Psychoanalysis at home
The Silent Hill series of games has always been filled with subliminal messages about your protagonist. His deepest emotions would come to life in form of disturbing beasts and the city itself would make you go through places filled with hints about his personality. It's a great concept but some people couldn't relate to the main character therefore they could miss out on the more interesting side of the game. Thankfuly this is not the case with the new revamp of the series. This time it's an all new game with no accult themes, no rusty drains and no combat. Instead the game is divided into three parts: therapy session, exploration and nightmares.
Therapy session starts of every chapter of the game. First you are asked a couple of personal questions some of wich can be emberacing to answer to. Next you are presented with a simple task like coloring a picture or sorting out a few photos. All of this determents what will await you in the coming chapter, what things you will see, what places you will visit and what characters you will meet.
After you are finished the exploration part will kick in. Here you play as gary mason who after a car crash tries to find his
daughter who went missing. You are equipped only with a cellphone and flashlight. The only items you can pick up are keys and mementos (collectibles that don't have a real purpose). So most of your time you will spend searching around for puzzles and weird anomalies that give you a sence of what happend here before and what you should try next.
When the exploration is finished you hear a horrible noise, everything starts covering with ice and the level itself distorts. Here you must find a way to get out before you are killed by monsters. As I said earlier you can't fight the monsters but there are ways to slow them down. You can push over obstacles to trip the monsters and use flares to stop the monsters from attacking you. Those sequences are fast, frantic and sometimes frustrating.
The game uses the Wii capabilities very well. You rarely feel that you are not in control of your actions, pointing feels very natural and the controls are thoughtfully mapped on the WiiMote. Sadly there are some problems. Since you can't interact with most of the items you might feel less interested in inspecting things and more in just looking for white arrows that point out where the items are. Same goes for a lot of other thing in the game. You have a complete map of the city in your phone that you can scribble on but you rarely use it because the game area is usually restricted by the snow and it's not that hard to find a way on your own. In your phone you also have a camera that helps you see some of the anomalies but those are pretty rare and you rarely get to use it. Those are small things but there are enough of them to sometimes get in the way.
Story on the other hand is interesting, mysterious and keeps you on your toes until the end. There are some thing that seem unnatural at first but in the end it's more or less wraped up. Although you might need a second playthrough to figure out the meaning behing some of the characters and because of how the game is structured you will always have something new to look forward to.
Graphics and sound are pretty good. Lighting effects are great and textures are surprisingly crisp and clean. Characters emote very naturally and are voiced very professionally. Sound effects are creepy and are used in some interesting ways.
In conclusion I would like to say that it was a very interesting and engaging experience. There are some clever surprises and tricks that the games throws at you that you will surely remember. The theraphy stuff works most of the time so in the end when the credits are roling you might find a few things about yourself that you did not know.