Studios, when it has higher quality in-house designers and developers.
So they’ve killed a lot of the atmosphere off, and it ruins the tension in the two games a lot, but what does it mean for everything else? Sure 'Silent Hill 2’s' plot and metaphors are still there and Heather’s journey and the resolution from 'Silent Hill 1' remain intact. The inclusion of the 'Born From A Wish' side story for the second game is nice, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before on previous versions. I do wish they had an opportunity to update the gash tank like controls and clunky menu screen but that adds in a weird way to the original horror and claustrophobia with you frantically trying to shift away from Pyramid Head and whatever else the hellhole of the town throws at you. There’s new voice dialogue for both games. Whilst the new voices for 2 is a MASSIVE improvement overall on the original, it’s poorer for the third. Oddly, they’ve included the original voices for your pleasure for the second, when I feel it should be the other way around, but until the audio sync gets fixed, it’s all for nothing as it’s badly noticeable how off it is. The subject matter of incest and domestic abuse has lost its impact from the terrible mistakes made in remaking both games for next gen consoles. As I said earlier, with games like Silent Hill 2 delicately poised, moving the slightest brick brings the whole bloody town crashing down.
You would be much better served to hunting down both originals at a car boot or internet sites which are guaranteed to work than splashing 20 odd notes on this shit conversion. Maybe, if Konami gets their arse in gear and release a patch or 7, we will enjoy what Silent Hill 2 and 3 can achieve in full, QUALITY HD. Until then, as quality and suspenseful as the storylines still are, avoid this title like the plague.
The One Who Is Always The Most Miserable - Chaos Hour Writer
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