A clever psychological exploration
At its conclusion Silent Hill: shattered memories presented a psychological profile of me, it had been watching and recording my every action, the path I toke and the decisions I made we being analyzed. The profile was remarkably accurate; it painted a picture of my game time, my obsessive compulsive nature, my unhurried nature, and my moral and ethical leanings.
What begins as a simply tale of a father searching for his lost daughter in the snowbound village of silent hill, soon becomes an exploration of the haunted town and into the mind itself, more specifically my mind. Intercut with the slow haunting journey through the strange town of Silent Hill are a series of therapy sessions, examining my memories and presenting simple games to reveal my inner personality.
The game uses this glimpse into my mind to affect the very nature of the game, the world changes in dramatic ways, and the narrative itself is modified to suit my certain craziness. It really does feel as if the game is being tailor made for my unique disposition, taking my fears and dreams and using them to make the world even more haunting.
The atmosphere in the snow bound town of Silent Hill is very well done, the slow exploration of its creepy nature lies at the heart of the adventure. The environments are covered in detail, giving the town a lived in quality despite its desolate nature, every room comes alive with little touches of having once been populated and suddenly abandoned.
Graphically very impressive for the Wii with a great use of light and shadow, a flashlight uncovers a dark world with surprising quality.
Music is very effective, especially when it becomes quiet; the unsettling creepy environments are further effected by a sudden quietness.
Having no combat of any kind, enemies must be avoided or as is most often the run from, these situations are exciting and quite scary, but they are always preceded by sight of interference in the visuals and they don’t become very surprising when I k new them were coming. The decision to remove all combat was a risking one and for the most part it was effective, putting the focus on the exploration and philological of the adventure.
Motion control is very well done, using the Wii mote as a flashlight is very effective and give a great connection to the action. Opening doors and interacting with object use the motion very well as well never becoming gimmicky and always well done.
Some incredibly clever puzzles are littered though the town, most are truly ingenious in there design. From searching the environment for clue to a computer password or finding phone numbers hidden in the world to proceed. The Wiimote serves very well as a cell phone, its lo-fi speaker sounding perfectly like a real phone call.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a tight slow exploration of a haunted town, and the mind of its player. Some ingenious puzzles and truly disturbing characters inhabit this cruel place, and the shock ending finishes off a very well-crafted game. The lack of weaponry and total removal of combate was a great choice, and the game is better for it. I did get a little bored with the chase sequences, and wonder if perhaps they should have been removed all together, making the game more of a true adventure.
Defiantly one of the best, mature Wii titles to date, and much cheaper than a trip to a real therapist, Shattered Memories is a brilliant psychological examination and a great game to boot.