A Chilling New Experience.
When I heard that Climax was gonna make a "remake" of the first Silent Hill, I was stoked. But when I read further that it was not a remake, but a re-imagining, and that some major elements of what made a Silent Hill game a Silent Hill game were removed, my reaction was "Oh please don't screw this up!" Screw up Climax did not; Silent Hill Shattered Memories is a gem and a fresh rebirth to the franchise.
What made me love Shattered Memories that much were the therapies sessions with Dr. Kaufmann. In these sessions, the former drug runner, now psychologist, will administer the player with several psychological tests and the way you answer these test will influence on your game (i.e. character design, dialogues...), meaning that you can have a totally different experience the second time you play the game.
The game itself is pretty stellar, you start by walking around, exploring the environment, finding clues, solving puzzles, and suddenly all hell breaks loose and you find yourself in Nightmare where you are chased by some humanoid creatures. Furthermore, because the Nightmare version is, in my experience, totally different from the Normal version of the environment, trying to remember the map before the chase is pretty much futile.
There is no fighting like the previous Silent Hill, so your primary concern is to power walk (because Harry can't run!) away from monsters that seem to enjoy chasing after you. The only defense you have are flares that can stun the monsters until the flare runs out of sparks, or whatever they shoot out. There are hiding spots, but in my opinion, you should not stop and keep being Oscar Mike. There is also no detailed map to guide you around, all you have is a vague GPS-type map from your cellphone. To make things worse, it is not recommended to use your map in a chase; Harry will stop power walking and start walking instead because he can't run while looking at his phone at the same time; you wouldn't want Harry to stop running when monsters are after you. I really liked how they removed fighting because being chased by 5 monsters through a maze really got my heart rate up a notch. The lack of map also gave me the feeling that I must rely on my intuition and keep running towards the first door I see. I loved it.
Story wise, Shattered Memories follow the source material pretty closely, Harry loses his daughter and now he must go look for her. While in his quest, he encounters a whole cast of shady characters, who, for some reasons, Harry seems to be totally comfortable being with. Climax also re-casted most characters; although Lisa is still a nurse, Dahlia is no longer the crazy cult leader, and Kaufmann is a lesser-shady doctor and no longer a drug runner. In fact, the whole cult angle was cut off. The game ends with quite an ending, making it one of my favorite, second only to Silent Hill 2's.
One Issue I had was the framerate during the chases. Overall the game has good framerate, I was surprised; however, when it came to opening doors during a chase, the framerate drops to near 0.
Overall I really enjoyed Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The combination of the old with the new aspect of the game made Shattered Memories the best Silent Hill since Silent Hill 3.